COP18/CMP8 President debate highlights The Hima system

The fifth day of COP18/CMP8 saw engagement from the host country’s top leaders with observer organisations and members of the press, while delegates prepared for a weekend full of events.

As part of Qatar’s commitment to hosting an open, transparent, and inclusive process, the President of the conference, Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, along with other top figures from the host country, spoke with representatives from observer organisations for one and a half hours on Friday.

Apart from meeting the observer organisations, the Qatari hosts made important announcements about their own sustainability projects.

We believe that we must do it, not only to show the world what we are doing but because we are living in this country and we have to protect this environment and ensure all of our projects are done in the right way,” Mr. Al-Attiyah said of Qatar’s sustainable projects.

Meanwhile, Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, the Chairman of the COP18/CMP8 Organising Sub-Committee, said that there would be positive news to announce about Qatar’s NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action) next week.

Qatar’s engagement of civil society groups has seen significant results in terms of getting Arab observer organisations to participate in the Conference in numbers never before seen. As part of facilitating Arab engagement on climate issues, COP18/CMP8 has hosted a series of daily Hikma Hours, or Arab wisdom hours focusing on how climate change affects the region, as well as highlighting regional responses to the challenge.

Friday’s Hikma sessions featured a panel discussion about traditional land protection practices. The Hima system is a community-based conservation practice that goes back 1400 years in Arab countries. The Arabic word Hima means ‘protected’ and refers to a concept of protecting the land from grazing and tree-cutting. It is a system that preserves particular areas for later grazing by leaving grass and trees untouched except under severe conditions such as drought.

But it isn’t all work and policy at COP18/CMP8. After a tiring week at the conference, many at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) were already looking forward the weekend. Those looking to enjoy a day of family fun have been going to the Qatar Sustainability Expo at the Doha Exhibition Centre, where there are numerous attractions. From art performances to creepy crawlies, a camel made of toys to a kid’s zone, the exhibition centre, open daily from 11am to 9pm offers plenty to the visiting family.

 “I knew that COP18 was in Doha and that there was an exhibition here so we just grabbed the opportunity to come along. It is interesting to see all of the different initiatives which are taking place,” said Richard Boll, who had come along for a day out with his wife Lucia Boll-Fausto and children Sofia, six and Simon, four.

This weekend in Doha is packed with events. The important Forest Day event will be taking place all day on Sunday at the Renaissance Hotel Doha City Centre. Forest day is an annual conference that informs participants in the UN climate change talks of the most up-to-date findings from research on the relationships between forest and climate change. The event also works to provide participants from policy and practitioner communities with an opportunity to share experiences, and to ensure that forests remain high on the agenda of global and national climate strategies.

This weekend will also see the continuation of the important environmental films showings at the Doha Film Institute and COP18/CMP8’s Green Screen. Stop in Saturday night for an after-film Q&A session with the director of the Oscar Nominated documentary, Winged Migration, Jacques Perrin.



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