SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
13 April 2017
Volume 18 Issue 4

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SETAC Arabian Gulf Branch Holds Their 3rd Annual Meeting at Qatar University

Christopher S. Warren, ExxonMobil Research Qatar

In collaboration with its sponsors Qatar University and ExxonMobil Qatar Limited, the SETAC Arabian Gulf Branch held their annual meeting on “Environmental Quality in the GCC1: Addressing the Challenges,” from 21–22 March at Qatar University in Doha, Qatar. This 3rd annual meeting for the branch was attended by 95 delegates from across the GCC member states, with representation from government, business and academia.   

Three scientific sessions were held across the two-day meeting on the following topics:

  1. Oil Spill-Related Research and Monitoring 25 years after the Gulf Oil Spill
  2. Assessing Environmental Impacts and Ecosystem Well-Being
  3. Addressing Future Challenges to Environmental Quality 
SETAC AGB organizing committee
Members of the organizing committee pause for a photo during the 3rd Annual SETAC AGB Meeting.

The meeting opened with an address from Professor Mariam Al-Ali Al-Maadeed, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Qatar University. Professor Mohamed Alaa Abdel-Moati, Environmental Consultant at the Qatar Ministry of Municipality and Environment, followed with the keynote address, which helped set the tone for the meeting. Abdel-Moati’s presentation highlighted that the Arabian Gulf consists of many sensitive habitats (corals, seagrasses and mangroves) and species (sea turtles, dugongs and whale sharks) with natural and anthropogenic stressors that present real environmental challenges to the marine and atmospheric environment. These challenges require integrated approaches to effectively and sustainably address these concerns. While the meeting provided a valuable opportunity for delegates to network and discuss their work, the outcomes will help the branch find common areas of interest and important aspects of current and future needs for environment research and development, management and education.

“The meeting was a great example for the collaboration between government organizations, private sector and academia,” stated Hessa Al-Khaled, Head of Environmental Inspection and Monitoring Section with Kuwait EPA. “These annual meetings help develop solutions for regionally shared environmental problems and aid in their implementation. We encourage more of these meetings in the future.”

Amjad Shraim from Qatar University stated, “SETAC ABG has done a very good job by organizing this scientific activity, which succeeded in providing a productive meeting platform for local and regional scientists from academia, industry and government agencies to exchange and discuss some scientific issues related to Qatar and the region.” Additionally, strong participation from the student body was evident through oral and poster presentations. I highly recommend organizing and hosting such scientific activities on a regular basis.”

Kavita Nair, a Ph.D. candidate at Qatar University who is studying the development of a sustainable solution to the environmental impacts of chemical insecticide use in Qatar, was awarded the top student presentation. This award will provide Nair with a SETAC student membership and the opportunity to attend a future international SETAC meeting to present her work as the ExxonMobil Qatar Limited-SETAC AGB Student Scholar.  

Christopher Warren, Environmental Research Lead at ExxonMobil Research Qatar and President of the AGB noted, “This is the 3rd annual meeting for our branch, and it was great to see participation from across all sectors: government, academia and industry. We also had speakers from across the GCC – Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – which is a great accomplishment for our growing branch. The student involvement was very impressive, providing high-quality poster and platform presentations. The topics discussed are very relevant to addressing the environmental and sustainability challenges in the region. We look forward as an organization to do our part in helping achieve sustainable environmental management in the GCC, while also contributing to the global body of science.” 

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