Posted on June 04, 2013

Countries all over the world are set to celebrate World Environment Day (WED) on the 5th June, an initiative of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which began in 1972 and has grown to become one of the main vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment. Here in Qatar, IAID in association with the Friends of the Environment Centre (FEC) under the patronage of Dr. Saif Ali Al Hajari (pictured), Chairman of FEC, is all geared-up to celebrate the day of global awareness on environmental issues.

Qataris one of the very first countries in GCC to elevate World Environment Day (WED) Celebrations to new heights. WED celebrations in Qatar started in 2007, when IAID and FEC took the initiative to step up and speak up for the environment with a clear vision to influence the future of the nation building.

Now in its seventh year, the WED celebration in Qatar has seen a significant and gradual growth in terms of participation from schools, colleges and the general community. With participation as low as 300 in 2007 WED Events, it has now attracted more than 3000 contestants with an over all participation of more than 5000 families.

The success of the WED celebrations in Qatar can be gauged from the fact that it has drawn the attention from diverse participants of mixed ethnicity, that includes Asians, Europeans as well as the growing number of Arabs. Apart from the general public, institutions such as FEC, Qatar Foundation,, and many schools, colleges and universities have contributed to the growth of WED’s popularity in Qatar.

This year marked a new phase for the WED team as it launched novel initiatives apart from the Painting Contest which is the core activity every year with increased participation of 3000 from various schools, colleges and the general community. Other activities organized by the team include Eco-Fashion Design Contest that aimed at addressing the need for recycling, Arts workshop for teachers which was a collaborative activity supported by Faber Castell and a Seminar related to this year's UNEP world-wide theme Think.Eat.Save.

All events during the WED celebrations were well received by the public and this was evident by the large turnout for all the activities which started on May 17th.

“When we started to conceptualize the eco-fashion design contest, the WED team had a minimal expectation in terms of the turn-out of participation from the invited schools. Surprisingly, we received close to 200 entries with more than 500 students joining this novel activity" said Marianne Indrinal IAID Center Head and WED 2013 Project Manager.

According to Indrinal it was a big challenge for the team to create the process and implement the idea but with the strong support from partners, the contest was a major success.

“Over the years, we have seen consistent growth in the participation not only from the general public but also from the private entities since we started WED Celebration in Qatar 7 years back. For this, we are truly grateful and proud to be associated with like-minded organizations I would also personally like to acknowledge the sincere and kind efforts put in by the WED team who come from different parts of the world consisting of members from IAID, FEC and other WED event partners. A lot of credit for the success of the WED event goes to their hard-work and sincere efforts for the country that they live in" said Rajesh Jadhav, Director of IAID and Production Head of WED 2013.

Among the notable corporate houses that have been a part of WED celebrations in Qatar over the last few years are, Al Khalij Commercial Bank (al khaliji) and Oryx GTL Limited. This year Ooredoo joined as the Official Telecom Partner along with Faber-Castell, I, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar), Al Rayyan Theatre, The Ritz Carlton Doha and Renaissance Doha City Center Hotel - Event Partners for this year's celebration.

“al khaliji Bank has been associated with the IAID and the FEC since 2011, and we were surprised how closely their environment goals and vision were similar to ours. The bank’s participation in WED was a great way to establish a corporate and community partnership, working towards common values to ensure a greener, safer and more prosperous future for Qatar and the world.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Katia Abboud Saba, A. PRC Manager at ORYX GTL Limited said: “The company is delighted to have partnered with IAID and the FEC for the 7th WED celebrations in Qatar. Our support for this event is part of ORYX GTL’s investment in thought leadership and collaborative approach to sustainable development, including teaching children about the importance of environmental care and how everyone has a role in its conservation in a fun and creative way.”

Similarly, Ms. Fatima Al-Kuwari Director, Public and Community Relations at Ooredoo, expressing happiness at partnering the WED celebrations said, “Ooredoo is proud to support environmental events related to World Environment Day, as part of our corporate social responsibility program which focuses on environmental issues. We want to be Qatar’s leading private company in supporting environmental initiatives, as part of making the world a cleaner, healthier place to live, and our support for WED fits well with this.”

The WED celebrations will come to a close on June 7 with the Awarding Ceremony, to be held at Al Rayyan Theatre, one of the newest and biggest event venue, in Souq Waqif. Aside from honoring all the contest winners in the presence of invited dignitaries and VIP's, the organizing team will be presenting musical and dance performances that will add more meaning to the celebration.

Top winning contestants will walk home with Cash prizes, Apple IPad's from Ooredoo, Faber-Castell Premium products, gift vouchers from The Ritz-Carlton, Doha & Renaissance Doha City Center Hotel, certificates, trophies and more. As for the next year celebrations, the WED committee aims to solicit bigger involvement from the government in creating a wider and much reinforced celebration that will attract larger participation.