Abu Dhabi: This morning, the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) launched its strategic plan of action leading up to the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28). COP28 will be hosted by the UAE in Dubai Expo City in November 2023. Present at the ceremony were Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh, UAEU Chancellor and Cultural Adviser to His Highness the President of the UAE, and representatives of several strategic partners in the government and private sectors.
In his address, Chancellor Zaki Nusseibeh highlighted the pivotal role that UAEU plays in advancing the nation’s strategic aims in the domain of sustainable development. He confirmed that the UAEU Roadmap to COP28 and Beyond will encourage efforts in line with the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative and the COP28 agenda.
The roadmap has three major themes: Research and Innovation, Youth Empowerment, and Local and International Partnerships. Work under these themes falls under thirty-five initiatives with measurable outcomes and has not only already started but will continue after COP28. The focus of the initiatives is sustainable energy, waste reduction, and the reuse of natural resources.
The Chancellor concluded by saying, “UAEU will draw on and benefit from our experience in the fields of agriculture and water technology, our expertise in scientific and engineering solutions that take advantage of UAE’s natural ecosystem, and our understanding of human society and behavioral change. We intend to provide greater certainty about the reality and effects of global warming.
During her speech, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri emphasized that the youth can play a significant role in the UAE’s journey towards mitigating climate change and creating a sustainable future through science, innovation, and creativity. She highlighted that the COP28 conference is an opportunity for governments, organizations, universities, scientists, and businesses to share their visions and experiences on how to make the world more sustainable.
She said: “The United Arab Emirates University’s roadmap for COP28 reflects a real step towards integrating youth and scientific research in efforts to address climate change at all levels. As a prestigious academic and scientific institution, of which I am honoured to be a member of its Board of Trustees, I am confident that this roadmap will be a tangible contribution from the university during the Year of Sustainability to support the country’s efforts in developing a progressive vision to find solutions to climate change challenges and adaptation, in addition to achieving climate neutrality in the country by 2050.”
She added: “Using your knowledge, skills, and creative minds, you can provide exceptional solutions in various sectors, from supporting renewable energy sources and sustainable transportation to ending hunger worldwide and ultimately changing societal habits and behaviours to make the world more sustainable, developed, and prosperous.”
Professor Ahmed Murad, UAEU’s Associate Provost for Scientific Research, said that the UAEU Roadmap is entitled “Empowering Youth to Combat Climate Change.” He explained that the comprehensive strategy includes activities such as student debates on the science of climate change and climate action, IT marathons on the role of AI in environmental sustainability and climate action, a graphic design competition on the subject of climate change awareness, and six international conferences and forums. The latter include the University Forum on Sustainable Development Goal Six (clean water and sanitation) to be held in partnership with Times Higher Education, the seventh International Conference on Engineering Geophysics under the theme of sustainable development and climate change, an international conference on financial technology and financial sustainability, and the second International Conference on Sustainable Management of Water Resources in Arid Regions. Also on the agenda are initiatives involving partnerships with Sultan Qaboos University, Monash University, and the Singapore Management University, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Universities’ Climate Network, the Emirates Red Crescent, the Women’s Union, Elite Agro, and the UN Women’s Service. He said that the Roadmap will provide leadership for the national efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and make COP28 a great success.