(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
Qatar has stressed that it pays great attention to sea resources and natural reserves by managing and protecting the sea environment to ensure its preservation and sustainability.
This came during Qatar's participation in the UN Ocean Conference, which is being held in Lisbon, Portugal, until July 1.
Qatar's delegation is headed by HE the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser al-Thani.
HE the Minister stressed that the conference provides a highly significant opportunity to mobilise international efforts to consult and exchange views, ideas, and viewpoints, to find effective practical solutions, take the right decisions and achieve the aspirations of all to preserve the oceans as one of the important water resources.
The oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth's surface, he said, adding that their importance lies in being an essential source of food, alternative energy generation, and desalination projects.
In his speech at the conference, HE the Minister noted that Qatar has managed and protected the sea environment, and the consequent legislative and monitoring measures to ensure its preservation and sustainability, as well as its contribution, within the framework of its keenness to play its role as an active partner with the international community, with $100mn to support small island developing states and least developed countries to deal with climate, natural hazards and environmental challenges and capacity building to face its devastating effects.
He said that the State also contributed $2mn to address the threat posed by the floating oil tanker 'Safer' off the Yemeni coast, to prevent an oil leak and avoid an environmental disaster.
Out of its keenness to preserve the marine environment, Qatar has prepared the National Action Plan for the conservation and management of sea resources, the preparation of a habitat map of its coastal zone, in addition to preparing integrated management plans and implementing a draft decision banning the use of single-use plastic bags and replacing them with multi-use plastic bags and biodegradable plastic bags, he stressed, adding that Qatar University was chosen for Unesco Chair in Marine Sciences.
Within the framework of its keenness to preserve the environment in general and the marine environment in particular, Qatar has also adopted a strategic approach to reach integration between the environment and social and economic governance, through the implementation of its 'Qatar National Vision 2030' strategy and the National Biodiversity Plan 2015/2025, he added.
HE the Minister pointed out that the protected area of the marine environment in Qatar covers more than 2.5% of the country's total area, in line with the initiative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, in preserving marine species and habitats, and working to increase the number of their protected areas, at a time when the planning phase for creating a comprehensive biodiversity database has also begun.
He also pointed out that Qatar's action plan includes many projects to cover many aspects of biodiversity, as the number of mangrove areas was increased, seaweed cultivation was surveyed, coral reefs were maintained and increased, and islands and beaches of ecological and recreational value were organised.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change also recommended increasing the area of marine reserves to 30% of Qatar's exclusive economic zone in the next three years, to reach the aspired goal in Qatar National Vision 2030.
HE the Minister commended the new voluntary commitments made in the context of the UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the conservation of oceans, seas, and marine resources, and their use in a way that enables sustainable development, hailing the efforts made by the participants, which resulted in the political declaration entitled 'Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility.'
The UN Ocean Conference 2022, co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal, comes at a critical time as the world strengthens its efforts to find and manage solutions to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
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