Qatar should formulate an effective system of inter-ministerial co-ordination to integrate environmental issues into the development planning process, United Nations Development Programme’s international energy and environmental policy specialist Frank Pinto has urged.
“For Qatar, the approach for sustainable development includes energy demand and supply efficiency, more efficient use of water and oil/gas resources, and protecting marine environment and building capacities,” he stated.
Pinto was delivering the keynote address at the launch event of Qatar’s Second Human Development Report on ‘Advancing Sustainable Development’ yesterday.
Raising public awareness about the environmental dimension of sustainable development, building adequate information systems, and building national capacity by reviewing needed skills and training and how best to meet gaps were among the other steps he suggested.
Qatar ought to show leadership to mitigate the impacts of climate change at all levels, develop sustainable development indicators to track progress and promote the concept in the Gulf region.
Strengthening multi-stakeholder approach in policy formulation and decision-making for greater national ownership by involving civil society and the private sector was also mooted by the expert.
Highlighting the need for urgent action to combat global warming, Pinto cited recent studies which show that melting permafrost in the Arctic and in Siberia could release vast quantities of methane which by 2100 could add ten times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere resulting in much faster global warming.
Stressing that addressing climate change, especially energy and water issues, is critical to sustainable development, he observed that failure in this area could cost the global economy up to 20% of global GDP.
The expert also called for the implementation of a national policy on energy efficiency and utilisation, and discussions on water and marine policies.
“Qatar should promote solar and wind energy and work on reducing the impact of oil and gas production on the environment,” Pinto added, while pointing out that Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s greatest investors in solar energy.
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