COP28: Greening Higher Education – Transforming Competences and Practices, 6 December 2023

By November 29, 2023 November 29, 2023 COP28 Events, Events

  • When: 6 December 2023, 5:00PM – 6:00PM
  • Where: Greening Education Hub, Green Zone – Expo City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


COP 28 will work to bring the world together to reach an agreement on audacious, realistic, and ambitious solutions to the most serious global issue of our time during this pivotal decade for climate action. To combat climate change, the world community understands the need for education and training. It assists individuals in understanding and responding to the effects of climate catastrophe by providing them with the information, skills, values, and attitudes required to engage as change agents.

At the global level, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement, and the related Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) agenda all call on governments to educate, empower, and involve all stakeholders and key groups in climate change policies and activities. In addition, several UNESCO policies have called for a transformation toward sustainability through education and there is growing understanding that universities play a key role in achieving the Paris targets, emphasizing the imperative for universities to intensify their efforts and innovate their approaches in training the next generation of leaders and change-makers.

At the regional level, for example, the European Strategy for Universities given by the EU emphasizes the role of universities as actors for the combined green and digital transition (European Commission, 2022).


Mobilizing the strengths and insights of different stakeholders within the space of greening higher education, this event aims to provide the following main objectives:

  • To highlight the different roles, responsibilities, and potentials of Higher Education in promoting the achievement of all the SDGs in connection to and with an emphasis on SDG 13.
  • To define and describe the process where sustainability competences can be integrated into all degree programmes, knowledge production and sharing, science technology and innovation transfer at higher education level.
  • To share challenges, good practices and actions forward in greening higher education carried out by UN agencies, civil society, private sector, public sector, youth, students, and Academia.

Two panel discussions with diverse stakeholder focus as well as actionable ways-forward have been planned for the event. Some highlighted outcomes are as follows:

  • With United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation’s (UNOSSC) valuable mission of enabling developing countries to effectively face their development challenges and harness opportunities to address them, UNESCO IESALC and UNOSSC will co-launch the joint project – South-South University Cooperation Network (SUCN) – to support meaningful youth engagement and leadership in Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Transfer and SDG impacts through better attainment in higher education through SUCN and to achieve greater international collaboration across higher education institutions in the Global South and ultimately worldwide, particularly in regards to Green Technology.
  • With outstanding practices in SDG practices at institutional level through teaching and learning, research, management and engagement, University of Helsinki will launch Greening Higher Education workshop for sustainability transformation in higher education institutions.
  • Highlighting the impacts of youth in driving achievement in SDG13 and 2030 Agenda, representatives from the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, UNESCO SDG4 Youth Network, and the Office of Youth Envoy at African Union, youths and students will launch an advocacy campaign for Greening Higher Education.

Other Stakeholders will also be invited to share commitments and actions they will be carrying out in 2024-2025 to co-create the dynamic of action-based outcomes from this event.


1. Opening Remarks

  • H.E. Mr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, United Arab Emirates (TBC)
  • Ms. Stefania Giannini, Assistance Director-General for Education, UNESCO

2. Panel Discussion 1: Eco-system to Support Greening Higher Education

Moderator: Mr. Francesc Pedró, Director, UNESCO IESALC


  • Ms. Dima Al-Khatib, Director, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)
  • H.E. Ms. Chido Cleopatra Mpemba, Youth Envoy, African Union Commission
  • Mr. George Tavola, Engagement Manager, Education Above All (EAA), Qatar
  • Ms. Lydia Logan, VP of Global Education and Workforce Development, IBM, USA

3. Panel Discussion 2: Focus on Higher Education Institutions and Youth

Moderator: Ms. Bosen Lily Liu, Head of Partnership and UN Liaison, UNESCO IESALC


  • Mr. Rami Ratvio, Professor of Greening Education Curriculum, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Delegate of Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation, Namibia (TBC)
  • Delegate of University Association, Brazil
  • University representative from Dubai

4. Way forward & Launch of initiatives

Moderator: Ms. Bosen Lily Liu, Head of Partnership and UN Liaison, UNESCO IESALC


  • UNESCO IESALC and UNOSSC will co-launch South-South Cooperation University Network, highlighting the activity Greening University STI Bootcamp.
  • The University of Helsinki will launch a greening higher education workshop for sustainability transformation in higher education institutions.
  • The Youth and Student representative will launch an advocacy campaign for Greening Higher Education.
  • Other Stakeholders will also be invited to share commitments and actions they will be carrying out in 2024-2025.

5. Closing Remarks:

  • Mr. Felipe Paullier, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs (TBC)