By Sultana Afdhal, CEO, WISH, and Didi Thompson, Director of Research and Content, WISH.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ (FWC22) is finally underway! After 12 years of preparation, the excitement across Doha is palpable. Fans from all over the world are here to cheer on the 32 teams competing in the tournament.
Yet the world cup is not without controversy. Scrutiny over the health provisions and employment conditions of the workers who built the stadiums and supporting infrastructure continues to dominate media coverage. While some of these criticisms are based on valid concerns, hosting the world’s biggest sporting event has also provided a catalyst for introducing important reforms in employment conditions and better access to healthcare for the migrant workforce in Qatar.
As an evidence-based health policy organization, WISH has cut through the noise and media sensationalism to examine what the data tells us about the health and welfare of this essential segment of the labor force.
Our 2022 summit report, overseen by an array of experts in the field as well as local stakeholders, examines the health of, and healthcare services available to, migrant workers in Qatar, with a focus on how the situation has evolved in the run-up to the world cup. The report concludes with a series of recommendations for improving the health of this workforce, both in Qatar and globally.
This topic also formed the basis of a lively panel session – including contributions from the ILO, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, University College London, Georgetown University in Qatar, the International Trade Union Confederation, and the migrant workforce – at our 2022 summit in early October.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation and a veteran champion of migrant workers’ rights, has witnessed Qatar’s journey for more than 10 years. Addressing the panel discussion she noted, “I absolutely pay tribute to the progress made by the country. If we could move as fast in other countries, as a union leader, I would be delighted.”
We encourage you to watch the video recording (available here) and review the findings in our report (available here). We hope that these contributions shed light on the current situation in Qatar and also serve as a call to action for further improvement.