Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development: An Appraisal from the Gulf Region

Edited by Paul Sillitoe
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 572
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  • Book Info
    Sustainable Development
    Book Description:

    With growing evidence of unsustainable use of the world's resources, such as hydrocarbon reserves, and related environmental pollution, as in alarming climate change predictions, sustainable development is arguablytheprominent issue of the 21st century. This volume gives a wide ranging introduction focusing on the arid Gulf region, where the challenges of sustainable development are starkly evident. The Gulf relies on non-renewable oil and gas exports to supply the world's insatiable CO2 emitting energy demands, and has built unsustainable conurbations with water supplies dependent on energy hungry desalination plants and deep aquifers pumped beyond natural replenishment rates.Sustainable Developmenthas an interdisciplinary focus, bringing together university faculty and government personnel from the Gulf, Europe, and North America -- including social and natural scientists, environmentalists and economists, architects and planners -- to discuss topics such as sustainable natural resource use and urbanization, industrial and technological development, economy and politics, history and geography.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-372-7
    Subjects: Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-xiii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
    Sheikha Al-Misnad

    It is my privilege to introduce this timely book which challenges us all, in the academic realm and beyond, with the question: how can sustainable development be achieved by a country – and indeed a region – so heavily reliant on hydrocarbon resources and on an accelerated trajectory of economic and urban development? This question has occupied policymakers in Qatar for several years now, and the State of Qatar has made great strides in positioning sustainable development as a cornerstone of its future outlook in both theQatar National Vision 2030and theNational Development Strategy 2011–2016.

    The book...

  5. Introduction. Sustainable Development in the Gulf
    (pp. 1-37)
    Paul Sillitoe

    Sustainable development has emerged as a prominent issue in the twenty-first century. Indeed, it is arguably going to betheissue with growing evidence of unsustainable use of the worldʹs resources, such as its fossil fuel reserves, and related environmental pollution, for instance alarmingly evident in climate-change predictions (Adams 2001; Baker 2006; Robertson 2014). The column inches, research resources and teaching time devoted to sustainable development and associated topics the world over since the late 1980s are colossal. They contrast with the position in the Gulf and Middle East region where, until recently, regardless of environmental concerns plain to see...

  6. Chapter 1 Societal Change and Sustainability within the Central Plateau of Iran: An Archaeological Viewpoint
    (pp. 38-62)
    Mark Manuel, Robin Coningham, Gavin Gillmore and Hassan Fazeli

    Archaeologists and ancient historians have traditionally explained examples of societal collapse and cultural discontinuity, and engaged in more general discussions of the long-term viability of communities, with reference to external factors, be they invasions, migrations or natural disasters, rather than through attempts to identify continuity in populations, ideologies and technologies.

    Perhaps the most famous example of a collapsed past civilization is that of the Roman Empire, whose demise was traditionally attributed to invasions of Visigoths, Vandals and Huns following a general decline in civic and military standards (Gibbon 1841). Subject to a heavy degree of romanticization by Victorian scholars, in...

  7. Part I. Planning Sustainable Development
    • Chapter 2 Qatar National Vision 2030: Advancing Sustainable Development
      (pp. 65-81)
      Trudy Tan, Aziza Al-Khalaqi and Najla Al-Khulaifi

      Qatar seeks to build a vibrant and prosperous country in which there is economic and social justice for all, and in which humans and nature are in harmony (GSDP 2008). Its long-term development outcomes, as articulated in the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030), are built on the principles of sustainable development, at the heart of which is the need to ensure intergenerational fairness.

      Qatar has been enjoying a period of unparalleled prosperity, with exceptional economic progress evident in the increasing standard of living of its people. Foreign exchange revenues from the export of its hydrocarbon resources have provided the...

    • Chapter 3 The Qatar National Master Plan
      (pp. 82-96)
      Khondker Rahman

      Qatar has experienced unprecedented development and economic growth in recent years, fuelled largely by exploitation of the countryʹs vast reserves of hydrocarbon, mainly natural gas. Whilst this has placed Qatar at the top of GDP rankings, the growth has put significant stress on the natural and built environment. The increased economic activity has also led to a large rise in the expatriate population, both skilled and unskilled workers, with the population doubling in the last seven years, increasing demand for housing and accommodation. Qatarʹs winning bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and also its ambition to submit bids...

    • Chapter 4 The State of Qatar: Along the Way to Sustainable Development
      (pp. 97-115)
      Bahaa Darwish

      The launch of theQatar National Vision Report 2030(hereafter the QNV 2030) by the Qatari General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP) in October 2008 was a response to an increasing awareness of the necessity for a comprehensive view of the future development of the State of Qatar in all its dimensions. The QNV 2030 defines the long-term development outcomes for Qatar and provides a framework within which national strategies and implementation plans can be prepared (GSDP 2008: 2). In support of QNV 2030, the second National Human Development Report,Advancing Sustainable Development(hereafter the ASD Report), was issued in...

    • Chapter 5 Charting the Emergence of Environmental Legislation in Qatar: A Step in the Right Direction or Too Little Too Late?
      (pp. 116-132)
      Wesam Al Othman and Sarah F. Clarke

      Environmental concerns have featured in the legislative process in many parts of the world stretching back as far as the seventeenth century,¹ when fears about public health and sanitation began to emerge, or earlier if practices in Roman times such as the introduction of public baths, sewage systems and fresh-water aqueducts are interpreted as responses to environmental issues. While our impact on the environment started to exceed other animalsʹ impacts many millennia ago when humans first used fire for cooking and heating, it was not until the industrial revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that pollution became a widespread...

  8. Part II. Energy and Economic Issues
    • Chapter 6 Sustainable Energy: What Futures for Qatar?
      (pp. 135-152)
      Thomas Henfrey

      The transformation of energy is perhaps the distinctive feature of life. Continuous throughputs of energy, the vast majority originally coming from the sun and fixed by photosynthetic plants and microorganisms, allow living systems to maintain themselves in states of dynamic complexity that resist the general trend of matter towards entropy, or disorder. Human societies are no exception: ecological anthropology models them as systems for the management of flows of energy, along with matter and information, mediated by culture (Rappaport 1979; Ellen 1982; Stepp et al. 2003). While to reduce historical trends to changes in patterns of energy relations alone is...

    • Chapter 7 Money Rain: The Resource Curse in Two Oil and Gas Economies
      (pp. 153-177)
      Emma Gilberthorpe, Sarah F. Clarke and Paul Sillitoe

      Concern for the relationship between mineral extraction and economic development has grown since evidence emerged in the 1980s and 1990s to suggest that resource endowment was not as favourable as previously thought (Auty 1993; Sachs and Warner 1999; Gylfason 2001). Evidence of a ʹresource curseʹ challenged existing predictions that mineral¹ wealth would stimulate growth; such predictions were based on the success of the primary industry model² applied by conventional economic analysts in the US, Canada and Australia (Rostow 1960; Gelb 1988: 33; Ross 1999: 301). Unfortunately, predictions failed to consider either the ʹcontainedʹ process of extraction or the consequences of...

    • Chapter 8 Islam and Sustainable Economic Development
      (pp. 178-194)
      Rodney Wilson

      There has been more concern with meeting immediate needs in the Islamic World than with longer-term issues of sustainability, as much of the region remains poor. Debate and writing on environmental issues in this region has therefore largely lagged behind elsewhere. It is worth noting that the 1.2 billion Muslims account for only 10 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, while the United States, with less than a quarter of that population, is responsible for 20 per cent.

      Following the Kyoto and Copenhagen conferences on climate change, Muslim academics and activists are nevertheless giving increased attention to environmental issues, not...

  9. Part III. Environmental Issues
    • Chapter 9 Linking Local and Global in the Sustainable Development of Biodiversity Conservation
      (pp. 197-220)
      Ben Campbell

      When sustainable development became a principal policy paradigm at the end of the 1980s, it thrust together human development needs and environmental protection in a marriage of interests that were previously imagined to be mutually incompatible. The 1992 Rio Earth Summitʹs vision of Agenda 21 forefronted the planetʹs diverse set of biomes as needing care, both to prevent climate change and species loss, and to achieve improved livelihoods and social justice. Anthropologistsʹ and other social scientistsʹ contributions to the formation and subsequent life-career of sustainable development have been especially significant in bringing field experiences and case studies to bear on...

    • Chapter 10 Conservation and Sustainable Development: The Qatari and Gulf Region Experience
      (pp. 221-269)
      Paul Sillitoe and Ali Alshawi

      One response to humanityʹs unsustainable use of natural resources and consequent degradation, even destruction of the environment, is to establish conservation areas, to protect nature and preserve biodiversity at least in limited selected regions. The consequences of human activities are particularly graphic in marginal and harsh environments such as the deserts of the Middle East, where some regions, which appear denuded of plant and animal life, can look to the outsider like barren moonscapes. It is widely agreed that such conservation measures are necessary for a range of reasons: to ensure on-going healthy functioning environments; to protect unique habitats and...

    • Chapter 11 Promoting Sustainable Development in Marine Regions
      (pp. 270-290)
      James Howard

      Coastal nations are often, economically, highly dependent on the rich diversity of marine life found in their waters. Their economic development is reliant on continued or expanding income from such marine resources. Such important economic assets need safeguarding from the threats of overexploitation. To a large extent, most countries seek to protect their national waters for their own use; however, these are complex systems and simple protection for economic gain does not equate to sustainable resource use. The concern with marine ecosystems is their ʹinvisibleʹ nature; it was popularly believed until recently that they are inexhaustible and the threat of...

    • Chapter 12 Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainability: Friends or Enemies?
      (pp. 291-310)
      Nobuyuki Yamaguchi

      During the twentieth century, environmental concerns have become politically, economically and socially important across the world, and this trend continues, or is even accelerating, during the first decades of the twenty-first century (Macdonald and Service 2006; Sodhi and Ehrlich 2010). Two key concepts appear regularly in discussions about environmental issues, namely biodiversity conservation and sustainability. The United Nations declaration of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity highlighted the importance of these two concepts, as did the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20) in 2012 (to mark the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and...

  10. Part IV. Urban and Health Issues
    • Chapter 13 From Pearling to Skyscrapers: The Predicament of Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism in Contemporary Gulf Cities
      (pp. 313-342)
      Ali A. Alraouf and Sarah F. Clarke

      In the last decade, and at a remarkable pace, Gulf cities have witnessed unprecedented growth, setting new standards for rates of urbanization and attracting large numbers of immigrants from all over the globe. Lucrative oil revenues have motivated Gulf cities to aim for ʹworld class statusʹ and, in aspiring to this goal, they have competed to have the highest, the biggest and the longest developments, seemingly the more glitzy and extravagant the better. What are the consequences for the future of Gulf cities? Will the relative absence of sustainable concepts in their strategic development result in negative outcomes? Is the...

    • Chapter 14 How the City Grows: Urban Growth and Challenges to Sustainable Development in Doha, Qatar
      (pp. 343-366)
      Andrew M. Gardner

      In the short historical trajectory of sustainable development, attention to the idea of urban sustainability has been a particularly late addition. Cities, as industrial nodes and as spaces of dense human habitation, have long been portrayed as antithetical to sustainability. This longstanding rural bias has a sensible legacy, for among their many qualities, cities are locations where the detritus of our human existence congeals and, perhaps more to the point, where the scale of that detritus becomes most visible. And although sustainable development is a relatively new paradigmatic force, the notion that cities are somehow inappropriate or problematic venues for...

    • Chapter 15 Sustainable Waste Management in Qatar: Charting the Emergence of an Integrated Approach to Solid Waste Management
      (pp. 367-390)
      Sarah F. Clarke and Salah Almannai

      Looking towards downtown Doha your gaze alights immediately on the gleaming tower blocks of the business district soaring beside the sea, shimmering brightly in the desert heat. Bringing your gaze closer to your immediate surroundings, the contrast is stark, for the dominant feature is typically rubble, heaps of it, intermingled with all manner of the detritus of daily life – plastic bags, empty food cartons, disused paper and shards of metal. You name an item of rubbish and itʹs there, everywhere in fact, an inevitable consequence of rapid development. And, for development, read construction. Villas appear seemingly within weeks, with...

    • Chapter 16 Sustainable Development and Health: From Global to Local Agenda
      (pp. 391-416)
      Mylène Riva, Catherine Panter-Brick and Mark Eggerman

      Sustainable development of a region and the health of its people are intrinsically linked. This is emphasized in the first principle of the 1992 Rio Declaration: ʹHuman beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with natureʹ (United Nations 1992). It is argued that sustainable development cannot be achieved without a healthy population, and that the health of a population cannot be maintained without healthy environments (von Schirnding 2002a), such that ʹhealthʹ is both an indicator of and a resource for sustainable development. In this chapter, we...

  11. Part V. Cultural and Social Issues
    • Chapter 17 Exploring Collaborative Research Methodologies in the Pursuit of Sustainable Futures
      (pp. 419-435)
      Gina Porter

      This chapter focuses on the role of collaboration in the pursuit of more sustainable futures. It builds on and reinforces the argument presented by James Howard in chapter 11 on marine resources, where it is concluded that a broader, interdisciplinary understanding is required of the complex interactions between the many players and sectors involved in sustainable development. It starts by reflecting on the value of collaborative endeavour for researching sustainability and emphasizes the particular value of interdisciplinary approaches. This type of research requires partnerships and collaboration between many stakeholders, including alliances beyond research institutions (with formal and informal institutions found...

    • Chapter 18 On the Importance of Culture in Sustainable Development
      (pp. 436-459)
      Serena Heckler

      A criticism levelled at development is that it may be detrimental to non-Western cultures, with some arguing that it represents an imposition of Western values on people who may have radically different views and perspectives. When combined with the failure of many development interventions, the issue of how development may address cultural, as well as economic and technical, sustainability has come to the forefront of international development policy and practice.

      This chapter considers different ways that culture has been incorporated into development including: the importance of culture for well-being; the need to sustain socio-cultural identity and diversity; the participation of...

    • Chapter 19 People, Social Groups, Cultural Practices: From Venn Diagrams to Alternative Paradigms for Sustainable Development
      (pp. 460-480)
      Fadwa El Guindi

      I leave sustainability workshops (government or industry-sponsored) held in Qatar¹ with a feeling of déjà vu, wondering about accomplishments since previous workshops, and sceptical about measurable implementation for the future. Usually these workshops consist of colourful, attractive PowerPoint presentations of flow charts and Venn diagrams,² in addition to printed reports and declarations, using broad abstract constructs, familiar from other international publications on sustainability. To me these abstract notions of economy, environment, development and even sustainability obscure and marginalize real lives and interacting social groups. Frozen abstract vocabulary and broad international categories fail to reveal the realities of life and the...

    • Chapter 20 Contradictory Forces in the Gulf Environment: Old and New Cultural Values and Knowledge
      (pp. 481-496)
      Kaltham Al-Ghanim

      Environmental change and resource conservation have become national and international concerns with attention increasingly focused on habitat degradation and destruction threatening the planetʹs biodiversity (Grenyer 2006: 93–96). Furthermore, economic growth threatens exhaustion of some natural resources, adversely affecting the opportunities of future generations. This is especially so in newly industrializing countries where the value system undergoes a sharp change resulting in, among other things, different expectations about the use of resources; this may even occur where industrialization is longstanding, as happened in central and eastern European countries with the change from a socialist to a market economy (Lütteken 1998:...

  12. Conclusion. A Doha Undeclaration, Puzzling over Sustainable Development with Indigenous Knowledge
    (pp. 497-530)
    Paul Sillitoe

    It is ironic that while the activities of ʹoverdevelopedʹ industrial nations are largely responsible for the current environmental crisis, much development amounts to the export of these very activities elsewhere, with many agencies promoting them globally in seeking to advance economic growth. There is a contradiction here, emblematic of why, as many of the previous chapters point out, we have problems with sustainable development, which I take up in this concluding chapter. To foreshadow my argument, it appears that talk of sustainability in development contexts implies undoing much of the change previously imposed on people to civilize and later develop...

  13. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 531-540)
  14. Index
    (pp. 541-556)