09 Aug

Fatima Al Khulaifi DohaFood and water scarcity, extreme heat, health hazards and economic losses are among the many threats that have pushed climate change to the forefront of global challenges in recent years. However, the world still struggles to meet its ambitious plans to mitigate the negative impact that industrialisation and a growing world population have on natural ecosystems. Even worse, global plans to protect the environment risk being derailed as countries around the world struggle to cope with energy shortages and disruptions in supply chains.Today, we celebrate World Nature Conservation Day, an annual event held every July 28 to remind the world of the importance of preserving natural resources and the environment to maintain a stable and healthy society. The occasion, and the message it embodies, carries further significance this year amid the increasing challenges the world is facing; a message that deeply resonates with the Quranic Botanic Garden’s (QBG) mission to limit desertification and to restore Qatar’s ecological balance through an integrated programme for plant conservation.The programme features both the preservation of plants and animals inside and outside their natural habitat in a bid to restore biodiversity to Qatar’s natural habitats and advance global efforts to combat climate change in line with Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.QBG’s commitment to protecting the environment starts with the collection and preservation of seeds from threatened wild plants at our specialised bank. Plants are then cared for throughout the different stages of their cultivation at our nursery, where plant growth is monitored and diseases are treated. QBG is also responsible for collecting medicinal plant parts, documenting botanical terms and educating the public about plant life and their various physiological processes.The role of the QBG’s herbarium unit and seed bank also extends beyond collecting plants mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and noble hadith to include endangered and medicinal plants in Qatar in line with its vision of enhancing its responsibility towards the environment.QBG also cooperates with local governmental and non-governmental environmental organisations to preserve seedlings and raise environmental awareness, in addition to pursuing regional and international partnerships with botanic gardens to collect samples and exchange knowledge and expertise.QBG has also launched its Ghars Campaign, which contributes to raising awareness of the importance of planting trees in cities and across Qatar. QBG is also pursuing Al-Rawdah Revival Programme in Qatar, which aims to replant wild trees in their natural habitats. This is in addition to 4,000 trees that have been cultivated in Qatar in cooperation with the Protection and Wildlife Department of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.The initiative falls in line with our main objective of strengthening ties with the local community and raising environmental awareness, which will eventually reflect positively on our nation’s health and prosperity as envisioned in the environmental and development pillar of our National Vision 2030.On the occasion of World Nature Conservation Day, I urge you to contribute to our efforts to protect the earth’s ecological balance by instilling environmental awareness among youth to ensure our species’ survival and happiness.Failing to do so will upset the natural balance and undermine the world’s collective efforts to promote a healthy environment that empowers future generations to develop, innovate, and succeed.(Fatima Al Khulaifi is the director of the Qur’anic Botanic Garden.)

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