Sustainable Transportation and Mega Sporting Events in Arab Countries: the Case of Qatar | Ifi Working Paper
Working Paper | March 2015
Sustainable Transportation and Mega Sporting Events in Arab Countries: the Case of Qatar by Robert Wittkuhn and Danyel Reiche
Qatar has successfully developed into a hub for mega sporting events; the most prestigious of them will be the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Qatar promotes it as the “first completely carbon-neutral” and “most compact” World Cup. Such statements emphasize a very small impact of transport on the event’s carbon footprint; but they also raise questions about the understanding and applicability of carbon neutrality. As motive for hosting mega events, Qatar is highlighting their catalyst effect for planned infrastructure developments. The article assesses Qatar’s ambitious plans for building intra-city, inter-city and inter-state road and railway networks, taking into account Qatar’s standing as the biggest greenhouse gas emitter per capita in the world. The study has as its foundation an understanding of sustainability, which is based on definitions of key terms and concepts such as ecological footprint, carbon footprint, carbon neutrality and carbon offsetting. The study includes additional actors besides the Qatari government such as international NGOs and their general understanding of sustainability. In a comparative approach, the article asks: to what extent concepts for sustainable transport development were integrated in mega sporting events already hosted in Qatar, and whether they are part of the concepts for future events. Furthermore, it seeks to answer whether or not these concepts are aiming at short-term outcomes during an event or if they will be permanently integrated into the host city and country.