Doha, Qatar: The State of Qatar has recently devised a host of local and international initiatives that saw the country contributing to global efforts in cutting back on air pollution and carbon emissions and promoting renewables.

Qatar’s commitment to addressing climate change aligns with its National Vision 2030, especially in stimulating investment in innovative agricultural and social technologies aimed at raising societal awareness of environmental issues, promoting sustainability concepts, and finding suitable solutions to transform arid and barren lands into agricultural and forested areas. Qatar also seeks to play a prominent regional role in assessing and mitigating the negative impacts of climate change while supporting international efforts in this regard.

In line with these objectives, Qatar has developed a National Climate Change Plan, which includes over 35 initiatives to reduce emissions and more than 300 initiatives to adapt to its effects. These efforts aim to achieve a 25 percent reduction in emissions and greenhouse gases from all sectors by 2030.

The ‘One Million Trees’ initiative, launched by the Ministry of Municipality in 2019, was established in response to Qatar’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, the number of parks and green areas is set to increase to 143 by 2023, up from only 56 in 2010. Green spaces in the country have expanded from 3.5sqkm in 2015 to 16.7sqkm in 2023. Thanks to these efforts, it is estimated that 1,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide are absorbed daily through one million trees. Each tree is believed to absorb between 1.7 to 2 kilograms of carbon dioxide daily.

This initiative, which was open to all members of society - individuals, institutions, government agencies, the private sector, companies, schools, educational institutions, youth centres, sports clubs, and the general population - focused on planting and nurturing saplings of Qatar’s native florae including Prosopis cineraria (Ghaf), Ziziphus nummularia (Sidr), Acacia tortilis (Samr) and others. These trees were planted in various selected locations, such as major highways, circular roads in Doha, the Majd Road, the North Road, the Coastal Road, industrial areas, sites of sewage treatment and storage units, rainwater collection sites, city entrances, municipalities, public parks, schools, residential complexes, and other locations.

The initiative included tree planting in neighbourhoods, housing complexes, and small-space gardens across various municipalities, as well as in outer regions. Next to Doha North Wastewater Treatment Plant, 20km northwest of Doha, a forest containing 94,043 trees was grown in an area of 7.5sqkm. Most of the planted vegetation, which is irrigated with treated water, is adapted to Qatar’s climate, making it a safe haven for birds and wildlife.

Coastal areas, beaches, healthcare facilities, sports clubs, hospitals, mosques, schools, companies, government entities, and areas surrounding sports stadiums, roads leading to these locations, jogging tracks, commercial centres, parking lots, protected areas, nurseries, highways, and local roads were all planted with greenery. Additionally, public gardens, parks, and squares were created with distinctive and diverse afforestation.

To make the ‘One Million Trees’ initiative further efficacious, there were two campaigns to get over 2,000 school students involved in tree-planting and stimulating citizens to plant in their neighbourhoods home delivery of saplings and giving advice, guidance, and awareness on designing home gardens. Furthermore, regulatory guidelines for planting and beautifying building rooftops have been developed as part of the Qatari construction requirements. In addition, there is an initiative to increase green spaces, which involves creating public parks, central parks, and green squares (plazas) to the highest standards and quality.

Qatar’s climate change efforts encompass a range of local actions, including close cooperation with international environmental organizations and bodies focused on climate change. Initiatives such as using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a green fuel to reduce Green House Gas (GHGs), carbon dioxide injection into the subsurface for enhanced oil recovery purposes, and launching the Al Kharsaah Solar Power Plant, which is expected to reduce emissions by approximately one million tons annually, are just a few examples.

One noteworthy international initiative is Qatar’s hosting of the Expo 2023, scheduled to kick off October 2 and continue for six months. This event aims to highlight the latest initiatives, innovations, and efforts in modern agriculture, urban greening, and vegetation conservation, both nationally and globally.

Expo 2023 Doha Qatar aims to enhance international collaboration on environmental, cultural, and financial issues while tackling the common global challenge of desertification. It invites the global horticulture sector to exchange knowledge and expertise, guide the region on how to implement the concept of green cities, encourage innovation in horticulture-related to climate, water, and soil in Qatar, stimulate international investment opportunities and business prospects in Qatar, and enhance health and quality of life by preserving green spaces, supporting scientific research for practical desert greening solutions, and addressing global issues related to water, energy, and food scarcity.

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