January Talk: Marine Environment Advisor to Ministry of Environment and Climate Change
Date & Time: Wednesday, January 11th, 2023 at 7pm
Speakers: Dr. John MK Wong
Venue: Doha English Speaking School, DESS location
Synopsis of the talk:
Qatar, the only peninsula in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, is blessed with rich and diverse marine resources covering both coastal shallow and offshore deep waters. There are important ecological systems such as mangroves, corals, salt marshes and seagrass beds providing habitats and feeding ground for shore birds, fish and invertebrates. Offshore, there are migratory species including dugongs, dolphins and whales among others.
The traditional economy has been fishing for food, extracting purple dyes from mud snails and pearl from oyster for export trading. But discovery of oil and gas has had a huge impact on traditional lifestyle and local economy as well as on the marine environment. Coastal development reclamation for urbanization and infrastructure and oil facilities expand rapidly at the expense of coastal and offshore environment. These cause a decline in coastal habitats important for wildlife, and lead to a decrease in their populations.
The local government has taken measures to protect the environment from threats posed by development, by introducing the QNV2030 and NBSAP as guidelines to keep a sustainable balance between development and environmental protection. MoECC is the recent government restructure to set up specific teams of scientific offices and management staff to implement such strategies and attempt to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals conserving natural resources through legal or other effective means.
Marine and Environmental conservation requires the support of every sector of the community. Public and private sector, academic and government participation is key to successfully protect the environment and natural resources for present and future generations.
Professor John MK Wong graduated Pharmacy and Oceanography Scotland. He was one of the Founders and Chairman of the Hong Kong Marine Conservation Society. He carried out research on marine mammals and the marine environment of the Indo-Pacific region, especially on Cetaceans and migratory species whale sharks and marine conservation.