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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN QATAR

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DEMOGRAPHICS

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 

Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab state with a population of about 650,000. Arabic is the official language, although English is widely spoken by the Arab, European and Asian communities who reside and work in Qatar.

Doha, where 80% of the population lives, is the capital and administrative centre of the country. It lies on the eastern coast and houses the ministries, government departments, and financial and commercial institutions. Other major towns in Qatar are Umm Said (the industrial town), Dukhan, Al-Khor and Al-Shamal.

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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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Master Plan Update (update for the health care master plan prepared by the Ministry of Public Health and Hamad Medical Corporation, 1994) noted that the health care system in Qatar was modelled on the Danish system, with strong focus on community-based local health services providing primary health care. The Master Plan noted that the system for primary health care centres was designed with catchment area populations averaging 11,000 persons. In addition, one of the emerging trends and philosophies in hospital planning in Qatar has been, and is expected to be, decentralization of secondary health care services from centralized locations in Doha to suburban and rural health care centres. Currently, the catchment areas population for health centres outside Doha average between 5,000- 20,000 and the health care centres in Doha have catchment areas averaging over 35,000.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

See under Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

Currently, Qatar is preparing a detailed and comprehensive five-year health programme. It is also in the process of creating a National Council for Health and of restructuring the Ministry of Health in order to maximize effective coordination and reduce bureaucracy.

Status 

Health care services in Qatar are provided mainly through the Ministry of Public Health and Hamad Medical Corporation in cooperation with other Ministries, health care associations (e.g. Red Crescent, Qatar Diabetic Association, etc.), health clinics operated by some public sector and government agencies (police, army, industries) and privately operated health clinics. Major industries in Qatar which employ a relatively large number of personnel provide health care services for employees.

Basic health care in Qatar is provided free of charge to all residents including expatriates. A nominal fee for annual registration and for prescribed medicines has been introduced recently for non-Gulf Co-operation Council persons to decrease misuse and overburden on the health care system. However, essential services such as emergencies, well baby and maternal care, school health care, vaccinations against communicable diseases, etc., have been exempted from these charges.

The Preventive Health Department of the Ministry of Public Health provides for the following services for identifying and eradicating communicable diseases: (1) Follow-up of vaccinations given at health centres to prevent out-break of communicable diseases; (2) Follow-up of contacts with patients suffering from communicable diseases; (3) Detecting disease carriers and checking newcomers to the country; (4) Study of disease patterns in the country and epidemiological statistics; (5) Issue of 'Communicable Disease-Free' License to food handlers and persons in contact with humans or animals; (6) Providing vaccination to travellers to endemic countries, and vaccination to all inhabitants during epidemics in near-by countries; and (7) Ensuring quality of food and water.

The following list summarizes issues and constrains facing identification and eradication of communicable diseases:

Challenges

The constraints in health care education include the following:

Among the actions planned in this area are those to conduct extensive short training programmes for intermediate and junior staff; to exchange experience in health education and training with other Gulf countries; to prepare training for different sectors of health providers; to invite experienced personnel in training and health education; and to run health education programmes about the importance of preventive and epidemiological medicine.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Health education in schools runs through the school nurse, the school doctor who visits the school two or three times a year providing health services and health education, social workers in the school and from teachers. In addition, health and hygiene lessons are part of the curriculum in primary and preparatory levels of education. The primary health centres have social workers dedicated to providing health education.

Information

Monitoring of health programs is done through statistical analysis of data collected by different departments of the Ministry of Health, reports of short term WHO consultants, analysis of patients complaints and numbers of patient visits to health facilities in comparison to the population. Available data show that some aspects of health services in Qatar are good and with good facilities.

However, the current system for monitoring the progress and effectiveness of health services is inadequate. The methods used for collecting and analysing information are not up-to-date, and communication between sectors providing health services is inadequate.

Efforts are being made to establish a modern database of health indicators and to set up a specialised unit for monitoring and follow-up.

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.

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Education Ministry is responsible for all educational activities in Qatar at the primary, preparatory, secondary and tertiary levels including general, technical and religious and institutional needs. The Ministry provide facilities for literacy, adult education, cultural relations, skills training, career development, in-service teacher training. It is also responsible for public libraries, school health and school accommodation.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There has been a substantial growth in the affairs of the Ministry. In 1982 there were only 141 schools. A 10-year plan was introduced in 1982 for the construction of 156 schools, of which 99 were to be built in the suburbs and desert villages. The objective is to develop the State uniformly by spreading its resources. This would ultimately help in providing educational and other facilities throughout the State, thereby preventing urban growth. This is important for sustainable development in the context of environmental management and social upliftment. An important part of the Education Ministry is the Department of Training and Career Development. Its function is to provide training to ministerial officials, clerical and technical staff in Government and Industry. It is also responsible for providing in-service training and vocational guidance.

The Environment Department is in the process of setting performance standards for existing and new industries. Pollution control has already become a major focus area on the industries. Allied areas such as water conservation and environmental audit would require trained personnel to be available in the industries.

The Centre for the Affairs of Man and the Environment, located in Riyadh, coordinates the meetings of the respective ministerial committees to bring into focus the situation in each member state in the GCC countries with respect to regional and international issues.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

University System: The centre for higher education is Qatar University. This was established in 1973 and has regular courses for the Bachelors programme in Humanities, Engineering and Science. Presently there are three environment-related basic courses, namely, Environmental Chemistry, Pollution and General Ecology. There is a requirement for a project in the curricula for Marine Sciences. Students are encouraged to work on one oriented to environmental management. HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani is the Supreme President of the University. In the convocation address in November, 1996 he emphasized "the necessity of concentrating on scientific and applied specialization" and on "the need for continuous education, which has come to take its place in the programmes and concerns of contemporary universities."

There is a need to establish a structure in the State for institutionalizing human resources development. Given human resource and financial constraints, the best way to do this would be to strengthen, support and integrate the existing facilities rather than build another institution. The field of human resource development in the context of sustainable development in Qatar needs to be examined at different levels of age, education and specialization.

School Curriculum and Awareness: Initial environment education has undoubtedly to begin with children in school. It is important for the children to imbibe correct perspectives on the need to protect flora and fauna, love for the environment and principles of sustainable development. This would also help in the all-round development of their personalities. In addition, lessons which they learn in environmental education are carried home to their parents. Simple messages such as planting trees to prevent deforestation and improving the microclimate are carried back to their homes with great advantage.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

The Training and Career Development Department of the Education Ministry looks into the needs both of the Government and of Industry with regard to supply and training of personnel.

Technical training is particularly necessary for adopting the management techniques in industry called for by new performance standards being established by the Environment Department.

Special Programmes for industry: These courses would essentially provide inputs for making policy decisions in the work place. These programmes would update the management on the needs for orientation of industry to the rules and regulations which would be enforced or at least encouraged for countries to adopt. Awareness programmes related to environmental audit and the need to adopt ISO 14000 are some of the issues which industry needs to be aware of. In many cases, experts would need to be called from specialized organizations in the UN system or from consultants who are specialists in the field in which training is being imparted. In certain cases, the training could be held abroad, particularly in a GCC country to solve a common problem.

Training Centre in the Environment Department: There is a pressing need for formalized training at different levels to be imparted in the State. Currently there appears to be a fragmented approach. Most of the training at the secondary and tertiary (or specialized) level is lacking and "technical training" is currently provided on the job or through contact with people or under a onetime overseas training programme. The training needs in environment must come through a cooperative manner from Government and Industry.

Industrialization of Qatar has improved the country's standard of living. Import of technology has brought about rapid changes in lifestyles. While this has made consumer goods easily available, it has taken place at a cost to the environment, particularly the attendant wastage, both at the manufacturers and also at the consumers end. These include excessive consumption of plastics, metals, glass, paper and other items which are littered and ultimately find their way to the dumpsites. Awareness of these problems can certainly improve the situation. Special emphasis needs to be given in building awareness in children: the decision- makers of tomorrow.

Increasing public awareness: There are three routes in this mission for reaching out to the people: (1) Using the resources of the Environment Department; (2) Cross-linking with other organizations concerned with Environment, particularly Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); and (3) Networking with countries in common projects at the regional or international level.

There are a number of awareness-raising programmes conducted annually. Each of these targets a particular segment of society. The main focus, however are the school-going children. For example, each year a number of competitions, on environmental topics, are organized. They include painting, photography, and essays. A number of exhibitions on environmental topics are held each year which include paintings, photographs and posters prepared by children. During these exhibitions, brochures and bulletins are distributed to the visitors.

In addition, a number of campaigns for Public Awareness Programmes are held regularly. These include, for example, cleaning important streets of empty cans and bottles; protecting marine birds and turtles; and cleaning beaches of litter using help of NGOs, such as the Qatari Boys Scouts. Wide publicity is given to these campaigns in order to encourage participation.

Films have also been prepared for showing to schools or on the local TV channel. The topics covered are either cartoons on civic responsibilities like keeping parks and beaches clean or on subjects of environmental relevance to Qatar, such as marine life, coral reefs, pollution and ozone depletion.

The Ministry of Education and Culture is a focal point which cooperates with the Environment Department for spreading environmental awareness amongst school children. The programmes consist of the following:

conducting lectures for students; forming groups for the protection of the school environment; arranging competitions, such as plays, posters and bulletins; running campaigns to clean beaches; and inclusion of environmental courses in the school curricula.

The local press helps in covering programmes related to the environment. Each month the local paper, "Al Sharq" carries a page dedicated to topical environmental issues with readers' contributions.

Radio Qatar transmits a 30-minute weekly programme giving environmental messages and news. It also conducts quizzes on important occasions, such as World Environment Day.

Qatar Television coordinates with the Environment Department for broadcasting important functions, including environmental events, such as exhibitions; beach cleaning campaigns; afforestation and tree plantations; and inviting distinguished persons for live discussions on environmental issues.

Qatar TV had run 72 episodes of a programme on environmental issues from 1982 to 1989. It regularly broadcasts skits, cartoons and messages to increase awareness, in both young and old.

There is a need to strengthen national capabilities specialized in environmental education and information; to organize seminars and training sessions for the nationals in the field of environmental information; to make available scientific material that addresses itself to children, using the media as an educational tool; to provide access to modern communication technology to make it accessible in remote areas; and to train and educate female specialists in the field of environmental education to present lectures and organize training sessions for women, to clarify the role of the family in various environmental activities.

Future and long term plans include the following:

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The Council of Arab Ministries responsible for Environment (CAMRE) has established a Steering Committee for raising environmental awareness of the people in the Arab countries. The mandate covers the following: (1) Studying attitudes of primary and secondary school pupils towards environment; (2) Organizing meetings on environmental education, awareness and information in Arab countries; (3) Furnishing all member countries of the Arab League with publications and studies issued by the different countries; (4) Conducting training sessions and media gathering and organizing work groups for raising awareness; (5) Holding annual meetings to follow up on the year's achievements; and (6) Celebrating the Arab Environment Day on 14th October of every year.

The Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (Kuwait), which is located in Kuwait, performs a number of awareness raising activities in the field of the environment. It supervises the execution of decisions and recommendations issued by the Council of Ministry (CAMRE); holds regional meetings with the aim of developing environmental awareness; presents technical advice and financial assistance to the member states to enable them to implement environmental awareness programmes; prepares and distributes the organization's bulletin, brochures, publications, audio-visual aids, reports and documents related to environmental awareness; conducts specialized seminars and practical training courses in the field of pollution control; plans contests on children's paintings on the theme of environment protection for the member states; and prepares and organizes celebrations of the Gulf Environment Day which falls on the 24th of April.

 

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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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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

See under Decision Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Qatar is currently preparing a National Human Settlements Plan. A Physical Development Plan (PDP) has been prepared based on an estimated population of 620,000 in 1995, and going up to 1,000,000 in 2020. The capital, Doha and its surrounding suburbs account for about 90% of the population of Qatar. The PDP policies cover the following critical areas: water resources, sanitation facilities, coastal and marine environment, conservation of natural resources, impacts of development projects, and coastal zone management

The PDP has put forward a general physical planning framework for Qatar. There is, however, an urgent need for formulating plans dealing with specialized areas such as a national plan for protection of environment, a comprehensive housing program, a national strategy for industrial development, a national plan for waste management, water resources conservation and the protection of rural habitat.

Procedures and policies need to be established to ensure that the potable underground water supply is replenished and held as a strategic resource.

In order to integrate environmental dimensions into human settlements, legislation has been enacted bo cover environmental issues and to require environmental impact assessment for new development projects including those of power plants, high voltage substations and overhead lines.

New constructions are required to take a building permit which has to be approved by the concerned Municipality, Planning Department and other service authorities including Electricity, Water and Civil Defence. A completion certificate is also required to ensure compliance with all regulations. Legislation on a number of issues has already been passed. The main ones are as follows:

In addition to the above legislation, the Planning Department of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture has published several planning and building regulations under the existing law giving specifications for the main development types in urban areas. These include: (1) Regulations for Flats and Flat Complexes (Draft); (2) Regulations for Villa and Villa Complexes (Draft); (3) Qatar Commercial Development Manual (Draft); (4) Planning Regulations for Residential Developments in Al Rayyan Municipality; (5) Planning Regulations for Commercial Developments in Al Rayyan Municipality; (6) Subdivision Regulations; and (7) Interim Zoning Regulation.

The main constraints facing implementation of legislation and criteria regulating construction in urban areas can be summarized as follows:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

The main issues and constraints facing the implementation of plans and policies related to human settlements, distribution of population and the sustainable management of land resources are as follows:

Challenges

There are also issues and constraints facing integration of environmental dimensions in human settlement.

The rapid pace of physical development during the past few decades has created extensive demand on infrastructure and public facilities. There is a lack of adequate coordination and interaction between concerned agencies and departments, such as the Planning, Environment and Public Health and a lack of effective environmental standards and associated legislation for their implementation. Older districts have residential areas in poor condition inhabited by less affluent expatriate workers from less developed countries and these areas require redevelopment and rehabilitation. And there is an inadequate number of trained personnel for implementation and monitoring.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

The Physical Development Plan for the State of Qatar (PDP) has put forward several recommendations for overcoming the negative impact caused by the rapid pace of development and for providing infrastructure and facilities that match with the rate of growth to ensure high quality of the living environment.

Some of the recommendations to ensure a satisfactory environmental quality of the human settlements are as follows:

There is a need to revise existing regulations to make them more effective in controlling the current rapid pace of physical development.

There is an urgent need to enact comprehensive building codes and planning laws that guide and control building and planning activities in urban areas. These legislation should be detailed enough to become effective tools for concerned government agencies.

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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