DOHA: Qatar will host the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) in November and December.
Qatar is already growing in international status through its commitment to conflict resolution and international development. But in facilitating United Nations backed discussions in its own country, Qatar has the opportunity to demonstrate real leadership around the issues of climate change and sustainable development.
With Unctad XIII almost on, there is a great deal of hope and expectation on what the conference can achieve, and how Qatar leverages its agenda as conference president for the next four years. In a message of support to Unctad XIII, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has made its views on this quite clear. And importantly there is much that resonates with Qatar’s commitment to environmental development as outlined in its National Vision 2030.
Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said in his message that the green economy can help achieve the objective of sustainable development, besides delivering social, environmental and economic benefits.
Noting the array of challenges to sustainable development such as poverty and inequalities, Steiner also pointed to “mitigating, responding and adapting to the damaging effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, desertification and biodiversity loss.”
For UNEP, a green economy is one that is “low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive; that results in improved human wellbeing and social equity, but significantly reduced environmental risks and ecological scarcity.”
According to Steiner, the green economy can provide great benefits to the living standards of people in developing countries. Investment in the green sector creates green jobs, which are not only environmentally sound, but also provide ‘decent’ work as highlighted by UNEP’s joint Green Jobs Report with the International Labour Organization.
The theme of Unctad XIII is ‘Development-Centered Globalization: Toward Sustainable and Inclusive Growth and Development.’ Amidst these discussions, the green agenda and low carbon economies will feature highly. As the President of Unctad and the upcoming host of COP 18, Qatar must show that it is ready to engage and lead on this debate through its own commitment to environmental development.