Region Requires Customized Solutions To Address Its Distinct Climate Challenges
In Doha, Qatar, Minister of Environment and Climate Change H E Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani emphasized that the region's water, energy, and environmental challenges are distinctive, necessitating specialized solutions and research efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Addressing the commencement of the third International Conference on Sustainable Energy-Water-Environment Nexus in Desert Climates (ICSEWEN’23), Dr. Faleh highlighted the intricate challenges faced by desert and arid regions. He emphasized the need for increased efforts to combat climate change and its diverse challenges affecting nations, economies, ecosystems, and ways of life.
Middle Eastern nations face some of the most pronounced effects of human-induced climate change, such as rising temperatures, reduced rainfall, prolonged droughts, intensified sandstorms, increased flooding, and higher sea levels.
The minister pointed out a significant challenge in the region, specifically the need to meet water demand. In the Gulf, this requirement leads to a heavy reliance on desalination for drinking water from the sea, a process both economically costly and energy-intensive. He further emphasized that the conference, occurring alongside Expo 2023, underscores Qatar's dedication to fostering innovation and finding solutions for climate and sustainability issues, particularly concerning water, energy, and food security.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, H E Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani, delivering a speech at the conference.
He added, "The conference aims to explore inventive solutions, and we anticipate productive outcomes that will aid in alleviating the effects of climate change and foster environmental and economic sustainability in Qatar.
Eng. Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari, President of Kahramaa, stated that the conference will address crucial issues related to resource challenges and sustainability.
He emphasized the need to consider resource depletion and its environmental impact, particularly in the face of the world's rapid population growth.
Eng. Al Kuwari highlighted that over two billion people lack access to clean water, and nearly 700 million live without electricity. He emphasized the necessity for a balanced and equitable utilization of resources, urging governments and organizations to implement policies that promote the integration of energy, water, and environmental considerations.
He noted that Qatar has effectively utilized these resources in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030. It is Kahramaa's responsibility to ensure the efficient utilization of water and energy as part of water and energy security measures. Eng. Al Kuwari mentioned that Kahramaa is on the verge of finalizing a strategy on renewable energy.
Former Minister of Energy and Industry, H E Dr. Mohammed Saleh Abdulla Al Sada, emphasized the crucial interdependence and mutual impact of water, energy, and the environment, each being vital elements on their own.
“Water is essential for producing energy and food, and energy is necessary for producing, treating and distributing water. Food production depends on an environment with clean water and sustainable energy resources. This nexus is closely tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and achieving each goal, which relies on the same pool of resources without considering the requirement of other goals, threatens the sustainability of resources,” Dr. Al Sada said.
He highlighted that Qatar, similar to many regions, grapples with water scarcity due to insufficient rainfall, groundwater depletion, and the steep expenses of desalination. Dr. Al Sada noted that groundwater extraction had tripled between 2016 and 2021. This surge led to challenges such as seawater intrusion, declining water quality, and heightened aquifer salinity.
"The government acknowledges the strategic significance of water, energy, and the environment for our nation's sustainable progress. The Qatar National Vision 2030 underlines our country's dedication to constructing a knowledge-based economy, with a focus on research and innovation across multiple sectors, including water, energy, and the environment."
Dr. Khaled Mahmoud, the Conference Co-chair and Director of QEERI, noted that global warming is leading to unprecedented changes in local, regional, and international climates. He highlighted that the conference aims to analyze these transformations and offer recommendations to policymakers.
The conference, spanning four days, will explore various subjects such as energy transition, water resources, operations and advancements, environmental pollution and its mitigation, innovative approaches in the fuel and gas sector, as well as sustainability and technical solutions.