How the ”Qatar National Vision 2030” will transform Qatar into an advance society? an analysis by Dr. Theodore Theodoropoulos.
Qatar is the first country across the globe which set up a long-term ”NATIONAL VISION” to transform into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable economic, social, human, caltural and environmental development.
What is the ”QATAR NATIONAL VISION”?
Qatar’s National Vision provides the foundation for the formulation of a National Strategy. The Strategy will help the nation to realize the Vision by setting and prioritizing concrete development goals with time-bound targets. It will also articulate the necessary processes, stakeholder roles, and the expected performance standards which are needed to deliver on the Vision. Qatar National Vision 2030 (رؤية قطر الوطنية 2030; abbreviated as QNV 2030) is a development plan launched in October 2008 by the General Secretariat for Development Planning in the State of Qatar. The aim of QNV 2030 is to “transform Qatar into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development” by 2030. The plan’s development goals are divided into four central pillars: economic, social, human and environmental development.The government seeks to meet development goals by developing a strong bureaucratic framework and implementing strategies to address the challenges presented in human development reports.
“Comprehensive development is our main goal in striving for the progress and prosperity of our people.” Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani
The State of Qatar is enjoying a period of unparalleled prosperity, with exceptional economic progress being evident in the increasing standard of living of its people. Major advances in economic, human and social developments continue to occur. Qatar has also progressed politically. Qatar’s Permanent Constitution was ratified in 2004 and came into effect in June 2005. The Constitution defines the roles of the three state powers and the rights and duties of Qatari citizens.
Despite rapid economic and social gains, as well as political change, Qatar has maintained its cultural and traditional values as an Arab and Islamic nation that considers the family to be the main pillar of society. Under the wise leadership of HH the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the country continues to implement important initiatives that will propel Qatar to fully developed nationhood, and strengthen its role in the international community. Qatar is at a crossroads. The country’s abundant wealth creates both previously undreamt of opportunities and formidable challenges. It is now imperative for Qatar to choose the best development path that is compatible with the views of its leadership and the aspirations of its people. The National Vision defines broad future trends and reflects the aspirations, objectives and culture of the Qatari people. By shedding light on the future, the Vision illuminates the fundamental choices that are available to Qatari society. Simultaneously, it inspires Qatari people to develop a set of common goals related to their future.
Qatar’s National Vision defines the long-term outcomes for the country as a whole rather than the processes for reaching these outcomes. It provides a framework within which national strategies and implementation plans can be developed. The National Vision aims at transforming Qatar into an advanced country by 2030, capable of sustaining its own development and providing for a high standard of living for all of its people for generations to come.
Qatar’s National Vision rests on four pillars:
Human Development – development of all its people to enable them to sustain a prosperous society. Social Development – development of a just and caring society based on high moral standards, and capable of playing a significant role in the global partnership for development. Economic Development – development of a competitive and diversified economy capable of meeting the needs of, and securing a high standard of living for, all its people both for the present and for the future. Environmental Development – management of the environment such that there is harmony between economic growth, social development and environmental protection.
Defining Characteristics of Qatar’s Future – Opportunities and Challenges
Qatar’s sound management of its bountiful hydrocarbon resources will continue to secure improvements in standards of living. However, an improved standard of living cannot be the only goal of a society. To remain true to its values, Qatar must balance five major challenges:
– Modernization and preservation of traditions
– The needs of this generation and the needs of future generations
- Managed growth and uncontrolled expansion
- The size and the quality of the expatriate labor force and the selected path of development
- Economic growth, social development and environmental management
Modernization and Preservation of Traditions Preservation of cultural traditions is a major challenge that confronts many societies in a rapidly globalizing and increasingly interconnected world
Qatar’s very rapid economic and population growth have created intense strains between the old and new in almost every aspect of life. Modern work patterns and pressures of competitiveness sometimes clash with traditional relationships based on trust and personal ties, and create strains for family life. Moreover, the greater freedoms and wider choices that accompany economic and social progress pose a challenge to deep-rooted social values highly cherished by society. Yet it is possible to combine modern life with values and culture. Other societies have successfully molded modernization around local culture and traditions. Qatar’s National Vision responds to this challenge and seeks to connect and balance the old and the new.
The Needs of this Generation and the Needs of Coming Generations
Qatar will meet the needs of this generation without compromising the needs of future generations.
Sustainable development is a process that seeks to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This is often called intergenerational Justice. The rights of future generations would be threatened if the depletion of non-renewable resources were not compensated by the creation of new sources of renewable wealth. This could happen in at least three ways. First, the financial returns from hydrocarbon wealth could be used inefficiently, delivering low returns. Second, spending on “trophy” or conspicuous projects could prove costly. And, third, overly aggressive economic development could lead to economic overstress and risk, tipping the environmental scales irreversibly. Qatar’s National Vision will choose the development path that carefully balances the interests of the current generation with the interests of future generations.
Managed Growth and Uncontrolled Expansion
Qatar wants to make up ground quickly, but there are speed limits
Qatar is currently experiencing great expansion in its economic activities. However, this growth could deplete its resources, overstrain its economy and derail it from its targeted objectives. Stresses from economic overheating and imbalances can manifest themselves in rapidly rising prices which, if persisting, will lead to financial vulnerabilities; deterioration in the quality of public services; low and stagnant labor productivity; deterioration in project quality and completion; environmental damage; and widening social cleavages and tensions. For these reasons Qatar must develop at a pace that is consistent with the realistic expectations of sustainable improvements in livelihoods and in the quality of life. It must target growth rates that are compatible with its capacity for real economy expansion.
The Size and the Quality of the Expatriate Labor Force and the Selected Path of Development
Qatar must choose a development path that is compatible with the targeted size and quality of expatriate labor that are determined by Qatar’s leadership and people.
Qatar is currently experiencing high rates of population growth due mainly to massive urban development, large-scale investment projects and rising government expenditure. These factors have led to a large increase in the ratio of expatriates to locals in the labor force, and a particularly sharp and unanticipated rise in the immigration of unskilled workers. The composition of a nation’s population will determine the nature of its society. Qatar must determine a suitable size and quality of its expatriate labor force. It must weigh the consequences of recruiting expatriate workers in terms of their cultural rights, housing and public service needs, as well as the potential negative impact on national identity, against the anticipated economic benefits that accrue from an increase in the numbers of foreign workers in the total labor force.
Economic Growth, Social Development and Environmental Management
Economic development and protection of the environment are two demands neither of which should be sacrificed for the sake of the other.
Development patterns can, and often do, have negative effects on the natural environment. Environmental degradation can be reduced through investment in advanced technologies designed to minimize the damage caused by economic projects. It can also be reduced by avoiding rapid and unplanned growth. Even with Qatar’s best efforts, it is impossible to entirely avoid harming the environment, given a development pattern that depends in its early stages on oil, gas, petrochemicals and heavy industries. Qatar has already committed to enforcing international standards for environmental protection when designing and implementing its industrial projects. The country must also commit to making its future path of development compatible with the requirements of protecting and conserving the environment. Wherever there is an environmental cost to be paid for economic progress, it must be compensated with investments in technologies that help improve the environment.
However, Qatar’s efforts in protecting the environment will not be sufficient. Qatar is a part of the Gulf Region, which forms one ecological system that is affected by the practices and activities of
every country in the region. It will be necessary to engage and to encourage all of the Gulf States to protect and conserve the environment. The next step in Qatar’s National Vision will be to clarify the abovementioned choices.
Guiding Principles of Qatar’s National Vision
Qatar’s National Vision is based on the Guiding Principles of the Permanent Constitution and the directions of Their Highnesses the Emir, the Heir Apparent and Sheikha Mozah, as well as on extensive consultation with government institutions and local and international experts. The National Vision builds on a society that promotes justice, benevolence and equality. The Vision embodies the principles of the Permanent Constitution which: protects public and personal freedoms; promotes moral and religious values and traditions; and, guarantees security, stability and equal opportunities
Achieving the Vision
Qatar’s National Vision provides the foundation for the formulationof a National Strategy. The Strategy will help the nation to realize the Vision by setting and prioritizing concrete development goals with time-bound targets. It will also articulate the necessary processes, stakeholder roles, and the expected performance standards which are needed to deliver on the Vision. As a next step, the General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP), with the guidance of Qatar’s Higher Authorities, will coordinate the formulation of this National Strategy, in consultation and in full partnership with all stakeholders, especially civil society, the private sector, ministries and government agencies. As part of this process, GSDP will initiate and encourage broad stakeholder engagement so as to ensure wide understanding of, and commitment to, the Vision. The National Strategy will provide a medium-term framework for fully coordinated, articulated and aligned sectoral and enterprise strategies. These will contain plans, programmes and projects conceived and designed to help the country realize the National Vision.
Achievement of the Vision is a national responsibility. All sections of Qatari society and all sectors have an important role to play. This will require signification institution and organizational capacity building; efficient and transparent delivery of public services; fruitful publicprivate cooperation and partnerships; the creation of a vibrant climate for business; and a larger space for civil society.
Sources: Dr. Theodore Theodoropoulos ”Qatar Energy and Economic Report” ed. Sept. 2016, Dr. Theodore Theodoropoulos ”The Secret World of Energy” ed. 2011, General Secretariat for Development Planning, Qatar Ministry of Economy and Finance, GT, CAYE Global Investments, Qatar Foundation, QIA, QH.