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Climate research institute to be established in Qatar

The Qatar Foundation is joining forces with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) based in Germany to open the first climate change research centre in the Gulf region.

The foundation announced the opening of the Climate Change Research Institute on 5 December during the UN climate negotiations in Doha.

The institute’s research will focus on climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience for the tropics, sub-tropics and dryland areas. Research fields will include extreme weather events, water systems, ecosystems, food production, public health, and sustainable urban development.

A Global Climate Change Forum was also launched, to offer a platform for countries to work together on innovative climate change strategies.

According to the Qatar Foundation, the forum will supplement the international climate negotiations by “paving the way for an alliance of pioneers to implement new approaches based upon cutting-edge science”.

The forum will host government officials, scientists and other stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations.

“By fostering collaborations and sharing knowledge, we are certain that we can build the capacity and technology required to address the challenges at hand, to adapt and to mitigate environmental risks,” said Faisal Alsuwaidi, president of research and development at the Qatar Foundation.

According to the institute’s director, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, it represents a new direction for a country whose wealth is based on fossil fuels. “Qatar declares to confront the climate challenge and to do so by promoting research and evidence-based decision-making,” he said. “This might be a turning point for a transition towards sustainability.”

The Qatar Foundation and the PIK will nominate a Founding Committee in the next few months to develop a detailed plan for the institute and identify faculty. They will also explore twinning programmes on research and temporary integration of research staff from Qatar at PIK.