Opinion | The Real deal of the century – Mondial 2022 and a regional emergency climate and peace plan by Matai, Israel

Today it is known that global warming is a fact. The latest alarming reports by the IPCC (Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change) and the IPBES(Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) are suggesting , alongside civil protest movements, cities and countries, that the world is now in an actual climate emergency.

Still the main contributor to this climate crisis, as the lead economy and the greatest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, the USA, is coming out of its Paris agreement and thus turning its back to the worlds efforts to stop catastrophe. Trump is not alone and counties such as the Gulf countries are still producing oil and gas and keeping the world at real and unmistakable threat.

In this paper I suggest that the upcoming Mondial (Soccer World Cup) of Qatar 2022, as the biggest sports event on the planet, should become a catalyst for crucial change in the Middle East through implementing a Climate and peace Emergency Plan that that is based on FIFA’s Green Goal Plan and a real deal of the century.

The Middle East that is considered a “Hot spot”, where temperature is rising 50% more than the worlds average and will hit 4c rise by 2100. This comes when we are also at a 900-year pick of drought. We need to develop a regional climate emergency plan ASAP. 
Around three years from today, the first soccer world cup will be held in Qatar and will begin in the fall of 2022. While the world eyes will be turning to the region, there is still time to use the tournament as a catalyst for the crucial change we need in order to tackle the crisis that is already here.

I always loved soccer, playing and watching alike. After experiencing the 2006 and 2010 world cups in Germany and South Africa my connection to the game enhanced while I did a study project on the tournaments at my Bachelor. I chose to do a project on the Green Goal Plan of the tournaments. The Green Goal Plan started in Germany Mondial 2006, as a plan to offset the GHG’s of the tournament and to educate the global crowd and audience to sustainability values and environmental awareness. The plan continued in South Africa 2010 as well and today there is a sustainability office in FIFA.The project opened my eyes to great possibility’s using soccer to bring climate awareness, peace and sustainability.

I applied theoretically what I learned, on the coming World Cup of 2022. and due to the alleged corruption in FIFA and Qatar and the miss use of work force along the way, I thought there can be a better way to use this great privilege of hosting the tournament. A way that benefits the whole ill stated Middle East. 

I, and associates, developed an outline for a Climate and Peace Emergency Plan. Which basically says the 2022 Mondial in Qatar will be opened for the hosting of a few more countries. That will allow more counties to take part – 48 instead of 32 teams while only existing stadiums will be used, such as in Qatar’s reusable stadiums. 

By enlarging the tournament, the Green Goal Emergency Plan will come into action across the Middle East to meet the Global scientific deadline of a: “10 years of unprecedented change needed” – Divestment from fossil fuels will take place, water management will be planed and desertification will be dealt throughout the MiddleEast and will enable cooperation that under the current situation is impossible.

This “Deal of the century” can also, in this context, help in building better relations between the Sunni countries and Qatar, the Arab countries and Israel and Israel and Palestine, as noted in our outline paper. 

Using the 2022 World Cup and the deal of the century to implement a regional climate and peace emergency plans is what we need today. Let us not waste our time arguing and looking  at what should be done to save what can still be saved. No matter if the Deal of the century and the 2022 world Cup will happen or not, I invite you to take part in determining our future by a continued effort to make a regional climate and peace emergency action plans today.


*This Op-Ed was written as part of the 2019 YaLa Alumni Opinion Writing Course

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