“Climate Change, Resource and Infrastructure Use: Emerging Regional and International Law Issues” — Muna Mustafa H A Al-Marzouqi, SJD student at Tulane University Law School, Lecturer at Qatar University College of Law

Muna

Muna

Muna Mustafa H A Al-Marzouqi is a lecturer at the Qatar University School of Law  and along with two colleagues attended The Role of Law and Government in Protecting Communities from Extreme Weather and Coastal Flood Risks: Local, Regional, and International Perspectives to speak on Qatar’s involvement in coastal planning.  Muna was the first of the visiting Qatar scholars to speak and must have anticipated the audience’s limited knowledge of Qatar.

 

Admittedly, the Middle East isn’t the first region that comes to mind when you think about coastal flood management and Qatar as a single nation is even further off the radar.  As Muna was quick to note, however, that doesn’t mean Qatar is not concerned or focused on coastal flood management.  In a country where 90% of the population lives in coastal settlements and projects like The Pearl, the likes of which are beginning to define the region, coastal management is of the utmost importance.

 

It isn’t just Qatar’s coastal population that forces them to focus on coastal flooding; it is their ever expanding economy.  Judgment aside, countries like Qatar that focus their economies around oil and gas reserves near the coasts will suffer additional economic burdens if they fail to develop adequate coastal flooding management strategies.  Qatar in particular, with one of the fastest growing economies in the world, is going to be dependent on it its ability to adapt to changing climates.

 

Qatar, as Muna pointed out, is doing just that and taking a leading role in the region.  In 2012, Qatar hosted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change  and worked to develop principals on how Qatar would tackle climate change.  In addition, Qatar is constantly working to develop cleaner fuels and protecting the air through air quality initiatives as well as setting long-term energy goals and a sustainable vision for 2030.

 

It is often easy for us to forget that all coastal regions, regardless of economic sectors, will be affected by sea-levels rising.  Qatar is working to address these issues, but as Muna points out, no country can do it alone.  All Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries need to collaborate and harmonize around coastal zone strategies.  As she pointed out, they may be producers of oil, but they are still at risk of climate change.  As the quickly changing country advances further it will be interesting to see how they adapt and address these issues inside their own country and the region.

 

Blog Post By: Kelsey Baack

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