Qatar – Development

Development

If development was measured only by money, Qatar would be the most developed, with a GDP/capita of US$106,000. 14% of citizens are millionaires; the government has so little need for money that there is a 0% tax rate. Qatar is a member of OPEC, and bases the economy almost entirely on oil. The Emir says he prioritises his citizen’s wellbeing, including in advanced health care and education and expanding infrastructure for the 2022 world cup.

Qatar has the highest life expectancy in the Middle East (82 years for men and 78 years for women)- no-one lives below the poverty line.

Qatar is a developing site for tourists, due to being so under-explored. It has gained a reputation for a luxurious destination with a feeling of authenticity. The capital has a large range of cultural attractions, and natural wonders.

Issues Holding Back Development

  • No political freedom, with no political parties
  • No war of asserting civil rights
  • Trade unions are not allowed
  • No transparency in governance
  • Sharia Law still implimented
  • Qatar is not a member of the ICJ
  • Significant gender inequality
  • Ranks 86th in the world for literacy
  • The population is only 330,000, so a small gene pool has lead to high occurence of genetic diseases
  • Wealth is leading to the highest growth of obesity and diabetes in the world
  • Qatar has the highest CO2 emissions per capita in the world.
  • They are the highest consumers of water/person/day – 400 liters
  • Petrol is cheaper than water
  • The ITUC rates Qatar as one of the worst places worldwide for workers. Migrants make up 54% of the workforce- 545,000 from India and 341,000 from Nepal. Sub-contractors recruit these workers and there are many reports of slave-like conditions. (In 2014, DLA Piper published 60 recommendations to improve conditions for workers and Qatar has promised to implement them, however, there is little evidence of anything having been done about this).

2022 Football World Cup Controversy

There is a lot of talk of getting the world cup away from Qatar, due to the stepping down of the president of FIFA – Sepp Blatter- and concerns about both the climate and the lack of football culture.

The Qataris say that their being chosen is proof that there’s nothing wrong and hint at a fall out if they were replaced. In total, the emirates host 1.5 million migrants who are working to produce the stadiums- those same workers who are almost in slavery.

The kafala system gets payments from various Southern Asian countries which give them permission to send workers to Qatar. Many of these migrants owe money to recruitment agents; desperate for money they are forced to work long hours in unsafe conditions. Employers withhold wages, confiscate passports or cram workers into horrendous quality accommodation.

The minister of labour and social affairs- Abdullah bun Saleh al-Khulaifi is confident that the system wil be replaced with a fairer system based on 5 year contracts, and giving them more freedom.

Qatar has improved their housing. Qatar is building 7 new cities to house 258,000 migrant workers. The largest- Labour City- would have universal air conditioning and a 24,000 seat cricket stadium. Housing inspectors are increasing, but so is the migrant worker population; which is expected to hit 2.5 million by 2020.

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Oman Water Supplies

The Domestic water supply is one of Oman’s most pressing environmental issues.

Causes

  • Oman has a limited supply of rainfall each year

Mean rainfall in coastal areas can be as low as 40mm annually. In mountain areas, this can reach up to 350mm. The total average annual rainfall is 62mm.

  • Enough of a water supply has to be maintained for agriculture and domestic use. 94% of Oman’s water is used in agriculture, and 2% in industry.
  • Rapid population growth in the North of Oman

Impacts

  • Overuse of water resources has lead to the soil near coastal regions becoming increasingly saturated with salt water, and increasingly saline.

Responses

Unconventional water sources make up 13% of the water supply of Oman, which means desalination techniques from salt water and reuse of waste water. Much of the waste water is used in irrigation and agriculture.

  • Water is collected from fossil water sources; largely underwater springs in the desert.

At the moment, desert springs are largely used as an extra reserve supply in times of peak demand. Oman is making huge efforts to reduce its dependency on this supply of water.

The aquifers were originally produced during a period of time where Oman had a far wetter climate, and it is unlikely that they can naturally replenish in a warming planet, where less rain will fall in Oman.

  • Piped water is available throughout the country.
  • Effluent water is reused, once purified, to be used on crops.

In 2006, 37 million m^3 of water was reused from waste water.

  • Dams have been built to store water

Since 1985, 31 dams have been built throughout Oman to control water flow and retain some of the peak discharge which would otherwise be lost and cause damage downstream. In 2006, maximum capacity was 88.4 million m^3 of water.

  • The government in Oman has realised the detrimental effects of over using ground water; Oman has now started using a desalination technique on sea water, which has become Oman’s main source of drinking water

The Public Authority for Electricity and Water takes salt water from four separate sites, in Ghubra, Barka, Sohar, and Sur. Barka, Ghubra and Sohar all supply the more densely populated North on the Main Integrated System while Sur supplies the Ash Sharqiyah region (I couldn’t find Ghubra on a map; searching for it brings up a district within the capital, Muscat, a few blocks from the sea, o there is a reasonable chance that is correct. If it is, then Ghubra is still labelled within Muscat).

oman-water-sources-in-the-north

The Ghubra plant was built first. Barka has three smaller plants within it; two are reverse osmosis systems while the other is a thermal desalination plant.

To cope with the growing population, Oman is investing in two further water purification plants in Qurayyat and at the border between two districts; north and south Al Batinah. Work is also underway on pipelines to transport surface water to Muscat.

In 2006, the desalination plants were able to desalinate 109 million m^3 of water each year.