Posted on February 18, 2017

A large number of government officials, industry professionals, policymakers and academics were engaged in a “Roundtable on Energy and Economic Diversification Policies” on February 15-16.

Organized by Qatar Leadership Centre (QLC) in collaboration with Qatar University (QU), the Ministry of Energy and Industry, and the Baker Institute of Rice University, the event aimed to highlight and provide efficient solutions to the regional energy, economic and environmental challenges. The event’s program focused on four main themes “Energy Subsidy Reform”, “Economic Diversification in Energy Exporting Nations”, “The Energy-Food-Water Nexus”, and “Climate Change”.

In his remarks on behalf of QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham, QU Chief Strategy and Development Officer Dr Darwish Al-Emadi said: “The Baker Institute has a long and distinguished record of engaging with our region through critical analyses of the pressing issues that challenge both policymakers and the public. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that the issues listed on today’s agenda are matters of existential importance. From economic diversification and subsidy reforms to the energy-food-water nexus and climate change, the sustainability of our way of life and indeed our very survival depend on the approach we take and the progress we make in managing our energy resources, and dealing with their social, economic, political, and environmental impacts. Indeed, the single most important lesson from the recent decline in oil prices may have been the need for new ways of thinking and innovative policymaking. Today’s agenda, for example, will be addressing subsidy reforms and other difficult, yet imperative, approaches to dealing with the consequences of declining oil prices in a region where more than 80% of revenue for some countries comes from oil.”

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He added: “Qatar University has enjoyed a wide range of collaboration models with the energy sector, including industry chair positions, sponsorship of students, research funding and collaborations, student internships and training opportunities, and participation in program advisory boards. Together we have worked to provide students with educational and training opportunities that contribute to the energy sector and beyond. At the heart of our strategy is a focus on key attributes that will ensure that our graduates are ready for a fast-changing economic reality. We are re-thinking our programs to focus on producing students who are well-rounded, competent, entrepreneurial citizens prepared to be lifelong learners and who have a keen sense of their ethical and social responsibilities. To that end, our strategic plan is committed to making the academic and administrative investments needed to serve that outcome. At the same time that it serves as the main producer of the labor force, the University is also a think tank for the country and a reservoir of innovative research.”

QU College of Law Oil and Gas Law Assistant Professor and IRL Editor-in-Chief Dr Talal Abdulla Al-Emadi, who is also member of the organizing committee of the event, stressed the importance of energy for economic growth and the betterment of the standards of living. The energy sector faces numerous challenges at the global level, he said, adding, “The challenges facing the GCC region are ultimately linked to those in Asia, Europe, North America and Africa. This requires the setting up of common goals between nations and the implementation of a flexible approach to overcome the global energy challenge. This event provides a platform to discuss the global energy, economic and environmental challenges that are occurring in the region, the development and growth of Qatar’s economy, as well as the country’s role in addressing global energy needs and associated market challenges.”