Qatar among top spenders on environmental research, development

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QSTec is investing in a $1bn polysilicon plant in Qatar. Photo - Constructionweekonline.com

Qatar is one of the biggest countries in the world in terms of investment in environmental research and development, spending around 2.8% of GDP.

The tiny gas-rich nation said it will be participating in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio +20, and project its developments in this area.

“The government is aware of the weakness of its environment, and has 176 programmes for this. We want to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions by 2026,” said Ahmed Awad, representative of one of Qatari environmental institutes.

The conference will take place from 20-22 June and will host 100 participants from different countries of the world.

Prince Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, son of the Qatari Emir, will present the master plan developed by the Qatar National Food Safety Programme (QNFSP) at the conference, one of the most impressive projects that has been drawn by the world’s leading experts to help the country attain food sustainability.

Qatar produces only 10% of its needs while importing 90% of its food. QNFSP working on a model that is expected to be ready by 2014. The plan includes construction of a giant desalination plant to provide most of the country’s water, improvement of agricultural production through sustainable development technologies such as hydroponics, and creation of solar energy fields to make Qatar a “clean” energy country.

A recent research published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Qatar has the worst ecological footprint per person in the world.

According to The Living Planet Report 2012, the leading biennial survey of the Earth’s health, the gas-rich Gulf state was putting the biggest demand on the earth’s ecological systems, despite having a limited ‘biocapacity’, or ability to regenerate resources.

The tiny desert nation’s ecological footprint totalled 11.64 global hectares (gha), the area of land required to feed, exploit materials, produce energy, and get rid of the waste produced as a result of the activities.

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