Hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8) represents an opportunity to show Qatar’s seriousness to protect the environment as outlined in the National Vision 2030, HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, president of COP18/CMP8, has said.
“It is also a platform for Qatar to showcase its long- term climate policy strategy,” HE al-Attiyah, also director of the Qatar Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, told students at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q).
In a guest lecture held as part of SFS-Q’s ‘Ethics: Environmental Politics’ course, he shared his in-depth knowledge of Qatar’s environmental policy and international engagements in climate change negotiations.
Admiring SFS-Q’s on-going commitment to preparing an insightful generation armed with the ability to lead and make a change, HE al-Attiyah talked about Qatar’s remarkable progress in making environmental challenges a top priority toward human development, and most notably, the key task of combining economic growth and sustainable environmental policies.
“Economic development and the protection of the environment are competing demands that must be reconciled with each other in order to ensure that the future generations can sustain the opportunities enjoyed by current generations.”
He explained that COP18/CMP8, a key event in the ongoing work and negotiations on climate change treaties and agreements, is expected to draw more than 17,000 people to Doha as representatives of 195 nations and more than 5,000 observer organisations.
“Ever since the declaration of Qatar to be the host of and the Presidency for COP18, we have been seriously engaged in international climate talks with the aim to establish a fertile ground in Doha that can bring all parties together to build on firm political commitment at the highest levels,” he pointed out.
SFS-Q course instructor James Olsen observed that having an official involved in such high level policy making to share his knowledge with students is a unique opportunity.
An important aim of the ‘Ethics: Environmental Politics’ class is to get students actively involved outside the classroom.
“So lectures such as these complement assignments and field trips designed to get them thinking about both ethics, as well as the policies that need to be put in place,” Olsen said.
Among other assignments, students are required to complete a final project proposing and detailing a policy recommendation and they are also encouraged to actively try new ways of helping the environment; such as carpooling, going vegetarian for a week and avoiding using disposable items.
SFS-Q is also organising a lecture series around climate change issues, happening on campus in November.