SDG 13: CLIMATE ACTION

The UAE government places climate change at the top of the government’s list of policy priorities, evident from the establishment of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) in 2016. Similar to all countries, the UAE is prone to the impacts of climate change if left unmanaged; ranging from increased numbers of extreme weather events, sea level rises, and indirectly, disruptions in food supplies due to other countries’ vulnerability to climate change. For all those reasons, MOCCAE is leading the way by proposing legislations, plans, strategies and policies to mitigate the impact of climate change in the UAE. In addition, MOCCAE actively engages in international climate change negotiations through close coordination with all concerned stakeholders to address global climate challenges.

Students from Canadian University Dubai (CUD) got the chance to accompany His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, on a two-hour educational tour during their recent field trip to Emirates Bio Farm in Al Ain.

Organized by Dr. Rami El Khatib, Associate Professor and Dean of Student Affairs, the field trip aimed to introduce senior students from CUD’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences to the principles of organic farming and the best practices in agriculture and integrated pest management, with a focus on maintaining a clean environment and preserving biodiversity.

Visiting the facility at the same time, His Excellency Dr. Thani and his team interacted with CUD students while they observed the various growing and harvesting activities taking place across the farm. Speaking about the experience, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Management student, Shaikha Mohammed, said, “This visit revealed to me why bio farming is so important, not just from an environmental perspective, but also in terms of food safety and health.

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The purpose of the Gardening club is to raise awareness in the university and in the community about caring for the environment, the plants that produce the oxygen we need, the agricultural part that helps in the production of nutritional foods and the prevention of soil erosion.

The study of plant biodiversity and its techniques are at the forefront of the efforts to achieve a green campus in it, visitors will be able to discover the research activity of the club, which works with methods capable of identifying and describing in detail the diversity of existing plant species, with the in order to improve its preservation.

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Under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, presided by His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the Canadian University Dubai (CUD) in association with the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Canada, hosted the “Conference on Global Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities”. Held from April 23 - 25, the 3-day event examined the challenges and opportunities for integrating the three key issues of global climate change, biodiversity and sustainability in the MENA region.

The conference featured renowned international and local climate change experts, conservationists and academics. Among the keynote speakers were Dr. Francisco Dallmeier, Senior Conservation Biologist, Director of the Smithsonian Center for Conservation and Sustainability; Dr. Daniel Scott, Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo who praised the UAE for its innovation and positive response to the issues of climate change; Dr. Adam Fenech, Nobel Laureate and Director, Climate Research Lab, UPEI, Leanne Bilodeau, Associate Director Sustainability Operations, The University of British Columbia, and Mashael Al Ansari, Climate Change Specialist at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

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In an exciting and innovative extension to its existing transfer arrangements with the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has signed an agreement that will enable students in the UAE to complete a unique dual degree program combining environmental studies and climate change.

The agreement, which was signed recently by CUD Chancellor, Mr. Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, and President and Vice Chancellor of UPEI, Dr. Alaa Abd El-Aziz, allows students to undertake two years’ study in CUD’s Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Management program and then transfer to Canada where they can complete their studies in environment and climate change at UPEI. The student can also finish their degree in Dubai and graduate with a dual recognition.

This new collaboration will further cement CUD’s ties with the Maritime Province’s premier higher education institution and lays the foundations for the development of a co-degree combining environmental studies, environmental sciences and climate change, which students could complete either in Dubai or in Canada.

Established in 1969, UPEI has developed a growing reputation as a leader in education, research, innovation and academic excellence. The institution is among several Universities in Canada that hold a general partnership agreement with CUD, providing for a range of different collaboration opportunities, including student transfer and further education.

The initiative will also advance CUD’s strategic approach to supporting the UAE National Climate Change Plan, which calls for the reorientation and upgrading of higher education curricula to prepare the future workforce for the green economy.

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Dr. Rami El Khatib, Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at Canadian University Dubai (CUD) had been discussing the issues associated with global climate change at a recent conference hosted by the North American International School.

Under the theme ‘Change Climate Change – Road to Marrakech Conference’ Dr. El Khatib delivered a keynote speech at the youth-focused event, which was organized by Green Hope UAE. He was also called upon to join the judging panel for the environmental competitions that took place alongside the Conference.

The event was organized in the run up to the 22nd session of the United Nations Conference of the Parties, which will take place in November in Marrakech, with the aim of addressing issues of global climate change. Bringing together students from schools across Dubai, it aimed to unite young people in developing a shared vision for a sustainable future.

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Climate change poses major risks for Gulf countries, potentially affecting their food security, water processing, and public health to an alarming extent, in a region where temperatures are already critically high. These countries have been undergoing an exponential economic and population growth, accompanied by a sustained growth in Greenhouse Gas emissions. To curb climate change, besides switching towards an energy mix with less fossil fuels, it is urgent to foster low-carbon lifestyles amongst the residents: for instance, in terms of transportation and energy consumption.

Dr Aseel Takshe, Assistant Professor and Head of the Environmental Health Sciences Department and Dr David Contu, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Management, were two Canadian University Dubai faculty members on this important project. The project aims to find and assess measures that could help make climate change mitigation measures more acceptable in the Gulf region. To this end, a central part of the investigation is to contribute to understanding what drives behaviours (what people do) and attitudes (what people think) around climate change. The project will focus on the following countries: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. The study will include collecting qualitative data using focus groups to inform the subsequent preparation of the online surveys to be administered across the three countries, producing a rich and unique dataset. Findings and recommendations will be shared in the form of publications and seminars.

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