Localizing Water-Energy-Food Nexus Innovation in Qatar

The College of Law at Hamad Bin Khalifa University Doha Qatar
Sunday 15 December (09:00) - Monday 16 December 2019 (16:30)

To find out more about this seminar please email ias@contacts.bham.ac.uk

WEF Nexus Image

WORKSHOP LEADERS - Dr Walters Nsoh, Birmingham Law School and Dr Damilola S. Olawuyi, IAS Vanguard Fellow, University of Birmingham, Associate Professor, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar

This workshop will build on the outcomes of an IAS workshop from December 2018, by engaging with the question of how WEF Nexus innovation can be localized, absorbed, and promoted in Qatar. It will provide a platform for sharing and exchanging information on the state of WEF Nexus Innovation in Qatar and the UK.

The water, energy and food (WEF) nexus topic investigates technological, legal and institutional innovations for addressing key threats to water, energy and food security. Without water, we cannot produce food and energy; and without energy, we cannot process or distribute food and water. Disruption of one resource could therefore result in disruption of the other two.  For example, a collapse of energy systems due to climate change, could result in the disruption of food preservation and supply. Similarly, water shortage could hinder food production and energy production, especially the functionality of hydropower stations. 

Given their interdependencies, recent studies, including the World Economic Reports of 2011 and 2014, have underlined the need to develop integrated policy responses that address common threats to the availability, accessibility and affordability of WEF. The UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) defines the nexus as ‘a way of thinking about the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between food, water and energy security, in the wider context of environmental change with a focus on the impact on social systems.’  These studies emphasize the need for a holistic response to the common threats to water, energy and food security. 

The WEF topic is of great importance to the development priority of the State of Qatar. Qatar, like many countries in the Arab region, faces a three-pronged challenge of water shortage, food insecurity, and extreme vulnerability of critical national infrastructure to climate change.  The environment pillar of Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030 therefore recognizes “the need for an agile and comprehensive legal system that protects all elements of the environment, responding quickly to challenges as they arise.”  Furthermore, the ongoing blockade of Qatar by neighbouring countries has further underscored the importance of an entrepreneurial and innovation driven economy, as a way boosting domestic self-sustenance in areas of water, energy and food security.  In the aftermath of the blockade, Qatar has made geometric progress in fast tracking domestic food production. Innovative research is required to consolidate and advance those gains. 

For example, the fast-growing domestic dairy industry in Qatar will require innovative cooling technology to address the long-standing challenge of keeping dairy cows cool in a heat-stressed country.  Furthermore, given that standard livestock cooling methods, such as air conditioning and sprinkling cows with water, require significant amounts of electricity and water, WEF nexus innovation is required to unearth new technologies that can help reduce water and energy consumption in growing Qatar’s food industry. Relatedly, a number of solar and water desalination technologies and projects are in the pipeline in Qatar, in line with the Qatar’s National Vision (QNV) 2030 of achieving ‘a diversified economy that gradually reduces its dependence on hydrocarbon industries’ by the year 2030.  Key questions however arise on how to ensure that such technologies are properly absorbed and adapted to local circumstances in Qatar.  The absorption of water, energy and food technologies is a highly important component of a coherent technology diffusion process.  To promote an efficient and sustainable adoption, diffusion and assimilation of WEF technologies and innovation in Qatar, there is need to properly contextualize and situate WEF technologies within Qatar’s local context. There is therefore an urgent need to assess the complex and non-linear interactions between the WEF challenges and develop integrated solutions that allow for a coherent WEF nexus knowledge production and dissemination. 

To further inspire shared and interdisciplinary understanding of WEF nexus knowledge and innovation in Qatar and the United Kingdom, this proposed workshop aims to build on discussions started during Dr. Damilola S. Olawuyi’s Vanguard Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham. The interdisciplinary workshop that held during his visit focused on law and governance innovations for addressing WEF Nexus grand challenges in Qatar and the UK and on innovative technologies for promoting the WEF Nexus in Qatar drawing experiences from ongoing innovations in the UK.

 Dr Walters Nsoh  Birmingham Law School
 Dr Aleksandra Čavoški  Birmingham Law School
 Professor Robert Lee  Birmingham Law School
 Professor Philip Davies   Department of Civil Engineering 
 Dr Grant Wilson  School of Chemical Engineering
 Dr Gavin Harper  School of Physics and Astronomy
 Dean Susan L. Karamanian  College of Law, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar
 Dr Damilola S. Olawuyi  College of Law, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar
 Dr Mohammed Evren Tok  College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar
 Dr Tareq Al-Ansari  College of Science and Engineering, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar
 Professor Rory Miller  Georgetown University in Qatar
 Mr David Fullerton  College of the North Atlantic, (CNA-Q) Qatar
 Dr Francis Botchway  College of Law, Qatar University
 Dr Mohammad Al-Saidi  Center for Sustainable Development, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University
 Dr John Kilani  Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, Doha, Qatar 
 Mr Mohammed Al-Bader  Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar