Position Paper for General Assembly Plenary
Since joining the United Nations in 1971 the State of Qatar assumes an increasingly important mediator position regarding foreign affairs in both bilateral and transnational relationships. With the intention to strengthen the role of the United Nations, Qatar is eager to exchange and debate within the global community. Therefore, Qatar, friend and reliable partner to all UN Member States, is willing to contribute productively to the Plenary's discussions about: 10-Year Review of the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals; Elimination of International Terrorism; and Climate Change/ Environmental Degradation as a Source of Conflict.
I. 10-Year Review of the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals
Poverty, hunger, gender inequality, environmental exploitation and the lack of education and adequate sanitation still affect many parts of the world today. The situation demands for a critical review of the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As the State of Qatar itself went through a rapid development in recent decades, Qatar strongly believes in the decisiveness of assistance to the countries that still suffer from deficits in basic services. Hence the international community urgently needs to strengthen its cooperation on reaching projected 2015's MDG conditions. It is the genuine wish of the delegation of Qatar to integrate into fruitful debates helping any UN Member State to undertake similar steps towards the accomplishment of the MDGs.
The Millennium Summit in September 2000 marked a changing point in any nation's examination of citizens’ life and welfare. The approval of the MDGs by all UN Member States as well as A/Res/55/2 bear witness to chapter IX article 55 of the UN Charter. Relying on that fundament, the international community can point to the achievements quoted in the 2009 MDG Report. Worldwide decline of child mortality between 1990 and 2007 can be taken as an example. The State of Qatar itself has made remarkable progress towards meeting the MDGs. Targets in poverty abatement, literacy rate, access to food and drinking water, gender equity in education and the reduction of infant and maternal mortality had been fully met or will be met before 2015. Qatar has been able to achieve the target of gender parity and enrollment in all general education levels but emphasizes the importance of women's admission into national labor markets and therefore puts further efforts into bridging the gender gap in employment ratio. On a global view, especially rural and poor urban slum areas are segregated both from health care systems and educational programs that do not appropriately reach those in need. To foster their ability to achieve the MDGs, Qatar provides development assistance to developing countries, particularly to those suffering from economic constraints and political problems. The State of Qatar, seeking to participate in global partnership for development, has raised the volume of aid to developing countries. Qatar also contributes to the global partnership for development through its recruitment of a large number of immigrant workers who take part in various development projects.
Education, trade and development are strongly interdependent. Therefore, the State of Qatar reminds the international community to support the implementation of the Doha Declaration adopted by the Follow-Up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus in Doha 2008. Like the Millennium Declaration it stresses the urgency of achieving development goals in the framework of multilateral international negotiations. Furthermore, it suggests debt relief for developing countries and urges fighting corruption and policy coherence. Own experiences and the strong desire to communicate between Member States and regional organizations represent Qatar’s motivation towards this review. As H.H. Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani stated at the Doha Conference in 2008, “Qatar has endeavored to be a supportive partner in the international efforts for development, especially as regards combating poverty and the more equitable and fairer distribution of the benefits of global growth, in view of the positive effects of these on stability and the maintenance of international peace and security”. In this sense the State of Qatar reminds the international community of its moral responsibility to undertake a thorough review of the MDGs and find updated strategies which all Member States, developed and developing alike, shall support.
II. Elimination of International Terrorism
All nations are affected by the threats of national and international terrorism. Within the last 40 years the threat of international terrorism changed dramatically. As before, it confronts the world with fear, violence and conflicts. The State of Qatar considers it of utmost importance to further tackle the problem in its full complexity. Security of energy resources, infrastructure development and false prejudices against the Islamic community have to be taken into full consideration. Qatar shows an active contribution on collaborating with any other UN Member State to face recent developments and successfully fight international terrorism.
The big amount of resolutions covering international terrorism gives testimony to the ongoing process to cope with terrorist threats. A/Res/3034, A/Res/49/60, A/Res/51/210, A/Res/60/288 are several mile-stones in fighting terrorism in aviation, protection of nuclear material, safety of maritime navigation, suppression of terrorist bombings and finally formulating a Counter-Terrorism Strategy accepted by all UN Member States. The existence of several Security Council Resolutions, the establishment of the Counter Terrorism Implementation Force as well as the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism adapted in 1994 show the urgency of this matter. The State of Qatar itself wants to draw all UN Member States’ attention to the Arab League Accord to Fight Terrorism signed by 22 Arab States in 1998, which reflects local effort and will. Since international terrorism is related to a diversity of topics like drug trafficking, arms trade, money laundering and smuggling of nuclear material, Qatar calls upon regional organizations as well as upon all UN Member States to start fighting terrorism in an adequate and efficient way.
“Enhancing Democracy and Combating Terrorism” as the subject of the sixth Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade in 2006 represents the State of Qatar’s deepest concern about the issue of international terrorism. H.H. Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani therefore stated: “I humbly believe that building of democracy […] is considered one of the most effective instruments in addressing the phenomenon of terrorism, since the resultant gains will benefit everybody”. International peace as well as freedom of national identity, religion and belief are principal of the UN, which are all fully endorsed by Qatar. Hence Qatar, gladly playing a mediating role between Western Countries and Arab States calls on all UN Member States to constructively work together as one body to make today’s life safer for all humans.
III. Climate Change/ Environmental Degradation as a Source of Conflict
The Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 has shown international disagreement on climate change mitigation strategies, which should therefore be of highest importance in further discussions. As we face undeniable hazards engendered by climate change, we must understand the link between international security and climate change impacts. Amongst other consequences, coastal flooding and threats to food and water security caused by crop destruction and salinization, lead to displacement and migration of millions of people. The State of Qatar itself is exposed to such events as rising seawater levels, floodings, sand storms and erosion of coastal areas, which lead to the loss of land and to an increased salinity of already scarce fresh water reserves. Considering the fact that these hazards especially trigger violent conflicts in less developed countries, Qatar declares its support of global efforts and seeks to make the issue a top priority for upcoming debates within the GA Plenary.
According to the scenarios established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global average temperatures and sea levels could rise between 1.1 and 6.4 °C respectively 7 to 23 inches as well as extreme weather events will increase very likely. By means of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 and the Kyoto Protocol, the UN have taken on their responsibility to implement adaptation and mitigation strategies since climate change induced threats are of global scale. The State of Qatar continues to be actively involved in negotiations within the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and supports nationally appropriate mitigation actions that are included within an international registry under the UNFCCC. As stipulated in the Qatari National Vision 2030, approved by H.H. Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Qatar is eager to play a proactive and significant regional role in assessing the impact of climate change and alleviating its negative impacts, especially in the Gulf States. Therefore, Qatar established the National Committee for Climate Change and the Supreme Council for Environment and Natural Reserves, as national policy formulating bodies and institutional frameworks for environmental affairs to support international mitigation efforts. Qatar further established the Environmental Public Prosecution in 2003 and the Friends of the Environment Center in 1992 to investigate environmental offenses and crimes and to promote environmental awareness among citizens. The formulation of strategies on environmental protection, the ratification of international and regional agreements and most importantly the establishment of the comprehensive Law of Environmental Protection No. 30 of 2002 clearly demonstrate Qatar’s environmental commitment within the last three decades.
The increase of global average temperatures since 1750 is mostly due to increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, especially carbon dioxide. To counter rising atmospheric carbon levels, the support of the creation and activation of a carbon market and the promotion of a wider usage of low-carbon fuels should be undertaken. The State of Qatar pleads for equal treatment of greenhouse gases from all sources. Non-carbondioxide greenhouse gases that have high warming potential have to be dealt with as well. Regarding the problem of scarce fresh water availability as a source of conflict, Qatar suggests further investments in the exploration of desalinization technologies powered by nuclear or renewable energy systems, including solar energy. In the development of solution strategies, Qatar stresses the importance of broader thinking and close collaboration of the stakeholders to avoid fragmented solutions. Therefore, the State of Qatar asks the international community to pay great attention to this issue, which is of utmost importance to all Member States.