COP18: Day 1 in Qatar

Photo of Minister McQueen with Canada's ambassador

Meeting with Canada’s ambassador

December 2

After a long day of travel, we’ve arrived in Doha, Qatar for the 18th annual United Nation’s climate change conference.  Sunday was spent adjusting to the time change, attending pre-session briefings and getting acquainted with the area.

In the morning, I had a very informative meeting with Mr. Andre Dubois, Canada’s Ambassador to Qatar.  He shared some insight on the Qatari’s leadership, their perspectives on international politics and their vision for the future of Qatar.   I also got an update on COP18 expectations and negotiations from Mr. Dan McDougall, Canada’s chief negotiator and climate change ambassador.

Minister McQueen with a falcon

A falcon in the Souk district of Qatar

From there we toured the Souk to get a real feel for the Islamic country.  The Souk is an old market divided into sections based on the goods being sold.  The Souk sells everything from falcons and Arabian horses to gold, pearls, rugs and kitchen supplies.  This place plays an important role in Qatari society; it’s where the locals come to shop, dine and get away from the gleaming towers.

A highlight of the day was a visit to the University of Calgary’s Nursing School at the Doha campus.  A tour of the facility included a simulation room that replicates a real hospital room with very sophisticated mannequins.  They breathe, blink their eyes, have a pulse, sweat, and speak so they can simulate different patient conditions and observe how the nurses perform and interact – one female mannequin can give birth to a baby.  The Qatari government has targeted international education providers that have sterling reputations to provide programs of value to their citizens.  Albertans should be very proud of the University of Calgary’s campus there.

During our tour, we also met with students who have formed an Environment Club.  They’re working on recycling and water conservation outreach programs in the Qatari community. I commend the students for their effort and hope they keep up the good work!  To see pictures and learn more about my visit, take a moment read the University’s new release.

Monday will be spent attending meetings with the United Nations, various delegations and speaking on Alberta’s Carbon Capture and Storage developments.  I look forward to sharing my experiences with you tomorrow.

– Diana McQueen

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