A top official of the world’s leading environment education organisation has praised Qatar for its green initiatives and sustainable development practices.
“It is impressive and exciting to see several green initiatives in Qatar. It is a country that has more environmental challenges because of the climate and other circumstances. It is commendable that Qatar has got such a focus and understanding on sustainability,” Lesley Jones, president, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), told Gulf Times.
FEE is the world’s largest environmental education organisation with members in 77 countries. Through its five programmes, FEE empowers people to take meaningful and purposeful action to help create a more sustainable world. Qatar Green building Council (QGBC), part of Qatar Foundation, is a member of FEE.
Jones was in Qatar recently on her maiden visit to take part in series of meetings to discuss many of its programmes with key officials in the country.
“I am also learning about innovation and the use of technology by Qatar to tackle some of the environmental challenges. In a country like Qatar, you may have to work harder as the challenges are greater. So it is very interesting to learn how the country is facing the challenges and how it has recognised the importance of protecting the environment in a social and economic perspective,” said Jones.
FEE is already running two of its programmes in Qatar: the Green Key and the Eco-School
“FEE runs five programmes. We run these programmes through our member organisations in each country and QGBC in Qatar’s case. Our members understand the local and cultural needs of the country. One of such initiatives is Green Key, a sustainability programme for the hospitality sector to accredit the facilities such as hotels, conference centres among others,” added the official There are some set criteria for Green Key accreditation and the institutes have to meet them to get accredited. The accredited facilities have to work continuously to maintain the standards.
“Part of Green Key initiative is to educate visitors to understand about the environment practices. This might include practices such as: why to use particular towels or reduce the use of plastics. So people will be learning more about sustainability and green practices and will take back the learning to their communities,” the official noted.
Green Key is already running in Qatar and six hotels are accredited through the programme. QGBC will work with the facilities for developing further activities.
Eco-Schools is another FEE programme in Qatar with 30 schools brought under the initiative. Now FEE is planning to introduce Eco-Campuses in Qatar, an extension of the Eco-Schools to higher education.
“I had a meeting with deans of the universities here in the Education City and they are very keen to implement it. The vision is to make the Education City a model of sustainability with these programmes,” said the official.
“These two programmes will continue with the schools and universities. They will start helping the schools move through the green process. It is a long journey and you have to work through different stages before being awarded the first green flag. It is a recognition of the work done by following the framework of the programme and introducing several sustainability projects within the schools and the universities.”
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