Research staff from Campus Gandia of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) are taking part in the “INtegration of sustainable deVelOpment goaLs in uniVErsities for better climatE change management (INVOLVE)” project, whose aim is to build a strategy to achieve Sustainable Development Goals that improve climate change management, transforming a higher education institution in Egypt into an environmentally sustainable campus.
Collaborating alongside the Egyptian universities, universities from Slovenia, Spain, Italy and Portugal are also taking part in the project, which launched last January. As far as the Spanish participation goes, the team led by Campus Gandia research professor, Jaime Lloret,, is in charge of coordinating various work packages, including “determining and analyzing the contribution of universities to the SDGs and fomenting the internal capacity of the universities to achieve the SDGs.”
The aim, according to Lloret, is “to strengthen the role of universities in achieving the environmental SDGs by improving their organizational governance capacities and creating current and future SDG implementers, establishing or improving operational facilities that are necessary for the implementation of innovative practices.”
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL SDGs
In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an action plan for people, the planet and prosperity that sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 comprehensive and interdependent targets, encompassing the economic, social and environmental spheres.
At an environmental level, it points to the urgent need to take measures to combat climate change and its effects; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources; protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems; sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Egypt, like many other countries, is subject to diverse and extreme climatic conditions. The situation is out of control, witn negative effects brought on by the increased frequency and intensity of hot weather and droughts. Recent publications have already echoed this negative impact and have warned that Alexandria could be lost to rising sea levels by 2050.
With this in mind, the INVOLVE project will address the link between the ecofriendly status of integrated territorial investments and the implementation of the environmental dimension in Egypt. However, the lack of awareness of the SDGs and the negative impacts of not implementing them, especially those related to the environmental issue in society, makes the work difficult. Therefore, INVOLVE promotes awareness and achievement of the SDGs through various targeted training schemes taught by European experts. Specifically, “the experience of the European researchers will be transmitted to Egyptian university staff members, in matters such as observation and collection of environmental data.”
ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE CAMPUS
To achieve its objective, INVOLVE, with a budget of 836,594 euros, will create a strategy for the governance and management of universities in Egypt, taking the societal role of the University into account, as well as its fundamental role in achieving the SDGs. The Universities’ Center for Sustainable Development (COSUDE) will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to address the environmental SDGs and improve climate change management. “The program includes a data collection phase and parallel implementation stages. In addition, a quality plan will be established to monitor and evaluate the environmentally sustainable campuses created through the project.”
Source: Laida Frasquet Pascual, Campus Gandia Office of Communications