Doha, November 28 (QNA) - HE Minister of Environment and Climate Change Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al-Thani reiterated Qatar's consistent commitment to participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conferences. He emphasized the importance of these gatherings as a significant opportunity to showcase efforts and advancements in environmental conservation and sustainability.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), His Excellency mentioned that Qatar has completed its preparations to participate in the Conference of Parties (COP 28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, scheduled to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change said that Qatar's participation in this global environmental forum will witness its accession to the international agreement concerning marine turtles. This agreement involves the exchange of expertise, visits, information, and data related to the conservation of these endangered marine species. Additionally, Qatar will sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to announce the Regional Center for Whale Shark Conservation, given that the state's territorial waters host the largest gatherings and longest periods of stay for this endangered marine creature worldwide.
Furthermore, he highlighted the establishment of the National Committee for Climate Change and Sustainability under the ministry's leadership, comprising various ministries, authorities, and relevant universities. Additionally, a comprehensive negotiation team consisting of representatives from all parties has been formed to coordinate and unify positions concerning climate change issues, including participation in the discussions at COP 28, where international and environmental organizations are involved, providing an opportunity to showcase the country's efforts in this critical area.
His Excellency emphasized Qatar's keenness to participate in the accompanying exhibition of the conference, showcasing presentations, side events, models, films, and images that highlight the state's endeavors in environmental and climate change domains, besides presenting research papers and engaging in both main and sub-sessions throughout the conference.
He also indicated that Qatar's participation in COP 28 will concentrate on various topics such as carbon footprint and the Paris Agreement, especially focusing on item number 6, which specifies each country's carbon emissions. Qatar aims to have national companies compensate emission differences by investing in eco-friendly projects. The country has concluded the first stage of a national program related to this item, to be announced at COP 28, making it the first GCC country to achieve this stage. Additionally, the commencement of the program's second stage at the international level will be announced, along with the signing of several agreements related to marine life conservation in the region.
Moreover, His Excellency underscored that Qatar will also focus on climate change issues and safeguard its national interests within negotiations concerning greenhouse gas emission reductions, adaptation to climate change effects, and other topics related to implementation mechanisms encompassing financing, technology development and transfer, capacity building, and other relevant issues. He expressed anticipation for a successful conference addressing environmental issues, their impacts, and challenges, aiming to achieve the goals of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and enhance the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. The conference outcomes are expected to align with its principles and regional and national circumstances and priorities.
The Minister highlighted that Qatar was among the first countries to join the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1996 and participated from COP 1 to the latest edition held in Sharm El Sheikh, Cairo, at the highest levels. He emphasized the state's eagerness to be present at the accompanying exhibition to showcase its efforts in climate change, sustainability, emission reduction, and reliance on modern technologies and techniques in front of participating countries and organizations.
Finally, His Excellency mentioned that the ministry's participation would involve the second, third, and fourth rows of national talents and managers within the ministry to form a specialized team, maximizing the benefits for the young leadership from such significant events.
In his remarks to QNA, HE Minister of Environment and Climate Change stated that Qatar pays great attention to the issue of climate change, as it hosted one of the important milestones of the climate change negotiations in 2012, which was the18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP18). In the context of enhancing the international role of the State of Qatar within the framework of the United Nations system concerned with climate change and in continuation of previous participations, the State of Qatar will participate in the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28).
The conference will serve as an important opportunity for heads of state and government and ministers during high-level meetings, and states parties during technical negotiations, to discuss common environmental issues in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.
Regarding the contributions of the State of Qatar to reducing the effects of climate change, HE Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al-Thani affirmed the state’s commitment to a special strategy to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions by 25% in the period from 2019 to 2030, despite the expansion in gas and oil production and various industries. A review of this strategy will be conducted next year 2024, and it is expected that the completion rate will reach more than 25%, meaning that the target will be achieved 6 years earlier than planned.
His Excellency explained that to implement this strategy, each entity in the country has set a goal and seeks to achieve it by using modern technology, storing carbon dioxide and reusing it to produce other components such as bricks, cement and others, in cooperation with specialized companies and under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change by virtue of its field of work.
In his interview with QNA, HE Minister of Environment and Climate Change added that the State of Qatar has networks to monitor air quality, water, soil, and radiation, in addition to mobile stations to monitor these elements around the clock, stressing that the State of Qatar is one of the countries in the world with the lowest rate of industrial pollution, and what represents a challenge is the natural pollution that appears in the dust suspended in the air, 5 percent of which it comes from inside Qatar while 95 percent comes from outside its borders. He stated that the solution to this problem is linked to regional cooperation between the countries of the region, and there are concrete efforts to reduce this phenomenon by creating buffers and increasing vegetation cover.
Regarding his expectations for the outcomes of COP28, HE Minister of Environment and Climate Change expressed his hope that all countries of the world, especially the major and developed countries, will adhere to their pledges to compensate developing countries by providing sustainable technology and financial sums. This item, which was emphasized in the last edition of the conference, should be activated, and there should be a balance between reducing emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change.
Regarding his vision of practical solutions to address the phenomenon of climate change, HE Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al-Thani said that there is great understanding and cooperation from all parties in the country, and this was clearly demonstrated during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which was organized as a carbon-neutral tournament. It was the first edition in the world to be held with zero emissions, as electricity was available from the Al-Kharsa’a solar energy station, and local resources from rubble were recycled and construction waste was reused. He added that although the cost was high in terms of enacting laws, planning, regulation, and material costs, the use of environmentally friendly materials and electric transportation was a strategic goal.
At the conclusion of his special remarks to Qatar News Agency (QNA), HE Minister of Environment and Climate Change noted that the country has completed infrastructure work that has helped significantly reduce carbon emissions, as 70 of the buses are electric, and all parties were keen to achieve this goal. (QNA)