DOHA: Qatar has entered into a strategic partnership with the globally renowned Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) to set up the region’s pioneering Climate Change Research Institute and a Global Climate Change Forum in Doha.
Qatar Foundation (QF) and the Potsdam Institute jointly announced the partnership in the presence of H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres at a function held on the sidelines of COP18/CMP8 yesterday.
The institute, to be set up under Qatar Foundation, is expected to be in place by 2014, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Founding Director, PIK, told reporters after the signing ceremony.
“The ground-breaking initiatives that we are announcing today reveal our shared belief in the critical importance of science-based action. Solutions have to be found urgently in order to prevent dangerous global warming from happening and to make countries like Qatar climate-smart”, Professor Hans said.
The new research institute will operate at the crossroads between the natural and social sciences, while building on the work of other leading institutions. Some of the important research topics that will be tackled by the new institute will include extreme events, water systems, ecosystems, food production, public health, and sustainable urban development.
Another key effort of this partnership, the Global Climate Change Forum, will provide a platform for like-minded countries to work together and create innovative climate change strategies.
The forum will supplement ongoing official UNFCCC negotiations and discussions by paving the way for an alliance of pioneers to implement new approaches based upon cutting-edge science.
Qatar believes creation of the world-class climate change research institute and the climate change forum will help tackle the impacts of climate change and advance the science and technology available to address this global challenge.
The Institute, the first of its kind in the region, will seek to fill critical gaps in research on mitigation, adaptation and climate resiliency for key regions such as tropics, sub-tropics and dry lands.
As a nation uniquely situated within the harsh demands of a coastal dry land eco-system, Qatar is perfectly positioned for this work. Its recent rapid economic and urban development also serve as an ideal setting for cross-cutting research needed by nations and population centres struggling to find balance between rapid growth and proactive policies on climate and sustainability.
The partnership with the Potsdam Institute forms part of Qatar’s commitment to invest 2.8 percent of the country’s GDP to research, said Faisal bin Mohammed Al Suwaidi, President, Research Development, QF.
Al Suwaidi explained that the partnership would allow the country to develop a blueprint for progress and to evolve into a hub for advanced research and technologies.
“Qatar Foundation is very proud to collaborate with the Pottsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to establish the Climate Change Research Institute in Qatar. By fostering collaborations and sharing knowledge, we are certain that we can build the capacity and technology required to address the challenges at hand, to adapt and to mitigate environmental risks,” he said..
In addition to government representatives and scientists, the forum will involve multiple stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations with international reach and relevant expertise in the field.
The forum will also serve as a platform for sharing best practices from a technological and societal standpoint. An important aspect of the forum’s mandate is to identify knowledge gaps and initiate joint research activities that will be beneficial for all involved.