Qatar is participating in the international conference on combating sand and dust storms, organized by the Islamic Republic of Iran in cooperation with the United Nations. The conference is being held from September 9th to 10th in the capital, Tehran.
The delegation from Qatar at the conference was headed by His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Dr. Ibrahim Abdul Latif Al-Muslimani, the Assistant Undersecretary for Nature Reserves and Protected Areas Affairs at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, also participated.
Qatar’s participation in the international conference on combating sand and dust storms stems from its commitment to addressing climate change, which has begun to impact many countries around the world, leading to various disasters and crises. Additionally, the issue of sand and dust storms poses a significant challenge to the countries in the Middle East region, and its intensity has increased in recent years, adversely affecting the public health of the region’s populations, leading to a rise in desertification, and the loss of large areas of arable land.
In this context, His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, emphasized that the phenomenon of dust and sandstorms is an inevitable result of climate change and global warming issue. These storms cause health problems for the region’s residents, exert pressure on the healthcare facilities of countries, and lead to significant economic losses. They disrupt air, land, and sometimes maritime transportation. Additionally, they contribute to food scarcity problems due to soil erosion and the loss of fertile agricultural land.
During his speech at the conference, His Excellency emphasized that Qatar has been warning of the serious impacts of this phenomenon in many international and regional conferences. He pointed out that Qatar has taken several steps to contribute to solving this problem, both at the domestic and international levels.
He also highlighted Qatar’s efforts to combat the phenomenon of sand and dust storms at the local level, including the development of a national framework to combat desertification based on principles of sustainable development, in line with its National Vision 2030. He mentioned the launch of the National Environmental Strategy and the Qatar National Climate Change Action Plan 2030.
He also pointed out that the country, through these visions, has implemented numerous programs and projects to preserve vegetation cover, such as rehabilitating gardens and cultivating Qatari soil with plants from the local environment. In addition, Qatar launched the ‘One Million Trees’ initiative and initiated a project to create a green belt around the city of Doha and its suburbs.
He also highlighted the launch of a soil monitoring program, which conducts environmental surveys across all 52 areas of the country. This program contributes to soil preservation against desertification and helps maintain its quality. He mentioned the numerous laws and regulations enacted by the state to regulate grazing operations to conserve green cover. Additionally, large quantities of wild plant seeds have been collected to enhance the country’s seed bank in the Gene Bank.
He also highlighted Qatar’s efforts to combat this phenomenon on the international stage, including its accession to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification since 1999. Furthermore, Qatar has contributed $100 million to support small island developing states and least developed countries in dealing with climate change, natural hazards, environmental challenges, and capacity-building to address their destructive effects.
His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, called on all countries to recognize the importance of cooperation in confronting these climate challenges and to take the issue of sand and dust storms seriously, not treating it as a secondary problem. He emphasized that climate change is a global threat to our planet and hinders economic and social progress for human civilization. Additionally, it contributes to the suffering of large segments of the populations of impoverished and low-income countries around the world.
In conclusion, His Excellency the Minister of Environment and Climate Change stated, ‘Qatar, driven by its international responsibilities, extends its hand for cooperation with everyone to protect the environment and address sand and dust storms. It is fully prepared to participate in initiatives arising from this conference that will benefit and protect people from the issues of desertification and sandstorms.