Research Grants
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    Last modified: November 23, 2017 14:36:00.


    Attaining Sustainable Air, Water and Food Security in Qatar

    Long-term goal (7-10 years):
    Establish an Integrated Environmental Sustainability Action Plan as a framework for improving food security, clean air and usable water for Qatar that serves as a model for the establishment of sustainable cities in Qatar in support of the QNV 2030.

    Short-term goals (3-5 years):
    We aim to complete a comprehensive diagnosis of water resources, air quality and food provision and develop an integrated action plan (AP) for the i. optimization of water resources mobilization, allocation and recycling; ii. Management of air pollution, minimizing risks and mitigating impacts; and iii. Development of local food production systems while managing water and land use. This plan will enable more-sustainable urbanization and a healthier living environment.

    OBJECTIVES
    Task 1: Develop an Integrated National Water Resource Management program by interacting with stakeholders to assess available water resources, significantly improving efficiency of water usage and promoting advanced and long-term sustainable recycling and reuse practices with substantial impact on Task 2.
    Task 2: Enhance agriculture production using traditional and unconventional systems to improve food security and create viable production systems at various scales adjusted to the Qatar climate.
    Task 3: Employ integrated strategies for a cleaner and healthier atmospheric environment for Qatar. Major air pollutants and their sources in Qatar will be identified and their spatio-temporal variability will be assessed. Emphasis will be placed on how they impact human health, water and food production systems. Recommendations on new standard levels and ways to mitigate the pollutants will be suggested.
    Task 4: Assess toxicological health risks associated with environmental air, water and food pollutants on humans, animals and plants and recommend mitigation measures.

    The development of the AP will enhance QU's visibility while addressing Qatar's major societal challenges. Developed strategies will constitute the basis for the implementation of economically and socially viable solutions towards sustainability.

    OUTLINE OF WORK-PLAN

    Task 1: Develop an Integrated National Water Resource Management program. This will be achieved through:

      1. Water resource assessment: conduct an appraisal of the water resources and their use in Qatar. We will look at both the quantity and quality of surface- and groundwater and other sources of water (i.e. desalination capacities and produced water from industries).
      2. Efficiency in Water Use: help reduce wasteful water use. Demand management and supply will be proposed to improve efficiency, conservation, recycling and reuse of water to achieve more efficient and cost effective use.
      3. Recycling and reuse: identify and implement state of the art recycling treatment processes from household to industrial levels. Urban and industrial effluents can be treated and returned to aquifers or piped directly for use in agriculture, so long as there is development of technical management, monitoring and regulatory skills.

    Task 2: Enhance agriculture production using unconventional systems through:

    1. Animal feed and crops: fine-tune state of the art and cost effective techniques for the cultivation of algae and halophytes using marginal water and soil. The use of brackish water (treated wastewater + seawater) will be investigated.
    2. Food commodities: optimize urban agriculture and greenhouse cultivation systems for vegetables and fish production in Qatar. Crops will be screened and SOPs (standard operation procedures) for ensuring food sustainability, product safety and quality will be developed. This task will promote research oriented towards alleviating dependency on imported food.

    Task 3: Employ integrated strategies for a cleaner atmospheric environment for Qatar. This will be achieved through:

    1. Inventory and assessment of air pollution emissions including the assessment of local sources such as natural, industrial and traffic sources, as well as the estimation of the contribution of transported pollutants.
    2. Analyze the time and space variation of the air pollution in order to understand its dynamics and the effects of meteorological conditions.
    3. Develop new air quality standards that better fit local conditions and requirements. Make recommendations to the government on regulations needed to meet these standards.

    Task 4: Assess toxicological health risks associated with environmental air, water and food pollutants. We propose to catalog various air, water and food pollutants in Qatar, assessing their toxicological impact on human, animal and plant populations, and developing strategies for minimizing associated health risks.

    DELIVERABLES

    1. Integrated National Water Resource Management program
    2. SOP's for the production of algae, halophyte-based animal feeds and crops, as well as locally-adapted aquaponic systems for food production
    3. Assess and inventory of air pollution sources
    4. Updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards and Mitigation measures that consider the health effects and toxicity of the local air pollution
    5. Toxicological profile and risk assessment of air, water and food borne contaminants.
    6. Review existing national air and water standards and food production SOPs, regulations and policy to determine suitability and flaws
    7. A Strategic Environmental Assessment of Air, Water and Food to be integrated to Qatar National master-plan and vision

    Qatar National Research Fund (NPRP 7th Cycle, 2014): “Legal Innovation to Empower Development:

    Designing and Building An Online “TradeLab” in Qatar”.
    TradeLab wants to empower countries and stakeholders (SMEs, civil society) to reap the full development benefits of global trade and investment rules. It combines academic research with innovations in internet technologies and legal education.  The project’s aim is to enhance legal capacity to successfully negotiate, implement and benefit from WTO and other trade and investment agreements.  The project brings together experts from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Georgetown University, the University of Arizona, Qatar University and FIKRA.

    Cross-border trade and investment are confirmed pathways to economic development.  The legal rules addressing these activities are increasingly complex.  Smaller countries and business or civil society stakeholders have a hard time keeping abreast.  Access to legal expertise to influence the negotiation, implementation and settlement of disputes under trade and investment treaties is at the core of this project. 

    The project has three components.  The first is a research component.  The project will assess current access barriers and attempts so far to alleviate awareness and capacity constraints in trade and investment treaties.

    The second is an ICT (information and communication technologies) component. We will design and build an online platform (www.tradelab.org) to bridge the gap between (i) legal experts and academics in the field, who are spread across the globe and (ii) businesses, government officials and NGOs in Qatar and beyond that are protected by trade and investment treaties but need access to legal expertise. An online Q&A will be set up where anyone can ask a legal help question on trade or investment treaties. Legal experts will give some of their time for free.  Other legal projects may require payment but the platform will broker and crowdsource the best legal team at more affordable rates. It will also facilitate access to trade, investment and arbitration data and offer a public knowledge base for governments and traders.

     

    The third component is an educational component.  The project will set up a “law school clinic” at Qatar University. This “legal clinic” on cross-border trade and investment matters will put law students to work on practical legal projects submitted by real “clients” (which could be government offices, NGOs, businesses or international organizations) and get training by doing. Legal projects will be “harvested” from the Q&A platform on TradeLab, and thereby facilitate the insertion of Qatari law students into the global network of legal experts in this field.

    In Partnership with:

        

    Qatar National Research Fund (NPRP 9th Cycle, 2016) “Legal Education & the Skills Market in Qatar”

    This research, mainly conducted by a diverse array of Qatari and Qatar-based legal educators, aims to investigate three main areas of concern for legal higher education in Qatar; the first is what does the actual legal job market and industry look like in Qatar and are there any skills gaps employers frequently report for law graduates, the second is what are the career expectations of law students in Qatar and are those expectations realistic when compared to the actual job market; and the third is what is the legal job market for young lawyers in Qatar and how does it compare to the number of law students in Qatar and their career expectations.

    After investigating the three main areas of concern, this research aims to provide an interdisciplinary and comprehensive summary of the legal job market in Qatar; identify any weaknesses or gaps in legal education and/or the structure for legal education in Qatar; provide an interdisciplinary and comprehensive summary of all levels of law students career expectations and job market anticipations in Qatar while contrasting them with job market realities and/or contradictions; explore the legal landscape for young legal professionals in Qatar and provide a comprehensive summary of any possible barriers to entry and/or other considerations specific to them; and finally offer suggestions for curricular or structural changes in Qatar’s legal education and the legal field so we may overcome any and all identified problems.

    QU Research Priorities seed funding to establish an Integrated Environmental Sustainability Action Plan - Attaining sustainable air, water and food security in Qatar (2016)                   
    Aim is to establish an Integrated Environmental Sustainability Action Plan as a framework for improving food security, clean air and usable water for Qatar that serves as a model for the establishment of sustainable cities in Qatar in support of the QNV 2030.
    We aim to complete a comprehensive diagnosis of water resources, air quality and food provision and develop an integrated action plan (AP) for the

    1. Optimization of water resources mobilization, allocation and recycling;
    2. Management of air pollution, minimizing risks and mitigating impacts; and iii. Development of local food production systems while managing water and land use. This plan will enable more-sustainable urbanization and a healthier living environment.

    Providing healthy living conditions to Qatar residents through the provision of a safe environment and resources is paramount to achieve the Qatari National Vision for sustainability. Despite measures undertaken under the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016, an AP for assessment and management of water and food resources and air quality is lacking. Furthermore, the increasing burden of wastewater management and challenges associated with appropriate handling of such water are poorly understood and inadequately monitored.

    Realising Qatar National Research Strategy Planning Area 1: Renewable Energy, Environmental Law & Sustainability 

    The research involves develop primary text to fill the academic knowledge gap in a key subject area identified from Planning Area 1 of the Qatar National Research Strategy.  The key subject area covers the fourth pillar of the Qatar National Vision (Environment) and includes topical areas in energy transitions, environment and sustainability relevant to Qatar.  

    The COP18 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in December 2012, hosted in Doha, highlighted the importance placed by the State of Qatar’s policymakers on achieving a global sustainable solution to climate change.  Commonplace events aimed at protecting Qatar’s environment and informing the public about environmental issues demonstrates it to be a priority area for the State in its rapid development and drive for sustainability.  Indeed Qatari law requires governmental bodies to educate the public and businesses on environmental issues, whilst Qatari education authorities have a statutory requirement to provide education on the environment in every curricula at all teaching stages.  Sustainable development and the protection of natural resources are issues mandated by the Constitutional of Qatar, further highlighting its significance.  This is reinforced by environmental and renewable energy research goals being listed as the first objective in QNRS (Qatar’s National Research Strategy), as well being prioritized in the NDS (National Development Strategy 2011-2016) and QNV 2030 (Qatar National Vision 2030).

    Qatar is not alone in the region on this issue, with states across the GCC facing similar environmental issues and developments in their law and policy towards sustainable development and environmental protection. In line with the goals of the GCC region, Qatar has bold plans to diversify its economy, protect the environment and implement a sustainable development policy, expressed through Qatar’s NDS and other dicta.  One of its budgetary aims is to be able to fully finance the budget from non-hydrocarbon revenues by 2020, though the International Monetary Fund has emphasized that more effort needs to be carried out for Qatar to realise this objective.  A fundamental problem in the implementation of both the NDS and QNRS is in the limited academic literature available to researchers developing solutions to achieve the Strategy.  The lack of comprehensive academic sources means researchers do not have a sufficient basis for research and have to begin any studies from a disadvantaged position which hinders their ability to conduct more advanced studies capable of developing solutions.   The academic knowledge base is especially limited in QNRS Planning Area 1 on Energy and Environment, as the literature survey below demonstrates. Knowledge is needed in order to help build an economy supporting Qatar’s solar energy aspirations, which are intended to ensure a sustainable supply of energy exports and energy self-sufficiency into the future, as well to protect Qatar’s natural environment from carbon-orientated degradation.  It is further needed on a range of other specific areas expressed in the NDS, to preserve and protect Qatar’s natural environment.  

    Islamic Finance and Islamic Finance Dispute Resolution

    1. Promotion of scholarly debate on Islamic Finance and Islamic Finance Dispute Resolution throughout the Spanish and Latin American community;
    2. Promotion of Qatar Financial Center and Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre among Spanish and Latin American companies, banks and law firms;
    3. Assessment of efficiency and enforceability of Islamic financing schemes in the Spanish and Latin American legal and business environments;
    4. Researching the historic influence of Islamic Law and Islamic Finance on Spanish Commercial Law.

      



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