The United Nations 2012 Climate Change Conference comes to Qatar this month, and with it the Qatar Sustainability Expo, a 12 day event focused on the environment and open to the public. We caught up with Mona Al Sulaiti, the Exhibition Director, to find out what’s in store for Doha
We have heard a lot about COP18, but what is it?
The United Nations 2012 Climate Change Conference will be the latest step in global efforts to limit the production of greenhouse gases and address climate change. Every year, the nations of the world gather for a conference to negotiate a constantly evolving body of policies and agreements to tackle global climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The meetings take place as a “Conference of the Parties” (COP) to the UN Convention on Climate Change. This “COP” adopts decisions and resolutions, which are published in its reports. Qatar is proud to have been unanimously selected to host the 2012 conference.
How big is this event going to be?
COP18/CMP8 will be the largest conference ever held in Doha, with about 17,000 visitors and delegates coming to Qatar for the event, including more than 7,000 members of non-governmental organizations and 1,500 local, regional and foreign journalists and at least 100 TV stations. We are also inviting local volunteers to help with the event, and have had more than 2,500 applications already.
I have heard about the Kyoto agreement, how does this fit with COP18?
In December 1997, the COP sessions resulted in the adoption of what has become known as the Kyoto Protocol – an agreement by 37 industrialized countries and the European Union that established binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Detailed rules for implementing the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005 and each year since, the nations who signed it - and the remaining “observer” countries that make up the rest of the COP - have gathered during the annual conference to hold formal meetings specifically on implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.
So that’s all well and good for the conference attendees, but what about the rest of us? What’s going on with the Expo?
As part of the COP18 events, Doha will be hosting the Qatar Sustainability Expo, a government and industry showcase of environmentally sustainable programmes, initiatives, plans and products from across the Middle East. The event, which will run alongside the COP18/CMP8 Doha, is part of Qatar’s initiative to demonstrate its commitment to leading international discussion on one of the most critical issues of our time – climate change. The Expo will bring together businessmen, experts and members of the environmental sector who are attending the conference. The event is being organized by IFP Qatar. Holding the exhibition during these dates offers a unique opportunity for Qatar because government bodies, industry suppliers and consumers, as well as global policymakers and experts, will be present in Doha at the same time. This is a chance for Qatar to tell its sustainability story to the world.
What can we expect to see at the Expo? What’s actually going on?
There will be UN delegates, world leaders, environmental experts, business leaders, global media, NGOs, government organizations, state-owned corporations and companies with environmental initiatives. It is also an opportunity for the public to come along and learn about environmental initiatives taking place in Qatar, as well as globally, and to hear about the latest green technologies. There will be educational displays and activities for everyone – adults and children alike. There will be opportunity for businesses to meet new suppliers, advisers, customers and business partners in the sustainability and environmental sectors, and seek advice from globally recognized experts about challenges faced by the region.
How important is COP18 to Qatar?
As a coastal dry land nation wholly dependent on the sea for freshwater and more than 90 per cent dependent on technology and trade for food, Qatar stands on the front line for risks associated with global climate change. It is for this reason that Qatar has made it a priority to develop an effective framework for dealing with the impacts of climate change, spearheading initiatives such as the Qatar National Food Security Programme and launching the Global Dry Land Alliance, which address desertification, land degradation and drought. Qatar has increasingly voiced its commitment to working alongside nations dedicated to forging a responsible and sustainable energy future, and hosting COP18/CMP8 is a central part of that effort.
For more information on COP18, the Expo and environmental initiatives taking place in Qatar, visit cop18.qa.
Just the Facts
What: Qatar Sustainability Expo
When: Nov 27-Dec 7
Time: Sat-Thurs, 11am-9pm
Where: Doha Exhibition Centre
Price: Entrance is free, and families are welcome!
Although the full list of exhibitors was hush hush, at press time the following group is ready to bring their booths to Qatar:
United Nations Environmental Program
Qatar National Food Security Program
Friends of the Environment
Ministry of the Environment
General Secretariat for Development Planning
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia