The much-awaited sustainability event Sustainability Summit 2017 was inaugurated under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada Minister of Energy and Industry, by H.E. Essa Bin Hilal Al Kuwari, President General Electricity and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Doha on Sunday, 26 November 2017. The two-day summit was hosted by Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD) in collaboration with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and featured renowned sustainability and environmental experts representing international agencies, research institutions and government bodies among others. Attendees agreed that the summit was able to communicate and inculcate a thought process that sustainability is not only a responsibility or a good government practice but a great power in the hands of organisations and corporates that can prove their leadership.
Sustainability Summit 2017 is an annual event focusing on two main themes: "Carbon & Climate Change" and the "Sustainable Built Environment". This is the fourth successful sustainability event organized by GORD. It is an initiative of GORD with the objective to provide a platform to practitioners, experts, regulators and researchers to come together to discuss various topics on sustainability and climate change.
Welcoming the esteemed guests in his opening speech, Dr. Yousef Alhorr (Founding Chairman GORD) said:
"I appreciate and extend our gratitude to all the sustainability leaders who have come from across the world and from regional countries as well as the representatives of leading organisations and universities here in Qatar for honouring us with their presence today. GORD is proud to have established this platform for all of us to come together to discuss and learn about the latest innovative solutions related to sustainability and climate change and to collaborate with each other to make a bigger impact in these fields.
I’m also pleased to share this momentous occasion of GSAS 10th Anniversary with you all today as this has been an unforgettable journey for GORD and we look forward to continuing it with your support and cooperation."
The Chief Guest HE Essa Bin Hilal Al Kuwari (President KAHRAMAA) also welcomed the honorable guests and delivered the message of HE Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Sada, (Minister of Energy and Industry) in which he mentioned:
"In the State of Qatar, as an active member of the international community, we take international agreements with full responsibility and deal with them seriously. This is clearly reflected in our focus on the environmental theme within the Qatar National Vision 2030, launched by His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, as well as within the Constitution of the State of Qatar and all the plans and programs of our government. Sustainability has become an integral part of the plans of different sectors in Qatar."
This year’s event was attended by international sustainability stalwarts representing organizations such as KEO Int., OiER, UNFCCC, IETA, Iberdrola, KNPC, Ecofys, Int. Energy Agency (IEA) and Int. Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as local organisations including KAHRAMAA, FIFA Qatar Local Organising Committee, SC, Tarsheed, Arab Union of Electricity, Arab Engineering Bureau, Ministry of Development, Planning & Statistics, Ministry of Municipality & Environment, QNRF, Qatar Airways, Qatar Rail, Dar al Handasah and Marafeq and also academia representatives from Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar University, University of Wolverhampton, and Texas A&M University Qatar.
The Carbon & Climate Change sessions highlighted the climate change challenges in regional and global perspectives as well as discuss long-term solutions to take us forward to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future. The forum offered rich discussions on the technological solutions and policy instruments that the region can adopt to meet its commitment to international community under Paris Agreement of UNFCCC.
In this regard, GORD has established the Gulf Carbon Trust (GCT), the first voluntary program in the Middle East, to encourage organizations and bodies to reduce their carbon footprint and in particular to work with the SC to achieve its vision to organize Carbon Neutral Tournament in 2022, by stimulating local or regional offsetting programs, so that the funds allocated for the purchase of carbon reduction units will be reinvested into the local economy or the economy of friendly countries. The program has received membership of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). GCT will develop performance standards for projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions, then evaluate these projects according to approved standards, and issue carbon credits that will be used later for acquiring carbon finance in accordance with a specific mechanism following global practices.
The Sustainable Built Environment sessions are the regional platform for the sustainable construction and urban development. The summit aimed to drive innovation in the design of built environment, as well as promoting education and collaboration in the field.
The summit served as a platform for exchange between researchers and practitioners of the construction industry to foster the implementation of sustainability standards in the built environment, bringing to the fore the latest research and developments in sustainable building design.
Also at the Summit, GORD showcased QCOOL, a break-through energy-saving air-conditioning system developed by GORD with the support of SC and QNRF (Qatar National Research Fund). This collaborative effort achieved a patent of an innovative system suitable for climatic and environmental conditions of the region. During the tested period, the system has shown up to 50% reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional systems. The system has now reached the stage of technical maturity, which allows the manufacture and commercialization at the market level, and on the first day of Summit, GORD signed an MoU with Qatar Development Bank to develop a feasibility study for manufacturing of QCOOL in Qatar.
Speakers: Renowned experts in various fields of sustainability are going to speak during the two-day Summit. Some of these names are:
Sustainable Development in the Region
Overall, as much as USD 2.87 trillion worth of projects are in the design, bid or construction stage in the GCT up to 2025, according to Zawya Projects data, with USD 1.53 trillion worth of real-estate projects under construction.
The GCT Member States share a strong interest in creating a sustainable built environment to achieve environmental, societal and economic benefits. There is a dire need of the region for green/clean technologies and solutions primarily in areas of energy, utilities and industries to meet the region’s commitment to international community to combat climate change. Moreover, futuristic green mobility solutions characterized by modes of mass transport, clean energy sources and enhanced vehicle efficiency will support transition to green economy.
Sustainability had been the forefront of many ongoing construction projects in Qatar. Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD) has developed the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) to set a sustainability benchmark for the construction industry in Qatar and the region. Most of government and legacy projects are following GSAS norms in design, construction and operations. These include the stadiums for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, Qatar Rail projects, Lusail city, Ashghal civic buildings, New port and Hamad Medical City and economic zones projects.
Also, striving towards Qatar National Vision 2030, and the wider regions desire for reducing its carbon footprint, has led to the development of the Gulf Carbon Trust. This voluntary scheme will work across industry’s to actively mitigate carbon emissions and further educate the wider community on greenhouse gas management.
- To establish a professional platform for experts and practitioners to exchange ideas and share best practices on climate change and sustainable development.
- To provide networking opportunities to professionals and decision makers from the industry and facilitate businesses to expand their reach across new markets.
- To present innovative technologies and success stories and celebrate success of regional players on the sustainability front.