11th February 2016

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  • Training


Colin MacKenzie

Martin Baxter on his recent trip to the Middle East.

The UN sustainable development goals and the climate change agreement reached in Paris in December present significant challenges and opportunities for the environment and sustainability profession. Practitioners have a huge role to play in implementing actions that will help to achieve the outcomes set out in these international initiatives, while IEMA has a key role to play in engaging with and supporting members to make a real contribution to achieving them.

Judging by the quality of the debate when IEMA’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) group met in January, it is clear that there is an appetite to participate. The networking session in Doha on sustainability in construction attracted more than 150 delegates and presented the perfect forum to debate issues. What is clear from the discussions is the need for a broader understanding of best practice and to share learning and ideas.

IEMA head office staff met many members and stakeholders during the visit, including the undersecretary at the ministry of environment and climate affairs in Oman. An IEMA breakfast meeting brought together people from businesses, consultancies and the government to consider what role IEMA could play in supporting the transition to sustainability – including how to implement the Paris agreement and ensure that Oman exceeded the obligations set out in its nationally determined contribution.

A follow-up session with a wider group of stakeholders is planned to help gain a consensus on the three key sustainability priorities for the country. Partnership working will be critical to ensuring success.

A clear message from the members in Oman and Qatar is the importance of skills development and capacity building. Support programmes for members looking to progress to Full membership and Chartered environmentalist status are important in this respect, as is raising awareness more generally across different professions and society more broadly. In many ways this is no different from what members elsewhere require, although the geographical context is very different.


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