QATAR ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION
Qatar is located on the Qatar Peninsula, surrounded by Saudi Arabia to the South and the Persian Gulf in all other directions. A strait separates the country from the nearby kingdom of Bahrain, a country with which it has a long and somewhat turbulent history (being dominated by Bahrain for many decades in the 16th and 17th centuries). Qatar is a relatively small landmass with approximately the same geographical size as the Falkland Islands. Air, water and land pollution are significant environmental issues in Qatar. Soil has been damaged by pesticides and fertilizers and its agricultural land is in danger of desertification. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), there are many threatened species of animals, including the hawksbill turtle, green sea turtle, spotted eagle, tiger shark, great snipe, and the white oryx.
PRINCIPAL LEGISLATION AND REGULATOR
Environmental responsibility rests with the Ministry of Environment. The principal environmental legislation is the Law of Environment Protection, Law No. 30 of 2002. Article 3 of the Law states: “All Administrative Authorities in the State shall take the necessary measures and precautions to protect the Environment, combat pollution, conserve natural resources and ensure their sustainability to meet the development requirements for the present or future generations.” Article 10 goes on to provide that the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves (Council) may take action to avoid, prevent or mitigate any harm likely to occur to the Environment, including temporarily withholding or cancelling operations or imposing technical or operational restrictions, conditions, measures and criteria on any such activity.
EIA PROCESS AND OTHER PERMITS
The Law of Environment Protection defines a “Project or Establishment” as any utility or onshore or offshore facilities, including any building, structure, installation, project operation or any activity likely to be the source of environmental pollution or degradation as determined by Executive Regulation. The Law goes on to provide that the Council is to establish those Projects and Establishments that require licensing by Executive Regulation. Executive Regulation No. 4 of 2005 provides that all projects involving the exploration and exploitation of rocks, sand and marble fall within those that are liable, by their nature, to cause environmental damage (and therefore require an environmental licence to operate). As well, the refining of aluminum, iron and other metals and minerals also falls into the category of projects requiring an environment licence. (See Appendix 1.)
The licensing authorities are prohibited from issuing the permits for Projects or Establishments before carrying out a study to assess its environmental effects through the completion of an EIA (Art. 7). Prior to the issuance of a project license for its operation, expansion or modification the licensing authority is required to send a copy of the EIA to the general secretariat of the Council (Art. 8). The general secretariat is entitled to seek the assistance of the experts to verify the EIA (Art. 9). The EIA is to consider, among other things:
• the impact of the Project or Establishment on the health of humans, ecological systems, places of beauty or of archaeological, architectural, cultural, historical, scientific, or social significance; • the impact on flora and fauna; • long term impacts on the environment; • pollution and waste that will result from the Project; and • the impact of the Project on present and potential future activities (Art. 16).
Subsequent to the award of a licence, the licence may be revoked if the EIA was based on incorrect data, operating conditions are violated or unexpected environmental effects have arisen from the operation (Art. 20).