Special Report: HE and Sustainability: The Gulf States

COP28 boosts sustainability efforts in Gulf higher education

As the United Arab Emirates prepared to host COP28, the global summit on climate action and sustainable development that kicked off this week, University World News compiled this Special Briefing exploring the contribution of Gulf states’ universities to climate action and to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Universities and COP28
With the global climate summit COP28 on the horizon, 33 national and international higher education institutions based in the United Arab Emirates forged a Universities Climate Network to ‘drive engagement among youth and academia’ – and it is now set to live on, and hopefully expand, afterwards.
Countries and universities
Working with the country’s unforgiving status quo of fossil fuel reliance, high energy and water consumption, plus rising greenhouse gas emissions, Saudi Arabia’s universities are ramping up their efforts to boost their own sustainability and to influence broader Saudi society to become environmentally conscious.
PHOTO Universities in the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – are promoting their sustainability successes at the COP28 meeting in Dubai. It is part of a wider bid to climb the global rankings.
PHOTO The private Al Ain University in the United Arab Emirates, located in the oasis city with the same name, is leading the way on sustainable development among universities in the country through initiatives to boost quality education and global and national partnerships.
International research into Kuwait University has shone light on the complexities and challenges of implementing sustainability in higher education, and the importance of regional and social and cultural context. ‘Developed globally, induced locally’ does not always work well, the researchers say.
PHOTO A new paper on education for sustainable development and global citizenship education in six Gulf states has found “universal challenges” to implementing sustainability, and called for an overhaul of the “imported” Western educational system. “The time is ripe for frank discussions,” it argues.
PHOTO The University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates is building an international reputation for sustainability, underpinned by introspective research that has studied – and worked to improve – the sustainability performance of students and staff. As a result, it has shot up the UI GreenMetric World University Rankings.
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