An international training workshop on Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem hosted by College of Arts & Sciences benefitted its biological and environmental sciences faculty and students, and experts and researchers from Qatar Foundation, AlWabra Wildlife Preservation, Qatar Museums Authority, Friends of the Environment Society, and from various institutions in Oman, Jordan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Iraq and Kuwait.
The 4-day workshop was organized by the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to shed light on many environmental issues related to Qatar and the region.
It was designed to enhance and promote education, training and research on the conservation and management of ecosystems, and to strengthen the planning, monitoring and conservation evaluation skills of project and program managers at regional level. It also focused on the current knowledge and skills of relevant personnel on wetlands, protected areas, biodiversity conservation, mangrove ecosystems, management, planning, and other related topics.
The event was attended by CAS Dean Dr Eiman Mustafawi and Regional Chair CEM West Asia Region and faculty member in the Department of Zoology University of Karachi Dr Muhammad Zaheer Khan, experts and researchers.
Dr Mustafawi said: “We are honored that this prestigious organization, the largest professional global conservation network and a leading authority on the environment and sustainable development has teamed with the College of Arts and Sciences to organize today’s workshop. Through this joint effort, we aim to strengthen the planning, monitoring and conservation evaluation skills of project and program managers across the region. Likewise, I would like to thank all the participants who have come to Qatar University in order to provide their expertise and help us in successfully carrying out such an important event.
“This workshop is part of our continuing efforts to enhance and promote education, training and research for the conservation and management of ecosystems. This year, the College established the Center for Sustainable Development to address water and food security issues along with issues of environmental management and preservation in Qatar. By working together with the IUCN West Asia Commission on Ecosystem Management, we aspire to better promote the cause of the preservation of environment and biodiversity in Qatar and the wider region”.
She added that CAS is proud to host such events in support of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 that seeks to make Qatar’s future path of development compatible with the requirements of protecting and conserving the environment. “This vision also acknowledges that Qatar is part of one ecological system, the Gulf Region, and our efforts to conserve the environment must include and engage our regional and international partners”, she said.
Dr Khan said: “Biodiversity is our everyday source of food, shelter, jobs, and health and a part solution in climate change. It is a genetic resource necessary for food production, as well as medicines for natural adaptation and building resilience. The leading threats to biodiversity are: converting land to agriculture, clearing forests, climate change, pollution, unsustainable harvesting of natural resources, and the introduction of exotic species”. He noted that according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List, 22% of all known mammals, 30% of amphibians, 12% birds, 28% reptiles, 37% freshwater fish species, 70% plants, and 35% of invertebrates are under threat. “Ecosystem resources are the direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human well-being -- they support directly or indirectly our survival and quality of life, he said”.
He added: “A major area of current research is how important are different aspects of biodiversity in the functioning of ecosystems and the benefits people obtain from them. It is recognized that biodiversity in the broad sense affects the amount, speed and timing of the flows of energy and materials through ecosystems. The most dramatic changes in its functioning are likely to come from altered composition of food webs, such as the loss of predators, and from decline of locally-abundant species rather than the loss of already rare species. The Commission on Ecosystem Management believes that we could prepare young generations as the change agents to take active role in their communities especially through our promotion of designing, assessing and implementing “green life style” and of local wisdom to preserve biodiversity”.