Hundreds march in Doha for actions amid ongoing UN climate talks


Hundreds of environmentalists from across the world marched in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, calling for more actions by their governments at the climate talks here to stem the warming of the globe.

The march, first of its kind taking place in the Arab region, is supported by a number of regional green NGOs, including Doha Oasis, as well as some large international green networks such as the Climate Action Network and TckTckTck.

"We are calling our leaders, the Arab leaders particularly, to lead this moment for climate justice in their region," a 24-year- old green campaigner from DR Congo said during the march, themed " One environment, one people and one earth".

Another marcher from a tribe in North America said, "We came here to send a message to our leaders that we have only one mother earth and we'd better protect it because the future, the human beings are at stake."

He also called for a change of the current economic system, which he said was not sustainable. "Capitalism is not sustainable, " he said, citing weather extremes and issues with food and water under this economic system.

Earlier, statements circulated in Doha had said environmentalists from 15 Arab countries and territories, including Egypt, Libya and Qatar itself, as well as from across the world were participating in the march, which was held simultaneously with the first climate negotiations ever held in the Middle East.

One day before the march, Khalid Al Mohannadi, cofounder of Doha Oasis, spoke on the Qatari government's commitment to civil societies' engagement on climate change issues.

"The Qatari government is supporting both local and regional NGOs in a big way and these NGOs are working on action plans on how to change the planet and how to make it a much better place to live in," he said.

Mohannadi added that it was "easy" to organize the march because lots of people immediately responded to their calls.

However, choosing Qatar as the host is in controversy as the region is known for its vast reserves of fossil energy, from which most of the CO2 in the atmosphere comes. Particularly, oil-rich Qatar has recently replaced the United States as the biggest per- capita emitter. In addition, Gulf countries in the past seemed to only care about protecting its oil and gas reserves from being affected by any climate treaties.

Although Gulf governments have rolled out some green initiatives in recent years, such as Qatar and the UAE's green building codes, it will take time for their efforts to take effect and get recognized.(2012-12-01 Xinhua)

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