COP28 Special Edition
In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you our most prominent stories and news of climate and environment, and news from COP28, the United Nations climate-change conference currently being held in the United Arab Emirates. COP28 opened on November 30 and will continue through December 12.
Climate and environmental issues are among Al-Fanar Media’s priorities, both within the framework of scientific research to confront the impacts of climate change and in ways of international cooperation to mitigate its effects.
We are also keen to cover climate and environmental issues through the role played by Arab universities in this context, especially in their activities to foster climate awareness and environmental sustainability.
The scope of our coverage extends to university sustainability rankings in the Arab world, especially through our strategic partnership with QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the British higher-education analytics company that that produces the QS World University Rankings and works with universities and business schools to identify strategies that help each institution achieve its goals.
Just as we were keen to cover the events of COP27, in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh last year, we continue to work to provide special coverage of the current conference, COP28, at Expo Dubai in the U.A.E.
Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief
From the Region:
Dubai Cares Unveils Global Education Solutions Accelerator at COP28
On Saturday, Dubai Cares, a civil society organisation formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications, unveiled its “Global Education Solutions Accelerator” (GESA) at COP28, the U.N. climate-change conference in Dubai.
In partnership with the Aga Khan Development Network, Dubai Cares works to improve children’s learning outcomes through the use of technology in education. According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the new GESA mechanism will help countries fast-track progress towards 2030, as they work with international actors and platforms in the development and education sectors to identify and implement solutions that best serve their education transformation challenges and leverage rewired education systems as a core enabler for sustainable development.
In the project’s first phase, Dubai Cares and Aga Khan Foundation aim to fast-track education transformation across the 10 countries that are part of the Schools2030 programme: Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Portugal, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Together, these countries together represent a population of 2.1 billion people.
American U. of Sharjah Faculty Share Expertise in COP28 Events
Faculty members at American University of Sharjah are contributing their ideas for pioneering solutions to discussions and initiatives at COP28, the United Nations climate-change conference in Dubai.
Among others, Norita Ahmad, a professor of information systems and business analytics and director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, organised a session on “Curriculum Design and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)”; and Fadi Aloul, dean of the university’s College of Engineering, took part in Schneider Electric Global’s Sustainability Roundtable on “Catalysing Decarbonisation: Digitalisation and Strategy.”
For details of other faculty members’ participation, click here.
Climate Action Could Create 10 Million Jobs in MENA Region, ILO Official Says
The Middle East and North Africa region could create 10 million new jobs and accelerate its economic growth rate to 7.2 percent by 2050 via taking a serious approach to climate action, according to Peter Rademaker, a deputy regional director of the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of COP28, Rademaker said the trend towards new energy has helped to create 13.7 million jobs in the renewable=energy sector worldwide. He added that among other ILO activities at COP28, the ILO and the Islamic Development Bank planned to present the results of a joint study of “decarbonisation scenarios in the Middle East and North Africa region”. The report will focus on the potential implications of decarbonisation and green jobs growth on employment and the advancement of social justice.
COP28 Receives Global Youth Statement on Climate Justice
Shamma Al Mazrui, the “youth climate champion” on the U.A.E.’s leadership team for COP28, received a Global Youth Statement titled “A Declaration for Climate Justice” during a “Youth Education” session of the U.N. climate-change conference on Saturday.
According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the Global Youth Statement represents the demands and aspirations of children and youth from over 160 countries around the world and highlights their collective climate policy demands. The statement is the result of intensive policy consultations conducted by YOUNGO, the official children and youth constituency of the U.N. climate-change section, and was finalised at a Conference of Youth held days before the opening of COP28 in Dubai.
“Young people are the future of this world; it is essential that their voices be heard in the fight for that future,” said Mazrui, who is also the Emirates’ minister of community development.
British University in Egypt Participates in COP28
The British University in Egypt and its president, Professor Mohamed Loutfi, are participating in events at COP28.
In a statement, the university said Loutfi was among the speakers at an event called “Presenting COP28 Simulation Outcomes and Solutions for Climate Action,” which was held on December 2 in the Egypt pavilion in the conference’s Blue Zone, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program and the United Arab Emirates’ Zayed University. During the session, Loutfi discussed the university’s COP28 simulation model and proposed solutions for moving forward with the adaptation agenda launched at COP27, taking financial challenges into account. The university plans to be involved in other initiatives and events as COP28 continues.
King Charles III Visits Climate Hub at Heriot-Watt University Dubai
Heriot-Watt University Dubai, in the Dubai Knowledge Park, on Thursday welcomed Britain’s King Charles III, who visited the university’s Climate Hub during his stay in the Emirates for COP28.
In a statement, the university said Charles met representatives of British companies that are displaying innovative solutions to reduce the climate crisis at the Climate Hub’s clean technology exhibition. This hub was established on the university’s campus to coincide with COP28, to provide a collaborative space where visitors could work, host meetings, and attend events and exhibitions.
Forum in Qatar to Explore How Energy Shapes Our Lives
The Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University in Qatar is partnering with Msheireb Museums to host an international forum under the theme “Global Energy Cultures: How Energy Shapes Our Everyday Lives,” on December 9 and 10.
According to a news release, the forum will offer a dynamic fusion of academic and artistic perspectives through discussions, photography and art exhibitions, film screenings, and talks with arts practitioners. The event will be open to the public at Msheireb Museums’ four historic heritage houses in the heart of Msheireb Downtown Doha.
From Al-Fanar Media
Women Remain Underrepresented in Climate Negotiations, Analysis Finds
Women are disproportionately affected by climate change, yet women are still underrepresented in high-level global climate negotiations, an Al-Fanar Media analysis found as the United Nations’ COP28 climate-change summit was getting underway in Dubai.
The analysis compared women’s participation rates in national delegations to the annual COP summits between 2008 and 2022, and found that their participation has grown only slightly since 2012, when COP18, meeting in Qatar, committed to striving for gender balance in the COP climate negotiations and in other decision-making bodies.
Despite some gains, gender balance has yet to be achieved, advocates say. “Women’s representation in country delegations remains very unsatisfactory,” one advocate told Al-Fanar Media. Another pointed out that the underrepresentation of women in climate negotiations had major implications on the decision-making process.
Climate change is not only an ecological crisis, but fundamentally a question of justice, prosperity and gender equality, and intrinsically linked to and influenced by structural inequality and discrimination, a special rapporteur to the United Nations said in a report last year. Climate-related impacts intensify the vulnerabilities of women and girls at risk of violence, especially when those factors are linked to other social, political and economic phenomena such as armed conflict, displacement, and scarcity of resources, the report said. Read more in this article.
Can the perspectives of long-gone empires and civilizations contribute to saving the planet today? Jörg Matthias Determann, who teaches history at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, explores the question in an essay for Al-Fanar Media. He notes that the Middle East boasts thousands of years of written records about the management of water from the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. How to deal with droughts is thus hardly a new question. Read more of Professor Determann’s thoughts on this issue here.
Tips and Resources:
As COP28 seeks solutions to limit planetary warming, scientists have observed that Arab world is experiencing temperature increase at twice the global average. While the environmental consequences, like water scarcity and climate-related disasters, are well-known, mental-health consequences, like climate anxiety, get less attention. With that in mind, now may be a good time for Arab students to review what several international organisations have to say about how they can gauge their own mental well-being, and where to seek help if they need it. Read more in this article.
Academic publishing is coming under mounting challenges from controversies over the use of artificial intelligence in the article-review process and claims of political bias in climate-change research. Both researchers and editors at prestigious scientific journals are engaged in ongoing debates about these challenges. Read more about this topic in this article.
Al-Fanar Media maintains a database of quality scholarships available to Arab students, which we continuously update. To stay up to date on the latest scholarships available in international universities, check the Scholarships section here, and watch for updated feedback on free learning opportunities in our News and Reports section, here.