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Meena Antony
/ Categories: In the Media

About Qatar

The land of Qatar was once famous for its pearl diving, its timeless desert landscape, its importance as a trade bridge, and its hospitable people thriving in an inhospitable climate. With the discovery of rich natural resources in the modern era, the tribes of Qatar began to adapt from traditional modes of living to an urbanised lifestyle. With great bounty came enlightened stewardship and vision. The Qatari people have transformed their desert into a shining city at the forefront of innovation and progress. Modest, hospitable and practical, these people with a rich ancestry now bear the burden of their natural gifts as they transform their society into one of educational, technological, sustainable and commercial excellence. Qatar's population is young, with more than 70 per cent under the age of 29, which lends to Qatar's unparalleled dynamism. The country's small local population has welcomed more than a million foreign guests - residents who, under Qatari patronage, are assisting in the country's vision to build capacity and transform from a carbon-based economy to a knowledge-based society. Qataris generosity and welcoming attitude are consistently on display as they host an influx of guests from various ethnic backgrounds and religions. With an increasingly educated, travelled and worldly population, Qataris are in the business of building bridges across cultural and geographic boundaries. To its visitors, it welcomes the ideas and practices that they bring to solve problems that exist for us all as the world rises to meet the challenges of our times. But Qatar also hopes that during their stay, visitors engage with its people to learn about the local solutions and approaches that Qatar has developed to meet local, regional and global challenges. It is in this spirit of openness and exchange that Qatar has taken a leadership role on a spectrum of issues. The openness of Qatar's society does not come at the expense of its values. Qataris retain their traditional values, placing respect for and having pride in family, modesty, honour and dignity. These traits are high on the list of what it takes to be a successful, responsible and productive member of our society. For visitors, Qatar kindly asks that they respect these values as they engage with its people. This may mean that visitors are particularly sensitive to their manner of dress, or open to re-examining their personal social norms with regard to the manner of public interaction between genders to respect Qatar's understanding of modesty. Visitors' respect and understanding on these issues are appreciated. As Qatar welcomes delegates, observers and members of the media from around the world to Doha for the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2012, it looks forward to hosting an open and inclusive process that is working towards a fair and credible outcome. Economy Qatar's economy was once dependent on pearl-fishing in the aquamarine waters of the Arabian Gulf. With the discovery of natural resources and careful management, Qatar was transformed into one of the world's richest countries within a generation. Its large energy reserves, combined with its government liberal yet well-regulated economic strategy, have allowed strong and steady growth. Qatar sits atop 15.3 per cent of the world known natural gas reserves, which it mainly exports to energy consumers in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Natural gas is an important energy resource because it reduces carbon emissions by up to 60 per cent when replacing coal in power generation. Already, natural gas has made a tremendous contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the generation of power in those nations that have begun to make the shift to gas, a fuel that has rightly come to be seen as an important strategic 'bridge' for the world economy as nations work to enhance the viability and efficiency of renewable energies. Qatar is going further by investing in research and development in the field of carbon capture and storage which it believes can make a significant contribution to the reduction of polluting emissions from fossil fuels. But Qatar does not see its future exclusively as an energy producer, and has long viewed diversification as a further key to sustained and sustainable growth. It is precisely for this reason that in its National Vision 2030, Qatar outlines a framework that will allow the country to transform from a carbon-based economy to knowledge-based one, developing the country human capital. The country wealth creates previously undreamt of opportunities. Rather than sitting on its laurels, the country is using its bountiful resources to shape a better future defined by higher standards of living, sustainable development, modernisation, responsible environmental stewardship and human development. Understanding that natural resources and their economic use are finite, Qatar is investing heavily in its future, fostering education and research in particular. Qatar has top-notch universities that are providing a new generation with the tools necessary to meet tomorrow challenges. According to Qatar National Vision, 'future economic success will increasingly depend on the ability of the Qatari people to deal with a new international order that is knowledge-based and extremely competitive. To meet the challenge, Qatar is establishing advanced educational and health systems, as well as increasing the effective participation of Qataris in the labour force.' Alongside the development of its educational capacity, Qatar is a patron of cutting-edge research. Through the Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Research Fund encourages collaboration between Qatar and internationally recognised researchers. It provides opportunities to researchers at all levels, from students to professionals, in the public, private and academic sectors. At the same time, its primary focus is to fund research in areas of national interest and importance such as healthcare, the environment and security. With regards to the environment, the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute is taking the lead in developing technologies that will help make modern development more sustainable. Qatar is enjoying a period of unprecedented growth and success. It is one of the world's fastest growing economies and has a wealth of natural energy resources. The country's current success, while helped by the high international price of energy, has been underpinned by many years of planning and investment, pouring funds into the oil and LNG sectors, increasing capacity, establishing a well-respected business and financial environment, and drawing in investors, funds and expertise.
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