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29 October 2019

Qatar Sustainability Week: QF initiative aims to create Qatar’s first urban forest

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The Park and Plant initiative seeks to increase green spaces to promote sustainability.

Qatar Foundation has launched its Park & Plant initiative, designed to make Education City a greener space and turn it into a more pedestrian-friendly environment – as well as creating Doha’s first forest. 

Nature has a positive impact on individuals because it touches the hearts of people. The beauty of nature enhances people’s wellbeing, which is what we are aiming to achieve.

Nawal Al-Sulaiti

The initiative, which reflects the organization’s commitment to enhancing sustainability, aims to see 2,500 trees planted around Education City in the space of three months. The first tree-planting exercise has now taken place at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, one of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) partner universities. 

The first trees were planted under the initiative outside QF partner university Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.

The Park & Plant initiative is designed to make Education City a greener space and provide more shaded areas.

“The aim of this initiative is to involve all members of the local community and Education City community, in adopting sustainable practices by planting trees and transforming empty areas into shaded pedestrian zones,” said Nawal Al-Sulaiti, Sustainability Specialist, Operations, QF. 

"Nature has a positive impact on individuals because it touches the hearts of people. The beauty of nature enhances people’s wellbeing, which is what we are aiming to achieve.” 

Ouassim Alami, Projects and Strategic Initiatives Adviser, Operations, QF, added: “According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, deforestation is one of the biggest challenges that the world is facing.  

“And if we can contribute in any way possible, Education City would be the first in line to help address the challenge of deforestation.”  

Alami explained that since the Park & Plant initiative was first announced, many centers and organizations have come forward to provide their support. Those who will contribute to planting trees around Education City come from various entities around Qatar, including the Friends of the Environment, Tarsheed, Qatar Academy Doha, one of the schools under QF's pre-university education, Qatar Social Work, as well as members of the local community.

The initiative will be implemented in three main phases, with the first seeing trees planted in areas around occupied buildings to reduce the carbon footprint. Phase 2 will see planting in “in-between” and unassigned areas, and finally phase 3 will see the creation of the first forest in Doha with the help of community members. 

Al-Sulaiti added: “We aim to achieve these goals from today until April 2020, where we will have planted trees in all the unplanted areas around Education City. We are also planning to plant 2,500 trees within three months.” 

In collaboration with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), part of Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of QF, the initiative is also working on measuring the carbon footprint of QF employees to compare the before-and-after effects of trees planted around EC, to show the positive impact made on the environment.  

Having planted its first tree at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, the initiative will next carry out planting activities around the Education City Stadium, with the help of students from Qatar Academy Doha and other schools in Qatar. As well as university and school students, contributors also include QF staff, partners, and guests, and members of other institutions. 

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