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Common Operational Datasets
Administrative Boundaries and Populated Places


Key Figures | Reference Map | General Information | Demography | Geography | Political Background | Economy | Disaster and response preparedness measures | Humanitarian response operations | History of Disasters | Sources

Key Figures  
Total population : 2.7 Million (2018)
Area : 11,581 km²
Major languages
: Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
Number of provinces : 8 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah)
GDP : $167 billion USD (2017)
GDP per capita : 63,249.4 USD (2017)
Average life expectancy : 79 years (2018 est.)
Human Development Index : Index - 0.856, Rank - 37
Literacy rate : 97.3%, ( age 15 and over can read and write), male: 97.4%, female: 96.8% (2015 est.)
Currency : Riyal


Qatar Interactive Humanitarian Map


General information
Qatar; officially the State of Qatar, is a country located in Western Asia. Whether the sovereign state should be regarded as a constitutional monarchy or an absolute monarchy is disputed. Qatar is classified by the UN as a country of very high human development and is widely regarded as the most advanced Arab state for human development. Qatar is a high-income economy, backed by the world's third-largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves. Qatar has been ruled by the House of Thani since Mohammed bin Thani signed a treaty with the British in 1868 that recognised its separate status. Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. In 2003, the constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with almost 98% in favour.

The number of people in Qatar fluctuates considerably depending on the season, since the country relies heavily on migrant labour. In early 2017, Qatar's total population was 2.6 million, with non-Arab foreigners making up a vast majority of Qatar's population. Only 313,000 of the population (12%) were Qatari citizens, while the remaining 2.3 million (88%) were expatriates. The combined number of South Asians (from the countries of the Indian subcontinent including Sri Lanka) by themselves represent over 1.5 million people (60%) of Qatar's population. Among these, Indians are the largest community, numbering 650,000 in 2017,[18] followed by 350,000 Nepalis, 280,000 Bangladeshis, 145,000 Sri Lankans, and 125,000 Pakistanis. The contingent of expatriates which are not of South Asian origin represent around 28% of Qatar's population, of which the largest group is 260,000 Filipinos and 200,000 Egyptians, plus many other nationalities (including nationals of other Arab countries, Europeans, etc.).

The Qatari peninsula protrudes 160 kilometres (100 mi) into the Persian Gulf, north of Saudi Arabia. Its sole land border is with neighbouring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) monarchy Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. An arm of the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby Bahrain.

Political background
Qatar is either a constitutional or an absolute monarchy ruled by the Al Thani family. The Al Thani dynasty has been ruling Qatar since the family house was established in 1825. In 2003, Qatar adopted a constitution that provided for the direct election of 30 of the 45 members of the Legislative Council. The constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with almost 98% in favour. The eighth Emir of Qatar is Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, whose father Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani handed power to him on 25 June 2013. The supreme chancellor has the exclusive power to appoint and remove the prime minister and cabinet ministers who, together, constitute the Council of Ministers, which is the supreme executive authority in the country. The Council of Ministers also initiates legislation. Laws and decrees proposed by the Council of Ministers are referred to the Advisory Council (Majilis Al Shura) for discussion after which they are submitted to the Emir for ratification. A Consultative Assembly has limited legislative authority to draft and approve laws, but the Emir has final say on all matters. The current Council is composed entirely of members appointed by the Emir, as no legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body. Legislative elections have been postponed until at least 2019. The Council will also host the 140th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly for the first time, in April 2019. Qatari law does not permit the establishment of political bodies or trade unions.

Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and pearl hunting. A report prepared by local governors of Ottoman Empire in 1892 states that total income from pearl hunting in 1892 is 2,450,000 kran. After the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearl onto the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar's pearling industry crashed. Oil was discovered in Qatar in 1940, in Dukhan Field. The discovery transformed the state's economy. Now, the country has a high standard of living for its legal citizens. With no income tax, Qatar (along with Bahrain) is one of the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world. The unemployment rate in June 2013 was 0.1%. Corporate law mandates that Qatari nationals must hold 51% of any venture in the Emirate. As of 2016, Qatar has the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. It relies heavily on foreign labor to grow its economy, to the extent that migrant workers compose 86% of the population and 94% of the workforce. Qatar has been criticized by the International Trade Union Confederation. The economic growth of Qatar has been almost exclusively based on its petroleum and natural gas industries, which began in 1940. Qatar is the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. In 2012, it was estimated that Qatar would invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years. The country was a member state of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), having joined in 1961, and having left in January 2019.

Disaster and response preparedness measures
The main governmental partner is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), in particular the Department of International Development, established in 2009 and in charge of development and humanitarian affairs. In 2012, MOFA signed a humanitarian partnership agreement (LoU) with OCHA to expand collaboration and strengthen joint coordination and response to humanitarian crises, in particular establishing reciprocal consultations in areas such as humanitarian coordination and policy, information management and fund raising for disaster response. The agreement was the first of its kind in the Gulf region. The foundation Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah for Humanitarian Services (RAF) carries out humanitarian work for relief and social development, both locally and internationally. The Center for Training and Civil Society Studies offers specialized training in the field of charitable and humanitarian work. In 2014 RAF signed with OCHA a Letter of Understanding (LoU) focused on capacity building and in August 2015 RAF signed with Qatar Foundation (QF) a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate towards common goals.

Humanitarian response operations
Qatar was a member of the Top Donors Group (TDG) for Syria, participating in international humanitarian cooperation forums such as the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), and was a member of the advisory group for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). In 2010, in collaboration with the Republic of Turkey and the Dominican Republic, the State of Qatar launched the ‘HopeFor’ initiative, aimed at improving the effectiveness and coordination of national military and civil defense assets to support the UN humanitarian emergency response system for large-scale natural disasters, and hosted the first of the three ensuing conferences. In 2016 Qatar joined Turkey Country Pool Fund (CPF). In 2019, Qatar Fund for Development and Qatar Charity signed an agreement with the World Food Programme to support WFP’s humanitarian activities in Yemen, in line with their strategic plan, through supporting populations suffering from food insecurity and ensuring their minimum nutritional requirements in Yemen’s urban and semi-urban areas, at an estimated total cost of US$ 2.945 million. The projects are estimated to benefit more than 256 000 people in various governorates in Yemen.

History of disasters

Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, Central Intelligence Agency Factbook, Wikipedia, The World Bank, United Nations Development Program, ReliefWeb