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National Voluntary Review Messages of the State of Qatar to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, 2017

Voluntary Review Messages on Sustainable Development in the State of Qatar

Introduction:

The State of Qatar relies on the principle of strategic planning in its economic, social and environmental progress in order to improve the quality of life and well-being of its citizens. Since 2008, Qatar has adopted the Qatar National Vision QNV 2030, which is based on the principles of its permanent constitution and reflects the aspirations and high values of the Qatari people. QNV aims to transform Qatar in 2030 into a developed country capable of achieving sustainable development, and ensuring a continuous decent living for its current and future generations. This vision came to crown the intensive consultations with all categories of Qatari people, reflecting their aspirations and values. QNV 2030 further calls for the establishment of a society of justice and equality, the protection of public and personal freedoms as well as values and traditions, and ensuring security, stability and equal opportunities. The vision is built on four pillars, namely:

First: Human development, which aims to develop the people of Qatar to enable them sustain a prosperous society based on an educational system that complies with international standards, builds on the best educational systems worldwide, provides opportunities for citizens to develop their abilities and equips them with best training to succeed in a changing world where scientific requirements are increasing.

Second: Social development, which aims to develop a just and secure society based on good morals and social welfare, and capable of interacting with other societies and playing an important role in the global partnership for development, as well as enhancing Qatar's role at the regional and international levels. Social development further aims to secure basic needs, ensure equal opportunities for citizens and empower women to play an effective role in all aspects of life, especially their participation in social and political decision-making.

Third: Economic development, which aims to develop a diversified and competitive national economy capable of meeting the needs of its citizens at present and in the future. The sustainability of development progress requires a wise management of depleted resources to ensure that future generations have adequate resources and capabilities to meet their aspirations; creating a balance between reserves, production and effective economic diversification; establishing a skilled highly productive labor force; providing support to develop capacities for entrepreneurship, scientific research and innovation; and transforming Qatar into a regional knowledge hub. Thanks to national efforts, Qatar has made significant progress in developing a political and regulatory environment that supports the business sector. However, there is still a need to enhance competitiveness and attract investment in a mobile international economy that is not constrained by geographical boundaries.

Fourth: Environmental development, which aims to ensure harmony and consistency between economic and social development and environmental protection, stemming from a sense of responsibility. Accordingly, there will be a fine balance and integration between the requirements of social, economic and environmental development. It further aims to deal with global environmental issues such as climate change, global warming and its economic and social impacts.

First: Qatar's Experience in the First National Development Strategy (2011-2016) and the Second National Development Strategy (2017-2022)

The QNV 2030 envisages to bridge between the present and the future, envisions a society of justice and equality and conserves and uses resources wisely with greater transparency and accountability .

In order to achieve this vision, the State of Qatar prepared its first National Development Strategy NDS 2011-2016, and embarked on implementation of the Second National Development Strategy NDS 2017-2022 .

1. First National Development Strategy NDS (2011-2016)

It should be noted here that the National Development Strategy NDS 2011-2016 preceded the issuance of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, adopting many of the Agendaís SDGs and dealing with 14 Sector Strategies.

In terms of human development, the national health strategy has been adopted under the term "caring for healthy people", ensuring health and well-being for all. Primary care has also been adopted as a basis for healthcare, hospital services have increased and an integrated continuous healthcare system has been applied in accordance with international standards. Focus and attention have been given to preventive healthcare and training of a skilled national labor force, in accordance with the enforced health policy. Hence, emergency and pharmacy services have improved and all children have been vaccinated. With regards to education and training strategy, it has emphasized providing access to quality, equitable and inclusive education for all and has increased the enrollment rate in higher education for boys and girls. It aims to further improve the quality of higher education and promote technical education, vocational training, scientific research and innovation.

The first NDS 2011-2016 also promoted an efficient and highly motivated and productive labor force through the implementation of a set of measures to develop human capital, increase labor market efficiency and adopt a wage protection system for private sector workers.

In terms of social development, the first NDS aimed to develop an integrated methodology that takes into account the well-being of the people of Qatar and creates a safe, secure and stable society that establishes cohesive families with moral, religious and humanitarian values and an effective social protection system for all, ensuring sufficient income to lead a healthy dignified life in a secure and stable society under the principles of justice, equality and the rule of law.

The family cohesion and womenís empowerment sector strategy has been adopted. It focuses on the importance of a solid-structured family that cares for its members, maintains human values and ideals and attaches great importance to building women's capacities and empowering them to participate in all areas. The social protection sector strategy has also been adopted. It seeks to build a social protection system that preserves rights, values the contribution of all, provides a fair retirement system and cares for all categories.

All of the above has been based on gender equality, defending issues related to women and improving their level of economic and social empowerment.

The security and public safety sector received a considerable attention. Several programs and projects have been adopted to build an effective and integrated criminal information management system and to develop a secure system for traffic safety, occupational safety and disaster management.

At the economic level, the first NDS 2011-2016 aimed at promoting three parallel and interconnected trends, namely:

  • Expanding the production base, which is a precondition for a sustainable prosperity in a population-growing economy that aims to provide more opportunities for future generations.
  • Ensuring economic stability and enhancing efficiency.
  • Diversifying the economy and encouraging a culture of research and innovation in cooperation with the private sector.

In terms of expanding the production base, many projects were implemented with regards to improving infrastructure and developing industries. The public finance was linked to the national development strategy and the finance sector was developed, with emphasis on steady, comprehensive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. In this regard, the Competition Act and the Program for the Liberalization of Foreign Investment were both enacted, and the small and medium enterprises were promoted. As for sustainable consumption and production patterns as stated in the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, the water and electricity tariff has gradually increased. Fuel subsidies were lifted so as to reflect their actual economic costs of production, and to avoid the lavish consumption pattern, thus controlling consumption and increasing production.

In order to ensure that everyone has access to water, energy and sewage services with sustainable management, the first NDS adopted the goal of promoting water use efficiency and rationalization for the preservation and delivery of clean water for all. An independent and integrated water and electricity regulating agency was established to ensure sustainable water management. Wastewater treatment networks were expanded to increase the use of recycled wastewater. Also, access to modern energy services at affordable and sustainable cost was provided for all. Furthermore, the issue of climate change was given great attention, as well as improving air quality, reducing gas combustion and increasing environmental awareness. Attention was also given to oceans, seas and marine resources, the conservation and enhancement of fish stocks, the protection of terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity, waste reduction and recycling and the construction of corridors for green spaces. The first NDS also encouraged innovation, research development, technology transfer and the creation of appropriate infrastructure in this regard. Thus, Qatar has allocated 2.8% of government spending for research and development.

2. Second National Development Strategy NDS (2017-2022)

The second NDS 2017-2022 is following the same pattern so as to finalize public sector modernization processes, economic infrastructure works and rationalization of the subsidies system. The goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 have been incorporated into the second NDS 2017-2022 in order to follow up on its implementation (see Table 1). This Agenda has thus become harmonized and integrated with the second NDSís priorities which comprise eight main sectors:

  • Education and training; led by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
  • Health care; led by the Ministry of Public Health.
  • Social protection; led by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs.
  • Cultural enrichment and sports excellence; led by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
  • Public security and safety; led by the Ministry of Interior.
  • International cooperation; led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Economic diversification and private sector development, led by the Ministry of Economy and Trade.
  • Environmental sustainability, natural resources and economic infrastructure; led by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the Ministry of Energy and Industry and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The second NDS 2017-2022 also focuses on thematic reports, namely:

  • Institutional development and financial management.
  • Population, labor force and sustainable development.

Second: NDS Management to Achieve QNV 2030

The State of Qatar manages its NDS based on several tools, most notably the follow-up of the strategy performance measurement indicators to infer the progress of the development process. The performance management system has been designed to include the tools necessary to monitor and follow up the progress in the performance of development projects that have been set to achieve the strategic goals through clear, measurable and comparable performance measurement standards. The system will also provide procedures for a periodic measurement of performance and effectiveness of performance of inputs (resources), the efficiency of implementation (procedures) and the extent to which the desired impact is achieved (result measurement).

Third: Qatarís Role in Contribution to Relevant Priorities of Sustainable Development Agenda 2030

Qatar contributes to helping many Arab, African and Asian countries to combat poverty by providing development and relief assistance. It has spent about US$ 2 billion in 2014 as development assistance.

With respect to health care, the State provides various health services that are accessible and affordable for all. In terms of education and training, the state's policies have led to the provision of free education at all levels and increased enrollment in various levels of education. In addition to Qatar University, universities with a global reputation have been attracted to join the Education City of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. They sought to diversify the pathways to continue higher education, developed quality assurance systems for higher education, developed a comprehensive national curriculum framework for public schools that allows the development of more appropriate curricula, taking into account individual differences among students.

As for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, the Qatari Constitution and laws guaranteed the same and provided universal access to free education at all levels and to health services and employment. Unemployment rates in Qatar were among the lowest. Besides, the law gave Qatari women the right to ownership, entrepreneurship and access to leadership positions in all sectors. The projects of the Second National Development Strategy ensured the availability of low-cost sustainable drinking water in accordance with local and international standards. According to 2015 statistics, treated water amounts to about 195 million m3 per year, about 50% of which is used for irrigation of public gardens, animal feed farming , and provision of sanitation services for all. This ensured the reduction of drinking water loss, consumption rates, groundwater depletion and electricity consumption rates, and also encouraged the production of renewable energies.

As for the promotion of economic growth, the performance of the Qatari economy exceeded expectations during the period (2011-2016), due to the great momentum of investment spending and its impact on the economic sectors. Public investment spending grew at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9% during NDS-1 as a result of the implementation of infrastructure, health and education projects. This was accompanied by an expansion in private investment and state-owned enterprises investment, which accounted for 77% of gross fixed capital expenditure. As noted above, although the previous record period of economic expansion ended in 2011 with the completion of the final LNG projects, the growth of the Qatari economy in the remaining period of the strategy (2012-2016 ) exceeded that of the global economy.

The Second NDS considers climate change as one of the most significant challenges the world is facing, especially countries that produce oil and gas and have petrochemical projects and plants like Qatar. Climate change has become a reality in view of Qatarís average annual temperature increase by 0.3 degrees over the past 40 years. The average annual temperature is expected to rise by 1.5 to 3 degrees by 2050 and by 2.3 to 5.9 degrees by 2100, which will cause many negative effects.

With regard to Qatar's foreign policy, the second sustainable development strategy calls for peaceful solutions to conflicts, renunciation of wars, social justice and good governance, combating poverty, promoting transparency, accountability and cooperation, enhancing means for implementing and revitalizing global partnership for sustainable development, and expanding partnership between State institutions, civil society and the private sector. It also calls for activating voluntary social action and community participation, increasing national development efforts that support peace and security at the regional and international levels. It supports international cooperation, increase of Qatar's development and relief initiatives worldwide, activation of international cooperation agreements in the field of culture, sports and youth, promotion the role of culture and sport to activate global partnership and achieve sustainable development, using technology and innovation.

Fourth: Qatar's local and international efforts in the field of statistics

With regard to the efforts exerted by the State in the area of statistics, it responded to the call of the United Nations Statistics Division and joined the Global Project on the Transformative Agenda for Official Statistics, which aims to transform and modernize the national statistical system to collect, process and disseminate unprecedented quantity of traditional and non-traditional statistical indicators classified according to various categories in order to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Development Agenda from the indicators agreed upon by the United Nations Statistical Commission in order to monitor progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. The Ministry also undertook the implementation of the Transformative Agenda for Official Statistics in cooperation with the United Nations Statistics Division and regional and Arab organizations. It was announced on 30 April 2017. The Ministry adopted the strategic directions, objectives and necessary basic procedures that based on the following five drivers:

1. Coordination and partnership between national statistical system stakeholder: This shall be achieved through partnerships with ministries, government agencies, private sector companies, universities, research centers and civil society organizations; through agreement with all parties to the national statistical system in order to ensure the production of qualitative data, in accordance with internationally agreed standards; and through coordination with data users on quality, comprehensiveness and timeliness standards.

2. Communication and advocacy: It aims at developing an enabling institutional and regulatory frameworks for national statistics in compliance with the principles of official statistics, expanding the user community, improving statistical knowledge and enhancing access to data through the use of modern communication techniques; including social media, the development of a communication strategy, adoption of a data dissemination policy, adoption of an integrated data Repository platform on the Internet that uses Business Intelligence tools to access data.

3. Integrated statistical systems for data collection, processing and dissemination: in this regard, the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics has worked to identify gaps in the production of integrated data, support the development and implementation of sound regulatory and administrative guidelines for the statistical system, enhance the professionalism of statistical services by developing specialized organizational units in national statistical agencies that deal with methodology, quality assurance, data collection and dissemination, especially on sustainable development agenda indicators, with a view to monitoring progress in the implementation of National Development Strategy 2017-2022 and the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

4. Innovation and modernization through standard-based statistical business architecture: The Ministry will promote such architecture; consolidate production processes within and across the national statistical system; exchange and gradually reuse innovative tools and techniques; support the development and application of common statistical forms; build and use statistical records in accessing data from multiple sources and linking it to survey data; and build platforms for the dissemination of social, economic and environmental data and their geo-referencing.

5. Capacity building and resource mobilization: The Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics is in the process to complete institutional capacity building, develop a new generation of the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics, review laws governing the statistical process in Qatar, complete technical training, integrate highly-capable human resources and information Technology within the national statistical system, develop courses on change management, and identify innovative tools for collecting, processing and disseminating data to monitor the implementation of the National Development Strategy 2017-2022 and the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

Conclusion:

The State of Qatar has adopted sustainable development as a strategic choice articulated in the four pillars of Qatarís National Vision 2030 and translated into Qatarís National Development Strategy 2011- 2016, launched in March 2011, which represents QNV 2030ís commitment to achieve sustainable development with full responsibility. It aims to lead the state towards a sustainable development path that ensures prosperity, and harmonizes economic, social and environmental results. It also adopts South-South cooperation. Indeed, NDS-1has achieved success on several levels, increasing awareness about the importance of sustainability .

In order to complete the development process, the Second National Development Strategy 2017-2022 was prepared, drawing on the successful lessons of the first national experience, taking into account the success achieved and the challenges emerged. The Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 was integrated into NDS, whereas its 17 objectives and 169 targets were aligned with the 8 sectors of NDS 2017-2022. In the same context, the State has joined the transformation and modernization project in the official statistics system managed by the United Nations Statistics Division in order to build a modern statistical system that meets the needs of national and international users of statistical data required to monitor progress in national development and the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. It also provides the agreed upon (230) indicators within the United Nations Statistical Commission, produces national reports and provides international organizations with indicators needed for the issuance of international reports.
Information
Qatar is part of the 2017 Voluntary National Reviews of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
Documents
Focal point
Dr. Saleh Al Nabit
Minister of Development Planning and Statistics

Mr. Saif Saed Saif Al-Moudad Al-Naimi
Director, HSE Regulation and Enforcement Directorate

Dr. Marwan Hamadah
Technical Consultant to Supreme Council for Environment and Natural Reserves (SCENR)