QU-CAS hosts first conference on sustainable development

The College of Arts and Sciences at Qatar University (QU-CAS) held on March 26-27 its first Sustainable Development Conference aimed to highlight the efforts of the State of Qatar towards the achievement of a holistic sustainable development vision in line with the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.

Themed “Towards a Holistic Vision of the Implementation of the SDGs in the State of Qatar: Enhancing Science, Policies, Capacity Building, and Research Cooperation”, the 2-day event brought together local stakeholders, leading experts and academics from local and international institutions to present state-of-the-art research to advance the policies and strategies of sustainable development.

The opening session was attended by QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham, Ambassador of Sweden to Qatar H.E. Mrs Ewa Polano, CAS Dean Dr Rashid Al-Kuwari, General Director of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Tarek Al-Ansari, Assistant Undersecretary for Land Transport at the Ministry of Transport and Communications Mr Rashid Taleb Al Nabit, and Assistant Professor of Policy, Planning and Development at CAS Department of International Affairs and Chair of the conference’s organizing committee Dr Esmat Zaidan, as well as CAS faculty and staff.

Keynote speakers H.E. Mrs Ewa Polano, Regional Advisor on Transition and Governance at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Dr Adib Nehme, Professor of Management, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Kamal Shair Endowed Chair in Responsible Leadership at the American University of Beirut (AUB) Prof Dima Jamali, and Assistant Professor at AUB Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences Dr Martin Keulertz presented on “Millennium Declaration and 8 MDGS”, “Transition and Governance”, and “Sustainable Development in the Arab Region”.

The event’s program featured five sessions covering the main pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030 and titled “Water and Food Security”, “Energy, Climate and Environmental Protection”, “Urban Sustainability, Priority Industries and Green Innovations”, “SDGs and Regional Priorities, Civil Society, Media and Social Change”, and “Health, Sports, and Education”.

It also included two panel discussions on “Sustainable Economic Development and Urban Sustainability” and “Sustainable Human Development”, as well as numerous presentations by speakers from local and international institutions such as QU, AUB, Aspire Zone Foundation, Arizona State University, INTRAC for Civil Society – UK, International Center for Sport Security, Josoor Institute, Kahramaa, Ministry of Developmental Planning and Statistics, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Ministry of Transport & Communications, National Human Rights Committee, Qatar Foundation, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Science & Technology Park, RasGas, Sultan Qaboos University, UNESCO Regional Office in Doha, and UN ESCWA.

Discussions focused on a wide range of topics such as “Environmental Diplomacy and the Role of International Cooperation in Achieving Sustainable Development Priorities in the State of Qatar”, “The Global Sustainability Agenda in the Context of the Qatar’s Contribution to the SDGs and the Role of UNESCO”, “Microalgae biomass as a multipurpose resource – contributions for wastewater treatment and crop growth”, “Food security in the State of Qatar – sustainable alternatives and innovations”, “Local Spatial Impacts of Globalization in Developing Countries”, and many more.

In his remarks, Dr Hassan Al Derham said: “Sustainable development is a strategic pathway to achieve economic prosperity and environmental sustainability in the fast changing societies of the Arab Gulf. The conference serves as a platform to bring QU researchers together and provide them with the opportunity to interact with their peers. It is also a significant opportunity to discuss the global perspectives in the field of sustainable development, while focusing on the national socio-economic environment.”

H.E. Mrs Ewa Polano said: “The way Qatar is linking its Qatar National Vision 2030 to the 17 different SDGs is impressive to follow and will be highlighted during this conference in an excellent way. The lesson learnt from Sweden on the SDGs is how important it is to involve the whole society at all levels in the implementation of the SDGs, in the so called triple helix approach. The broad agenda and the many different stakeholders participating in here today and tomorrow in this conference really set the tone for this great and high achieving conference at CAS.”

Dr Rashid Al-Kuwari said: “The Qatar National Vision 2030 served as a clear roadmap for Qatar’s development by balancing economic growth with human, social and environmental development. At the same time, the global sustainability agenda is gaining momentum around the world. The 2015 Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals are increasingly driving change and new policies. This conference offers a holistic look at Qatar’s sustainable development achievements. Sustainable development is a multi-facetted approach. To achieve it, we need to link science with policies, and interdisciplinary research with capacity building and knowledge transfer.”

Dr Esmat Zidan said: “What makes this conference the most significant is that it creates a platform for constructive collaboration between academics and researchers from QU and beyond enhancing multi-sectoral engagement towards policies and strategies for sustainable development. We anticipate that this conference will offer a model for effective partnerships among all institutions for the best of Qatari society.”


Notes to Editors:

Media enquiries to Murielle El Hajj Nahas, +974 4403 5790; [email protected]

About Qatar University:
Qatar University is one of the leading institutions of academic and research excellence in the GCC region. It provides high quality undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare competent graduates, primed to shape the future of Qatar. The organization's strong relationship with Qatari society is reflected in its community service efforts and in its vibrant research portfolio that addresses relevant local and regional challenges, advances national goals towards a knowledge-based economy, and contributes actively to the needs and aspirations of the society.