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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects |Qatar 

NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN QATAR

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  • Agriculture
  • Atmosphere
  • Biodiversity
  • Desertification and Drought
  • Energy
  • Forests
  • Freshwater
  • Land Management
  • Mountains
  • Oceans and Coastal Areas
  • Toxic Chemicals
  • Waste and Hazardous Materials

    AGRICULTURE

    AGRICULTURE

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    No information is available.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects 

    No information is available.

    Status 

    In the agriculture sector, the country is self-sufficient for 70% of its summer vegetables and 40% of winter vegetables There is some production of grains, eggs and poultry. However, the country is still dependent on food imports. The government has made an effort to strengthen the agricultural sector offering several incentives to investors. Qatar has 28,000 hectares of arable land. The government has also placed increased emphasis on the fishing industry.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    No information is available.

    Information

    No information is available.

    Research and Technologies

    No information is available.  

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    No information is available.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

    To access information on the International Workshop on Protected Agriculture in the Arabian Peninsula (February 1998), click here.

    Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

    Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.

    Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

    Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

    For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here.

    To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:

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    ATMOSPHERE

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    The Environment Department was created in 1994 within the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture. Among the main functions of the Department as stipulated in Law 20 of 1993, are those to monitor and document pollution episodes, implement measures to mitigate pollution impacts, conduct studies on the effects of pollutants and ways of minimizing these impacts, and evaluate and approve (or withhold approval) of environmental impact assessment studies conducted in support of government or private projects.

    An Environmental Technical Committee comprising all the major industrial companies and the Environment Department has also been formed. The main objective of the Committee is to provide a discussion forum for the evaluation of the environmental protection legislation and attendant regulations. Most companies are keen to participate and collaborate with the regulatory authorities.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects

    No information is available. 

    Status 

    Specifications for air quality monitoring stations have been prepared and are awaiting approval. These stations will be fixed at strategic sites to represent the impacts of traffic movement and industrial installations. This will help assess the quality of air in the country.

    A national report on Ozone Depleting Substances has been prepared. The national consumption of these substances is determined to be below 0.3 kg/ca/year and, thus Qatar is assessed to be an "Article Five country".

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    No information is available.

    Information

    No information is available.

    Research and Technologies

    No information is available.  

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    Qatar ratified the Montreal Protocol and its Amendments and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1996.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

    Click here for national information from the Web site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

    For the Montreal Secretariat, click here:

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    BIODIVERSITY

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    A national committee consisting of representatives from concerned agencies was set up in the Environment Department. Its mandate was to establish an action plan for implementation. The work pertaining to different aspects of conservation is being carried out through different agencies.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    A number of regulations and decrees have been passed. Notable among these are the following:

    Law No. 12 of 1981 for regulating agriculture, Law No. 4 of 1983 for the use and conservation of marine resources, amended by decree No. 17 of 1993, and Law No. 1 of 1983 for protection of animal health.

    Emiri decrees have been issued calling for the protection of the marine environment from pollution. This includes pollution from ships and also from land-based sources.

    Decree No. 55 of 16 November 1996 approved the Convention on Biodiversity such that it has the power of law.

    Ministerial decisions have been taken to prevent the import of diseased plants and the conservation of marine resources. This includes the ban on shrimp harvesting.

    Circulars and notices are also issued by the concerned Ministries from time to time. These cover trawling practices and the types of nets to be used so that non-commercial marine life is not affected.

    Development of natural life and its conservation is a priority for the State. However, illegal fishing and hunting coupled with modern sporting weapons has a direct effect on the survival of the country's biodiversity. It therefore becomes necessary to create awareness amongst the citizens. This needs to be backed up with enforceable legislation.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects

    No information is available. 

    Status 

    Marine Environment: Surveys of aquatic ecosystems have been carried out, as follows:

    In addition, books have been published by concerned agencies on "Common species of fish in Qatari waters," (1982, Qatar University), on "Qatar's Fish," (1983, Department of Fisheries), and on "Qatar and the Sea," (1987, Qatar National Museum).

    Research is being carried out on the diversity of marine organisms in the environment of coral reefs in Qatari waters and the effect of organic compounds on these; on the effect of ban on catching shrimps on the restoration of their stocks; and on a biological study of king fish.

    Plant Environment: A laboratory has been set up in the Department of Agricultural and Water Resources for the culture of plant tissues. To date, the laboratory has overseen the reproduction of very high quality palm trees, the conservation of natural and indigenous trees; and the introduction of species from places having a similar environment. Published research work has focussed on the plant environment in Qatar, medicinal and toxic plants in Qatar, agricultural development in Qatar, and Sabkha plants.

    Three hundred fifty-five plant varieties and one hundred six types of fungi have been identified. Research has been taken up on grazing plants in Qatar and the Green cover in Haloul Island.

    Animals and reptiles: A survey is being carried out of all types of reptiles, on land and water in Qatar. This includes turtles, lizards and snakes.

    Natural Reserves: The State encourages private farms. There are one thousand, one hundred twenty-three farms of which forty belong to the Government. There are four natural reserves and thirty farms for breeding gazelles and ostriches. The main ones are in Al Shahhaniya, Ras Ashairij, Haloul Island, Khor Al-Adaid, Al Aaliya Island, Al Thakhira and Tribuk.

    A project is under way for setting up three reserves aimed at breeding plants facing depletion. A reserve for gazelles is being planned in Maszhabiya.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    The Environment Department is new. There is a need to increase the staff and also have a network of experts in Qatar or the GCC who could help in the field.

    It is very important for Qatar to conserve its plant, animal and marine population through education and awareness and by enforceable laws.

    Among the activities that should be undertaken are the following: (1) Supporting scientific research for the improvement of genetic features; (2) Setting the work priorities of the uses of bio-technology in Qatar, and specifying the possible joint projects in this field; (3) Establishing a "gene bank" for the conservation of local species and types; (4) Preparing the outlines for using genetic engineering, its products, and investigating its effects on health and environment; and (5) Preparing additional legislation, where required, for conservation of biodiversity.

    Information

    Monitoring capabilities and scientific back-up are very necessary. The priority items are as follows: (1). Surveying all local plants and animals and establishing a data bank; (2). Following-up and caring for the species endangered with extinction; (3) Helping in preparing workshops and meetings on biodiversity and publishing the economic data and information as an added value to biodiversity; and (4) Surveying the areas targeted for conservation and specifying the programmes for their development and administration in the appropriate manner.

    Research and Technologies  

    Financing

    There is a need for greater funds for taking up studies and also hiring competent specialized staff.

    Cooperation

    Qatar ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1996. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has not been ratified.

    Conservation of biodiversity is a multidisciplinary task. Cooperation at the international and regional levels is called for. There is a need to have regional cooperation on many aspects regarding marine biota, the effects of marine pollution and illegal fishing. A greater degree of cooperation needs to be fostered amongst GCC countries.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

    Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

    Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.

    For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:

    For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:

    For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:

    For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:

    For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:

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    DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    No information is available.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects 

    A programme to combat desertification has been initiated. This has the interplay of Government bodies, local communities and land users. Already a large number of steps have been taken:

    First is laying down legal procedures for agricultural development. The next steps consist of establishing experimental farms, made up of indigenous and imported species, and finally, fixing sand dunes through cultivation using irrigation methods that require much smaller quantities of water.

    The present Strategy to Combat Desertification is based on sustainable development and by building the nation's capacities. These include the following:

    Future and long-term plans include legislation to restrict overgrazing and prevent desertification of natural pastures.

    Status 

    Qatar has an area of 11,437 square kilometres and lies in the middle of the Arabian Gulf in the dry desert zone. The average annual rainfall is 75.2 mm and the humidity varies between 45 and 95 percent. The main structural elements consist of sand dunes, Sabkhas, beach deposits and collovium depression ("rawda"). The surface is mostly dolomitic (limestone and marls) with some gypsum and anhydride beds in the lower parts. The landscape appears as a flat eroded land of low to moderate relief mainly ranging from 50 to 100 metres above sea level. All land in Qatar is desert or semi-desert.

    All agriculture in Qatar requires perennial or complementary irrigation due to scanty rainfall. A land use scale for cultivation has been prepared. Grade l is cultivable land, Grade 2 is fairly cultivable, Grade 3 is marginally cultivable land, and so forth, up to Grade 6, which is absolutely unsuitable.

    The land is characterized by desert plant cover which can survive for long periods of up to tens of years. The total pastoral area is about 50,000 ha with a production of nearly 5,650 tons of dry material. These areas are largely rainfed. The plant groupings can be distinguished as: (1) Coastal subkha; (2) Coastal area plants that grow in saline land; (3) Roda: Samr (acacia tortilis), sidr (ziziphus mummularia) and awsaj (lycium showii); and (4) Sand dunes group.

    The causes of desertification in Qatar are basically three: a drop in ground water levels, an increase in salinity of the ground water, and encroachment of sand on agricultural land. The ground water reservoir has declined by twenty-five percent in the twelve years of a study period. In 1995, the total amount of water extracted for irrigation purposes amounted to 221 MCM. Most of the abstracted ground water is used on farms. A decrease in the available water for irrigation leads to deterioration and desertification of these farms.

    Potable water is found at a depth ranging from five to fifty metres. The source of ground water is the Dammam Formation. The rate of abstraction is more than ten times the recharge. The quality of water has declined by five percent annually. An increase in the salinity is a result of sea water ingress and the flow of added salts (fertilizer) from the irrigation water to the ground water.

    The salinity of the water in the southern parts of the country is higher than in the northern part. This has been successfully used in the irrigation of light textured soil.

    Sand dunes in Qatar cover about 1,500 square kilometres or about thirteen percent of the area. Other sand formations cover five percent. The rate of movement of sand dunes in Qatar is about 8 km per year. Higher rates have been encountered in drier areas depending on the direction of the wind and the slope of the surface of the sand dunes. It has been estimated that 21,000 ha of agricultural and pastoral land has been lost due to wind desertification.

    Exploitation of oil and gas reserves have brought about significant changes in demography. From 40,000 in 1960, the population went up to 280,000 in 1983 and to 504,000 in 1991. Also the increase was concentrated in the urban areas. The capital, Doha has encroached upon three principal agricultural areas, Rayyan, Sharaffa and Markabia.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    Among the activities that need to be undertaken is enhancing the development of water resources, and especially recharging ground water.

    Information

    There are several areas which need to be investigated. Primarily these pertain to accurately mapping the present situation. This can be summarised a follows:

    Research and Technologies  

    No information is available.

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    Qatar has not ratified the International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

    For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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    ENERGY

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    No information is available.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects 

    No information is available.

    Status 

    The government has actively promoted the development of both heavy and light industry concentrating on in-country resources. Cheap energy has led to the development of a steel and iron industry, and healthy gas reserves have led to the establishment of chemical, fertilizer, and petrochemical industries. Cement is also produced in Qatar.

    Oil has played a significant role in Qatar's economy, accounting for about 85% of export earnings and 75% of government revenues. Currently, Qatar has oil reserves of about 3.3 billion barrels and also has the third largest reserves of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world. According to a report by the international energy consultant firm Gaffney, Cline & Associates, Qatar possesses 30% of the world's proven gas reserves, but accounts for only 5% of the global consumption.

    Large automobiles of the fifties and sixties have been replaced by highly efficient vehicles with high compression engines. The current trend is the development of automobiles on energy sources which are both renewable and less polluting.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    No information is available.

    Information

    No information is available.

    Research and Technologies

    No information is available.  

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    No information is available.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

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    FORESTS

    No information is available.

     

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    FRESHWATER

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    No information is available.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    The present strategy in Qatar is to use groundwater resources primarily for agriculture and develop alternative resources, through construction of desalination plants for potable water supply.

    The groundwater will be reserved for agricultural production, and for domestic water supply in rural areas. For communities north of the country, short-term reliance is being placed on groundwater resources. Alternative options which are being considered for this area include the use of aquifer recharge, construction of desalination facilities, and construction of transmission lines from existing desalination facilities.

    The existing pricing policy is to supply potable water free of cost to the prime residence of all Qatari nationals.

    In general terms Qatar's strategy is to encourage the diversification of its economy, focusing on agricultural development in order to achieve self-sufficiency in foodstuffs. Rationalization of existing water resources is a prerequisite to ensure sustainable socio-economic development, self-sufficiency in vegetables, development of orchards, development of fodder crops, promotion of water conservation and metering, with progressive introduction of tariffs in the agricultural sector (demand management) and a legal provision to control drilling. This strategy implies utilization of desalinated sea water for domestic and industrial use, whereas ground water resources would be utilized in irrigation purposes. In order for the government to maintain the level of commitment to irrigated agriculture, and in the absence of any other source of water supply, they are looking for imported water from Iran to augment the remaining groundwater reserves through artificial recharge to combat and minimize the environmental impact on the deteriorating water quality caused by salt water intrusion and soil degradation. It is believed that artificial recharge/aquifer storage recovery schemes are an effective tool in groundwater management.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects 

    No information is available.

    Status 

    Qatar lies within a torrid sub-region of the northern desert belt. It is characterized by scanty rainfall of 50 to 80 mm per annum. High temperature and high relative humidity are common in summer. The rainfall is confined to the winter months, November to March. Although scanty, it is the only source of natural water replenishment, while groundwater is the only natural source of water supply. There is a severe water resources deficit.

    Steps taken for water conservation and use:

    All fresh groundwater in Qatar originates from local rainfall, except for the confined, slightly brackish water near Abu Samra which is believed to have its source to the west, in Saudi Arabia.

    The country's reserves of fresh groundwater are concentrated in the northern part, where the fresh water body has the form of a lens that floats on saline groundwater, that is saturating a lower part of the Umm er-Radhuma formation. Laterally, it is controlled by sea water intrusion in coastal areas. Most of the water occurs in the Rus formation and in the upper part of the Umm er-Radhuma formation. Fractures, vugs and solution channels provide the principal means for storage and groundwater movement in carbonate aquifer.

    The lens in the central part of Northern Qatar is about 80 m thick and diminishes towards seashore. The fresh salt water interface was detected at 120 m depth. The lens has been heavily overexploited.

    Sources and reserves of potable water:

    Since 1954 the use of desalination has increased so that all demands for domestic and industrial water supply for Doha and its surroundings are met by desalinated water. Annual production capacity for desalinated water is presently 126 MCM/yr. Desalination plants account for approximately 96% of the total municipal (excluding irrigation) potable water production.

    Water to the rural areas in the Northern Qatar, as well as to communities, is supplied by six well fields of 9,000 m3/d (2.5 MCM) of water annually.

    The total available potable water storage in the country, in buffer reservoirs, ground tanks, elevated tanks, and water towers, totals approximately 1.1 MCM. This represents approximately three days' supply based on an average national consumption rate.

    The total gross extraction of groundwater for irrigation purposes increased from about 44 MCM in 1972 to about 220 MCM in 1995. The abstraction for public supply increased from 4 MCM to 6 MCM in 1977 and then fell to 2.5 MCM in 1994, met entirely from groundwater.

    Agricultural water supply and possible impact:

    The agricultural sector relies basically on irrigation, and its development will require vast amounts of water and put further demands on an already highly depleted unrenewable natural water resources.

    In Qatar the renewable water resources are now totally depleted. Such mining will continue to cause lowering of the water table, deterioration in water quality, upcoming of highly saline water from deeper aquifer and resulting in a greater water cost. Therefore owing to the limited available groundwater supplies in the country, the main emphasis has been on construction of desalination units.

    Considering the current trends for an ever increasing amount of groundwater exploitation, it is estimated that the remaining groundwater reserve will be deteriorated within 10 years. Consequently agriculture will be at a critical situation, facing a stringent shortage of adequate water for irrigation purposes.

    Previous works in early 1980 had suggested that artificial recharge of freshwater into the aquifer systems may be a possible solution to the prevailing water supply problems, in order to augment the diminishing groundwater reserves and control environmental deterioration caused by saltwater intrusion and soil degradation.

    Rapid deterioration of water quality has resulted in the abandonment of several farms located adjacent to the coastal strip due to the over-exploitation practices prevailing in the region, which has resulted in a severe environmental impact observed by a rapid soil degradation.

    New agricultural land use is prohibited, including licensing of existing unlicensed farms, unless the water to be used comes from other resources. Agricultural production and the total area cultivated have grown steadily during the past few years, and put very serious stress on the available groundwater base. The government is aiming at lessening dependence upon oil and gas and focusing on the development of the agricultural sector in order to achieve a large measure of self-sufficiency in basic foodstuffs. There is thus clearly a need to diversify the resources of income, taking into account its water resources and the projected water demand. The self-sufficiency concept should be revised on the basis of practical self-sufficiency to ensure sustainability.

    In agriculture production Qatar is fairly self-sufficient, in dairy products (62.5%), eggs (61.2%) and vegetable production (42.0%). Other plants and animal products include: field crops, fruits and dates (19.9%), barley and bran fodder (18.5%), livestock and poultry (21.4%), and red meat (12.4 %). The total cultivated area is approximately 7,585 hectares which constitute three percent of Qatar's surface land. Qatar's desire for self-sufficiency in food production should be balanced against the loss of strategic groundwater resources and other environmental impacts.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    In order to overcome the aggravating water resources deterioration, the Government of Qatar launched several studies such as Hydro-agricultural Surveys (1971), Integrated Water and Land Use (1974), Water Resources and Agricultural Development (1981). Recommendations were focused on the remedial measures concerning the reduction of water abstraction for agricultural use. In view of the prevailing self-sufficiency in foodstuff's supply, the ad hoc recommendations failed to achieve their targets.

    The Department of Agricultural and Water Resources carried out two studies in the field of water resources management and development during the 1992-1994 period. These are "Agricultural Project Utilizing Water from Iran" and "Study of Artificial Recharge of Groundwater in Northern Qatar". Both studies were completed in 1994.

    There is now a realization, particularly after the Gulf War, for the need to maintain strategic groundwater reserves and also to restore the configuration of the lens to mitigate the effects of saline water intrusion and salination from irrigation recycling. The accumulated groundwater deficit calculated during the period 1972-1995 reached 994 MCM, more than one third of the 1977 estimate of total groundwater reserves in the country (2,500 MCM). Consequently groundwater levels have dropped up to 0.5-1.10 m per year and the quality of water deteriorates due to sea water ingress and to the intrusion of saline water from deeper aquifers. The estimated safe yield of the aquifer, based on the calculated average natural recharge over the last 20 years, is of the order of 35 MCM/ yr. Given the limited supply of potable water in underground storage, there is insufficient capacity to supply national needs if desalination plants are not operative. Therefore underground potable water needs to be preserved and available as a national strategic resource.

    To fulfill ad hoc strategic tasks a complex of studies and investigations should be carried out within the present context of seeking ways and means to manage the scarce groundwater resources of Qatar and to enhance the environmental considerations in all possible development alternatives. The application of aquifer storage and recovery techniques is a useful tool for almost all possible groundwater development alternatives in addition to possible storage recovery of surplus water of various sources.

    Imported water from Iran is being negotiated and the Government has commissioned a study to test the feasibility of using this water for direct irrigation purposes. It is expected that 5m3/sec water would be delivered from Karun river.

    Information

    No information is available.

    Research and Technologies  

    It is now realized that developments in science and technology can cause a large number of environmental problems if they are applied to Qatar without taking appropriate precautionary measures. For instance earlier technology imported into the country paid little heed to water conservation through recycling. The water needs for agriculture and industry were made up by supplementing desalinated water with ground water. As a consequence ground water reserves have fallen to precarious levels.

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    No information is available.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

    Click here to visit the Web Site of the Ramsar Convention.

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    LAND MANAGEMENT

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    No information is available.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    Among land management issues are those concerned particularly with water and desertification.

    New agricultural land use is prohibited unless the water to be used comes from other resources. Agricultural production and the total area cultivated have grown steadily during the past few years, and put very serious stress on the available groundwater base. There is thus clearly a need to diversify the resources of income, taking into account its water resources and the projected water demand. The self-sufficiency concept should be revised on the basis of practical self-sufficiency to ensure sustainability.

    The Government has developed a Strategy to Combat Desertification which, inter alia, calls for taking precautionary measures for those lands which have not yet deteriorated or those that have only slightly deteriorated. Future and long-term plans include legislation to restrict overgrazing and prevent desertification of natural pastures.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects

    No information is available. 

    Status 

    No information is available.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    No information is available.

    Information

    No information is available.

    Research and Technologies

    No information is available.  

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    No information is available.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

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    MOUNTAINS

    No information is available.

     

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    OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    The Environment Department is presently under the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture. It is a fledging department established by law in 1994.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    A number of State laws have been issued to protect the marine environment. In addition the State is required to comply with regional conventions which it has ratified. Legislation includes the following:

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects

    No information is available. 

    Status 

    The State of Qatar is made up of the main peninsula. It also has a number of small islands. The coasts of the state, including the islands, extend for more than 700 km (approximately 23 percent of the coasts of the Gulf). The coasts have acute curves forming bays and capes such as Ras Laffan, Ras Rekn and Ras Ashirij. The State's coasts includes a number of environmentally sensitive areas, such as mangrove forests and coastal coral reefs. These form a natural environment for a number of living organisms which are a national natural wealth.

    Marine environment in the Arabian Gulf is considered to be of special importance. It is an important source of food. In addition, desalinated sea water is the main source (almost the sole one) of drinking water in the country. Due to human activities on land, it is a natural consequence that the marine environment has been subjected to a number of cases of pollution which has resulted in an environmental imbalance. This has affected aquatic ecosystems. This is particularly true because of the negative effect of unplanned development on environment, in general, and marine environment, in particular.

    The coastal waters of Qatar are polluted from a number of sources. These include untreated industrial effluent, garbage from indiscriminate disposal by visitors to the benches and human activities in port areas. Oil spills due to accidents in exploration and transport still constitutes the biggest source of pollution of the coastal waters. The State has taken a multi-pronged action in this regard. The steps include the following:

    1. Integrated administration and sustainable development of coastal areas;
    2. Environmental monitoring of the marine environment;
    3. Using marine resources at the upper seas and sustaining these resources;
    4. Protecting the marine environment found in the State;
    5. The treatment of critical aspects in marine environment administration including the effects of climate change;
    6. Strengthening coordination and cooperation on both regional and international levels; and
    7. Promoting sustainable development of small islands.

    A large number of pollutants is discharged into the coastal waters which is a source of drinking water. Some of the pollutants discharged could have a tendency for bioconcentration, while others present a danger from toxic products due to the reaction with other pollutants present in sea water. Discharge of ballast and other wastes need to be prevented. Enforcement of laws, both regional and local, needs to be backed with a programme of environmental awareness and education.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    Infrastructural gaps exist in the Environment Department. A study has been undertaken by a private consultant to identify the appropriate structure of the Environment Department. In order to function effectively in controlling marine pollution it is necessary to have the appropriate human resources, a sea-going vessel and a properly manned laboratory.

    A system of enforcement needs to be established. Deterrent fines and punishment would have to be enforced on wilful polluters of the marine environment.

    Emergency preparedness to fight accidents needs to be established. This would include a plan and proper coordination and training for the concerned personnel of the relevant departments and agencies, particularly the Coast Guard.

    Laws concerning ships with segregated ballast and facilities at ports for accepting and treating wastes need to be established and enforced.

    A continuous education and awareness programme needs to be carried out. While a lot is currently being done by the Environment Department, it is necessary to network with other departments and agencies which have the expertise in the field. For instance, the Qatar National Museum can do significant support work through its section on marine environment. A long-term coordinated programme with identified responsibilities is required.

    Information

    There is a need to build a proper structure for monitoring the status of the marine environment with an appropriate laboratory. It is necessary to integrate the existing GIS in monitoring and modelling studies.

    Marine reserves need to be mapped and areas which are ecologically sensitive need to be preserved. This would require monitoring and support of properly equipped and trained technical personnel.

    Research and Technologies  

    No information is available.

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    Qatar signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1984.

    Qatar participates in a number of regional and international agreements, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Kuwait Regional Agreement of Cooperation for Protecting the Marine Environment from Pollution, the Protocol of Regional Cooperation for Combatting Pollution which results from discharge of oil and other damaging substances, the international agreement concerned with the establishment of an international fund for compensations for damages resulting from oil pollution, the international agreement concerned with the right to intervene in cases of accidents which cause pollution or may cause oil pollution in the upper seas (Brussels, 1969), the International Charter of Civil Liability on Damages from Oil Pollution, the Protocol for Marine Environment Protection from Pollution which Results from the Continental Shelf, and the Protocol for Marine Environment from Pollution which Results from Land Sources, among others.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

    To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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    TOXIC CHEMICALS

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    An inter-departmental Committee has been set up by the Environment Department for controlling imports and proper management of hazardous chemicals, including radioactive materials. The Committee would look into five specific areas, including: Registration of imported chemicals, Transportation, Storage Handling, and Disposal.

    The Department was set up by Emiri decree in 1994. The first technical section to be set up was for management of hazardous chemicals, particularly related to their importation. Another part of the work relates to the transport of hazardous chemicals within the State. Finally, there is the issue of disposal of expired or spoiled hazardous chemicals, including waste.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    A policy on pesticides calls for avoiding highly toxic pesticides which may affect animals and humans and persistent pesticides. Pesticides are applied under close supervision and at the right time to counter the disease. Application during flowering and ripening is avoided. In addition, under this policy, workers are given periodical medical examinationa which cover liver function and cholesterol enzyme levels.

    The State was conscious of the large number of chemicals required for its development linked to oil and petrochemicals. Consequently the State passed Law No.4 in 1981 covering safeguards and requirements for the protection of the environment.

    The requirements to be fulfilled by the importer of chemicals have been derived from the UN and the International Maritime Organization. Detailed rules pertaining to transport of hazardous chemicals have been framed.

    Special regulations have been prepared for import and transport of radioactive materials. They are more stringent than those for hazardous chemicals. The rules cover transportation and monitoring of radiation levels.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    See under Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects

    No information is available. 

    Status 

    Industries desirous of importing chemicals are required to fill out an application form. Toxicity data, country of import and storage facilities are some of the relevant information sought. The form has been standardized and the information is fed into the computer both industry-wise and also according to the chemical name.

    Consumption patterns by the industry and its safety record are checked before issuing a new import permit to the industry.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    The Department lacks institutional capabilities. The number of industries and the chemicals which they import need to be more closely monitored with respect to storage and disposal. The present infrastructure does not permit this.

    The present system of examination of import licenses needs to be further streamlined, particularly with respect to repeated applications.

    A system of industrial inspection of storage systems for hazardous chemicals needs to be instituted. This would help in cutting down the possibility of accidents.

    Certain chemicals are highly toxic or confirmed carcinogens. These need to be banned where safer substitutes are available.

    There remains an insufficient awareness regarding the use of pesticides.

    Generation of toxic wastes from industry should be minimized by engineering improvements and other techniques.

    Infrastructure for disposal of expired chemicals and pesticides needs to be built.

    Information

    The consumption rates for chemicals, particularly pesticides, need to be monitored closely so that excessive use is avoided. Quantities of expired pesticides need to be cut down both from the wastage and disposal viewpoints.

    Close links need to be forged with other GCC countries and UN-agencies, such as IRPTC, for exchange of information on use of toxic chemicals, precautions and their disposal methods.

    Research and Technologies  

    No information is available.

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    No information is available.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

    WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

    Solid Waste and Sanitation

    No information is available.

     

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    Hazardous Wastes

    Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

    No information is available.

    Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

    Waste management legislation for the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes has been prepare, as required by the Basel Convention.

    Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

    No information is available.

    Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

    No information is available.

    Programmes and Projects

    No information is available. 

    Status 

    No information is available.

    Challenges

    No information is available.

    Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

    No information is available.

    Information

    No information is available.

    Research and Technologies

    No information is available.  

    Financing

    No information is available.

    Cooperation

    Qatar ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal in 1995.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

    For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

    Radioactive Wastes

    No information is available.

     

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    This information was provided by the Government of Qatar to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: June 1997.

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