The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change announced on Sunday, September 3, 2023, the launch of the Biodiversity Conferences 2023-2024. These conferences consist of three events, namely: the Animal and Plant Biodiversity Conference, in addition to the Marine Biodiversity Conference. These events are held under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
The organizing committee for the conferences, during a press conference held today, Sunday, at the Ministry’s headquarters, confirmed the organization of the first of these conferences, focusing on animal biodiversity, on Thursday, September 7, 2023. This conference is titled “Wildlife Hunting: A Hobby and Sustainable Environmental Conservation” and will coincide with the Suhail – Katara Exhibition. It will be attended by officials from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and representatives from various environmental organizations.
The first edition of the conference will shed light on the wild rabbit as one of the living creatures in the Qatari environment, under the slogan “The Wild Rabbit: Our Sustainable Heritage, Let’s Preserve It.”
In his introductory speech during the press conference, Dr. Mohammed bin Saif Al Kuwari, the engineering consultant and environmental expert at the office of His Excellency the Minister of Environment, and the head of the Animal Biodiversity Conference, stated, “The organization of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change for the Biodiversity Conference and its selection of the wild rabbit as the theme for this year’s conference aim to protect and preserve it, in line with Qatar’s Environmental and Climate Change Strategy in the second axis, titled Biodiversity.”
Dr. Mohammed bin Saif Al Kuwari explained that rabbits can be found in various wild areas within the Qatari environment, especially in coastal regions and sand dunes. They are settled animals, and their numbers are relatively low. He pointed out that some studies have indicated that the wild rabbit is considered a threatened species due to overhunting, rising temperatures, a lack of plant cover, and water scarcity in deserts. These studies have also highlighted habitat destruction for this animal. Therefore, this conference will focus on protecting the wild rabbit to achieve environmental balance in the State of Qatar.
He also mentioned that this conference will bring together a group of experts and consultants with extensive experience in the field of hunting, falconry, and the environment. The conference will discuss several key topics in this area, including Enhancing the hobby of hunting and promoting the Qatari-Arab heritage, protecting biodiversity in Qatar and Ethics and principles of hunting wild animals in Qatar considering Islamic Sharia.
Dr. Al Kuwari further stated that the conference will highlight international agreements and treaties related to hunting activities, as well as the laws and ministerial decisions governing hunting. It will also discuss the regulations and standards for sustainable hunting in Qatar. Participants will address safety and security standards in hunting, the efforts of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, and other relevant authorities in preserving biodiversity. Additionally, the conference aims to encourage the hobby of hunting while preserving the heritage of ancestors and their traditions in hunting and falconry.
In this context, Mr. Mohammed Al Khonji, the Director of Wildlife Development at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, stated, “The Biodiversity Conference is part of a series of efforts by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to preserve Qatar’s local environment, characterized by its significant and diverse biodiversity. The wild rabbit is one of the living creatures that enrich Qatar’s wild environment. Therefore, the conference aims to shed light on this species, which faces numerous risks and challenges that could lead to its extinction, whether through overhunting or the destruction of its local habitat.”
He further added during his speech at the conference, “Preserving biodiversity in Qatar is a shared responsibility that falls upon everyone, whether individuals or government entities. Qatar’s environment and its rich biodiversity are an essential part of the heritage and consciousness of the Qatari people. Therefore, conserving these species and their natural habitats is a national duty for all, especially as we approach a new hunting season.”
The Director of Wildlife Development emphasized that Article 3 of Ministerial Resolution No. 24 of 2023, regarding the regulation of the hunting season for certain wild birds and animals, has imposed a ban on hunting or possessing several local wild animals, birds, and reptiles for a period of two years. Among these animals is the wild rabbit, the focus of this conference. He said in this regard, “We urge and call upon everyone to strictly adhere to the laws and instructions issued by the Ministry in this regard, and to comply with the regulations governing hunting operations.”
Mr. Mohammed Al Khonji explained that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change aims, through organizing this conference, to promote a culture of environmental sustainability among members of the Qatari society and raise awareness among young people about the importance of preserving their local environment. Additionally, the conference will feature several important discussion sessions with the participation of government entities and civil society organizations related to the environment and wildlife. He emphasized that the ministry expects these sessions to yield effective recommendations and insights that contribute to environmental preservation, aligning with the overall objectives of the conference and serving the purpose of safeguarding and developing our local environment against any threats it may face.
In the same context, Mr. Mohammed Al Dahi, the Director of Public Relations and Communications, stated, “The organization of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change for the Animal Biodiversity Conference aligns with the ministry’s vision and mission to preserve Qatar’s environment and its biodiversity. It is no secret that the ministry has made significant efforts in recent years to educate all segments of society on ways to preserve the local environment. This has been achieved through the launch of environmental initiatives and the organization of numerous local and regional conferences and meetings. In addition, workshops and lectures have been conducted in all educational institutions, including schools, universities, and youth centers. These efforts have had a profound impact in spreading the culture of environmental sustainability among all residents of Qatar and have greatly contributed to the preservation of our environment.”
He explained that the series of Biodiversity Conferences will be launched under the slogan “Our Sustainable Heritage, Let’s Preserve It.” The conference’s logo has been designed to represent Qatar’s environmental heritage, reflecting the biodiversity of the three environments – the subjects of the upcoming conferences: animal biodiversity, plant biodiversity, and marine biodiversity. He noted that the first of these conferences has been scheduled for the seventh of this month, focusing on animal biodiversity.