What are the most pressing environmental issues for Qatar’s incoming Shura Council?

    14 Oct 2021

    With Qatar just a day away from its first elected Shura Council, incoming members will be met with various issues, Doha News states.

    The Shura Council elections in Qatar have been revered as a historic and massive step forward for the Gulf state in improving public inclusion in legislative matters.

    More so, the elections have given the average Qatari a means of representation and a more active role in ensuring the growth and advancement of the nation’s society.

    After just two weeks of campaigning efforts, candidates running for the race have focused concerns on these prominent social issues.

    Climate change

    Among the top priorities for the incoming council is the rapid deterioration of the world’s climate.

    The newly-elected Shura will have to tackle challenging environmental issues and develop related laws that will help promote sustainability and scientific research, according to Director of the Environmental and Municipal Studies Center at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) Dr. Mohamed Saif al-Kuwari.

    He noted to Qatar TV that the new council will have a vital role in ensuring the country remains in line with the national plan for climate change, which is deemed vital on an international level.

    A recent report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] said that global warming will keep intensifying over the next 30 years, with just a small chance remaining to prevent more drastic consequences of the climate crisis. The UN chief has since said that the report is “code red” for humanity.

    Environmentalist and policy-oriented social change advocate Neeshad Shafi, said climate change should be among Qatar’s, as well as the region’s, highest concerns.

    “For the GCC region, climate change implications will impact various fields, including environmental, economic, political and even security. The Arabian Peninsula is characterised by great variability in seasonal and annual precipitation, as well as extreme temperatures,” said Shafi.

    The incoming council’s efforts should also include necessary suggestions needed to preserve local land and marine environment, both of which play a vital role in the country’s ecosystem and environmental culture.

    Qatar has a diverse marine and land environment. The Gulf country’s waters are home to one of the largest herds of dugongs, with numbers of the shy and lovable marine mammal reaching 840, marking the largest gathering of the aquatic animals in Qatar in some three decades.

    It also boasts large migrations of whale sharks, with more than 100 whale sharks congregating near coral reef colonies 90 kilometres away from land between the months of April and September every year.

    Despite worrying statistics for global warming, Qatar has been actively working on improving conditions across the country in recent years.

    The Gulf nation has engaged in major efforts to boost sustainability and environment preservation with several policies and plans ahead of the much-awaited World Cup 2022.

    This includes the execution of major projects in infrastructure and transportation that follow the highest international standards.

    In addition, Qatar is implementing gradual transportation to full-electric includes public bus services, government school buses, and Doha Metro’s buses. This aims to reduce harmful carbon emissions caused by conventional buses in less than a decade from now, in addition to achieving efforts to maintain environmental sustainability.

    Authorities are also working towards establishing an integrated network of electric car chargers, in order to support the ministry’s plan to transform the electric transport system gradually.

    Such efforts are crucial to Qatar, primarily as the country works towards tackling the “worst sustainability, air quality” ranks.

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