The State of Qatar pays great attention to environmental sustainability for present and future generations, in order to provide a safe healthy life and preserve the environment, as outlined in the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS) 2017-2022, which is one of the most important pillars of Qatar Second National Development Strategy (NDS-2) 2018-2022.
The sector of environmental sustainability is also regarded as one of the key sectors of the Qatar First National Development Strategy (NDS -1) 2011 - 2016, developed in line with Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030, which regards environmental development as one of the main pillars of nation-building.
Within this context, the Qatari Permanent Constitution obligates the State to take the following steps:
- Providing a healthy environment that ensures the future.
- Addressing the negative impacts of climate change.
- Minimizing pollution.
- Managing environmental protection.
- Preserving natural equilibrium, cultural heritage and biodiversity.
In accordance with the provisions of the law, Article 33 stipulates that the State shall protect the environment and maintain its natural balance to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development for all generations.
There are two main challenges facing the Qatari environment:
- Environmental and Climatic Features
Qatar's environment is a difficult one due to the very hot climate, low rainfall and absence of freshwater resources. Groundwater is, in fact, the only source of fresh natural water.
- Population Growth Rate
The population rise results in increased urbanization and a need for more residential areas, which consequently leads to more pollution and solid wastes, in addition to negative impacts on natural resources, especially water.
Pollution is one of the serious issues to which Qatar has been giving great interest since its NDS - 1, whether it is air, soil or marine pollution. Any of these forms of pollution affects the ecosystem and threatens environmental sustainability, which, in turn, negatively affects sustainable development in Qatar. It is, thus, important to identify the causes of pollution and address them effectively by taking the necessary measures in order to preserve the environment and protect biodiversity.
There are tangible, impressive steps taken in order to put ideas into action, and the Education City of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a real example on sustainability and green building practices. It comprises the unique Oxygen Park, a green space of 130,000 sqm located near Hamad Bin Khalifa University Student Centre, the Qur'anic Botanic Garden, which has many plant species, including the Sidra tree that is part of Qatar’s heritage.
Achieving environmental sustainability for sustainable development requires effective participation by all relevant groups and entities. Awareness campaigns, in such case, become quite essential to familiarize individuals and entities with the existing initiatives and how they can support such endeavors via the different channels. The National Program for Conservation and Energy Efficiency “Tarsheed” by Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation "KAHRAMAA" is an excellent example on the concerted efforts exerted in this regard through initiatives, programs and even competitions.
It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) to implement the ESS-2 (2017 - 2022), which complements ESS-1 (2011 - 2016), which desired outcomes are not entirely achieved.
This requires close cooperation and coordination between MME and all other relevant stakeholders, such as the Environmental Science Center at Qatar University, Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Green Building Council and the Friends of the Environment Center. Maintaining balance between economic growth, social development and environmental protection is, in fact, the main objective of all concerned parties to ensure a better future for everyone.