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UNESCO Offices in Beirut and Doha reflect on the Role of Higher Education Institutions in Qatar in Achieving SDGs

19/11/2019
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04 - Quality Education

Universities,  colleges,  and  other  higher  education  institutions  (HEIs)  play  a  critical  role  in  the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Agenda. HEIs are mentioned specifically under SDG 4 on quality and inclusive education, but in fact their influence extends across all the goals through teaching and learning, research output, and campus initiatives. HEIs facilitate social, environmental, and economic development. They are one of the most significant incubators of ideas   and   solutions   to   global   problems,   and   their   central   position   amongst   networks   of government, civil society and industry partners mean that they have vast potential to generate positive impact.

Since  the  international  community  of  Member  States  came  together  to  agree  upon  the  2030 Agenda,  some  HEIs  have  established  campus  greening  initiatives  to  improve  their  internal sustainability, while others have implemented community outreach programmes, student groups, and  research  and  innovation  hubs.  However,  in  the  Arab  region,  progress  has  been  slow.  For example,  across  the  Region,  the  International  Association  of  Universities  (IAU)  lists  just  some actions undertaken by universities related to the SDGS.

Against this backdrop, UNESCO Doha, in partnership with UNESCO Beirut, organized on 23 October 2019 the first national workshop on the role of universities in Qatar in achieving SDGs. The workshop, held in Doha, gathered representatives of local HEIs and research institutions, in addition to representatives of the Ministry of Higher Education, and Qatar’s National Commission for UNESCO.   The workshop aimed to provide participants with a platform to share experiences and reflect on the SDGs and their means of implementation at the HEI level in Qatar.

 

Over the course of the workshop, programme specialists from UNESCO Beirut and Doha offices provided participants with information about the targets and means of implementation of SDGs. Participants reflected on the goals that are directly linked to HEI and how the latter can contribute to their achievement. Participants were also introduced to UNESCO Chairs and learnt how they can be used as a tool to achieve SDGs.  

Representatives of local HEI expressed their interest in continued cooperation with UNESCO Beirut and Doha Offices, as well as the Ministry of Higher Education, to contribute to the achievement of SDGs. They also suggested that a network be established at the regional level to coordinate efforts of HEIs in the Arab world in the achievement of SDGs.  It has also been agreed that UNESCO Beirut and Doha Offices will provide technical support for Qatar’s Ministry of Higher Education in HEMIS implementation.