Fahad Al-Attiya

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Fahad Al-Attiya Flickr: IISD RS
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Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya is faced with a daunting task: he needs to make sure that Qatar can become self-sufficient by 2030, the year Qatar’s “National Vision” would be realized. It’s daunting because his country, one of the world’s richest due to gas revenue, averages only 74mm of precipitation (rain) per year. It is one of the driest spots on Earth. So, they survive by importing 93% of their food and desalinating almost 100% of their water. As chairman of the National Food Security Program, he is tasked with making a garden out of their desert of a country.

Achievements

Why Fahad Al-Attiya is Extraordinary

Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya is not an ordinary lawyer – he is an inspiration. His vision of a self-sufficient Qatar, home to two million people, is incredible in itself. Desalinating their waters is his answer to their annual 74 mm of rain, and this project will make use of one resource they do not at all lack: sunlight. They have 300 days per year of sun and trillions of dollars’ worth of natural gas; he is positive they can use these resources to properly address food and water scarcity.

Heading the National Food Security Program

Fahad was tasked to lead the country’s National Food Security Program, which will be their answer to the growing food-and-water demand. To become self-sufficient, they simply must change the composition of their soil and water. However, this is no easy undertaking.

A country with only enough fish and dates and all else imported began to rise up as the richest country in the world following the discovery of natural gas in their land; this enabled them to afford building a community despite the lack of water. So, how does he plan to make something impossible work?

"The question is, is there a solution? Is there a sustainable solution? Indeed there is... So if we're going to need energy, what sort of energy? A depletable energy? Fossil fuel? Or should we use something else? Do we have the comparative advantage to use another sort of energy? I guess most of you by now realize that we do: 300 days of sun. And so we will use that renewable energy to produce the water that we need. And we will probably put 1,800 megawatts of solar systems to produce 3.5 million cubic meters of water. And that is a lot of water.

That water will go then to the farmers, and the farmers will be able to water their plants, and they will be able then to supply society with food. But in order to sustain the horizontal line -- because these are the projects, these are the systems that we will deliver -- we need to also develop the vertical line: system sustenance, high-level education, research and development, industries, technologies, to produce these technologies for application, and finally markets. But what gels all of it, what enables it, is legislation, policies, regulations. Without it we can't do anything." (SOURCE: TED Talks)

Fahad is hoping that Qatar will create a precedent structure for dry lands like theirs to use the existing resources to address the needs of their people.

Top Reasons why Fahad Al-Attiya is Extraordinary

  1. He is currently the chairman of Qatar's National Food Security Program, which aims to liberate the world’s richest country from their water and food scarcity.
  2. He served in the Royal Military Academy.
  3. He completed his law degree at the University of Westminster in 2005.
  4. He began serving as Chairman of Qatar’s National Food Security Program in 2008.
  5. He has spoken at a TED event.
  6. He serves as a member of the Legislation Council of Qatar.
  7. He served as the Chairman of the Higher Organizing Sub-Committee for COP18/CMP8.
  8. He served as a Legal Advisor in the Office of His Highness the Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar.

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