God has bestowed a favour on us by living in an era of unprecedented accelerating progress, in which an innovative spirit prevails in the fields of medicine, technology and science; and wherein the human ability of exploiting the resources enabling the provision of a decent life for all of humanity has multiplied. Numerous technological innovations have brought about greater productivity, prosperity and a level of communication between humans in a way close to realising visions from science fiction.

Although this evolution has enabled us to realise many wishes, it has come at a cost for the people of the world, our planet and its resources. The average life expectancy and standard of living for the majority of humanity has risen, and this has clearly manifested itself in population growth. Nevertheless, poverty and unemployment rates have also increased, and there is a growing awareness of the lack of justice in wealth distribution, in addition to the dire consequences on the environment.

In areas such as genetics and artificial intelligence, the possibilities for realising the well-being of all humanity are increasing. The gap between possibility and reality is also widening, however. As these possibilities are unfolding in the same era, there are people who are grappling with child labour, starvation, unemployment and civil wars, while developed countries guard their borders against the influx of refugees fleeing this suffering. It is as if the peoples on earth are living in two different epochs.

Rapid technical development and the growing reliance on it opens up remarkable prospects for humanity to develop for the better. Science and technology are crucial for increasing productivity and improving quality of life. Celebrating the means without consideration of the ends for which they are used has led to disasters such as using nuclear weapons, conducting experiments on humans and committing genocide in concentration camps.

It is incumbent on us to keep pace with scientific and technical developments, encourage them in our countries, and remove barriers between countries in this field. At the same time, it is not plausible to ignore the worsening risks in terms of the falsification of reality, invasion of personal privacy, disruption of educational processes through the facilitation of plagiarism, and the spiralling effects of disinformation and human deception.

Therefore, in addition to the necessity of cooperation and investment in developing these technologies, we reiterate the call for unifying efforts to prevent the misuse of cyberspace and regulate this important aspect on the basis of the rules of international law. In this context, the Web Summit 2024 took place in Doha in February 2024. The convening of this event constituted an important opportunity to review developments in the field of technology and create new cooperation opportunities for the benefit of all humanity. This was a unique occasion to welcome everyone to Doha.

In the wider context of talking about our region, we reiterate our appreciation of the détente witnessed in 2023, as represented by constructive dialogue and the re-establishment of ties between the sisterly countries, Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as between Egypt and Turkey. Our region is awash with tremendous potential and numerous opportunities, and our peoples are tolerant, humane and peace loving. This is a fact that has often been distorted by stereotypes and preconceptions.

During the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, there was an opportunity for interaction between peoples. The world was able to see our people as they are, and learn aspects of our culture and values besides Qatar’s stature as a global destination and nexus between the east and west. We emphasised the role that sport plays in building bridges of communication and rapprochement between peoples and cultures. I hope that we have contributed, through this tournament, to breaking stereotypes, and presented an exciting and safe tournament to the world.

In Qatar, we dreamed that our country would be a prosperous nation whose people would enjoy well-being and prosperity, and we invested years of planning and comprehensive development work to realize this dream. We have achieved a lot, thanks to God and the solidarity of everyone in Qatar.

While investing in liquefied natural gas was a leverage to realise this dream, this investment has enabled us to play an important role in addressing the energy challenge around the world with a realistic vision that takes into account what the world needs for a diverse mix of different energy sources by using the highest levels of advanced technology that is, at the same time, environmentally friendly.

We realise that energy export imposes obligations on us, as a reliable partner, towards other countries, and towards our people and future generations as well. Hence, Qatar continues to develop its sovereign wealth fund and diversify the sources of its income, including through investment in clean energy. Qatar pursues environmentally friendly policies and supports various projects for protection in this respect.

This responsibility also prompts Qatar to strengthen its role in providing humanitarian aid, exerting mediation efforts and resolving conflicts that affect our region. The path by which to resolve conflicts through peaceful means is long and strenuous, but it is less costly than wars, and our commitment to continue our efforts in facilitating and making peace is a firm commitment deeply rooted in the core of our foreign policy.

We are proud of our partnership with the UN, and there is no clearer evidence of this than the opening of the UN House, which includes 12 UN offices, in the presence of the UN secretary-general in March 2023 in Doha. That same month, my country hosted the fifth UN Conference on the Least-Developed Countries, which is considered one of the most prominent international forums. The event galvanised efforts to achieve the ambitious goals of the Doha Action Programme for the benefit of the least-developed countries for the 2022-31 decade.

While we affirm that Qatar is a major and active partner in the endeavours to respond to the priorities and needs of these countries, we welcomed the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit held on September 18-19, 2023. We are pleased that our country is once again playing a leading role in major debates under the umbrella of the UN, the most recent of which was working with Ireland in order to facilitate government negotiations on the political declaration adopted by the UN SDGs Summit. We believe that cooperation in these areas contributes to stemming the waves of refugees, which have become a problem for Europe as well as for African and Asian countries.

It is the duty of leaders to empower their people with the means to live in peace and security, and to look forward to a better future for their posterity. There are obstacles at the level of the international community, mainly represented in the failure to subject contradictions and competition between major countries on transient issues to minimum binding principles owing to the variations in governance systems. These issues, which concern all humanity, include climate change; environmental matters; poverty; and the blatant injustice represented by occupation, racism and war crimes. This consensus must take place in the UN, to avoid getting bogged down in details and safeguard the future of entire peoples from loss due to the unwillingness to cooperate in the implementation of international law.

This viewpoint was taken directly from HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s speech delivered at the 78th UN General Assembly in September 2023.