In a historic achievement, the International University of East Africa (IUEA) was the only university from Uganda to participate in COP28, an internationally renowned global sustainability conference that took place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023. Decisions made at this climate change mitigation conference will impact the world; therefore, leaders and influential figures from across the globe attended the event to submit their input, further highlighting the significance of IUEA’s participation as a crucial pillar in Africa’s education and environmental protection landscape. In this blog, we explore how IUEA advanced sustainability in Africa during the event.
WHAT IS COP?
Conference of the Parties (COP) is an annual conference that convenes all member states of the United Nations Climate Change Convention. As the highest decision-making body of the convention, it reviews the effectiveness of the efforts made by the member states to mitigate climate change, including national communications and emission statements, and advises accordingly. The COP typically meets in Bonn, which was later changed to Berlin, Germany, where the first conference was held in 1995. This conference is a global affair, involving leaders and influential figures from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and among others.
WHAT HAPPENED DURING COP28?
As the name suggests, this year’s conference was the 28th edition of the event and consisted of over 195 exhibits, 285 press conferences, 366 side events, and 152 Global Climate Action Events. The conference space was divided into the Blue Zone, controlled by the UN where the conference and its events took place, and the Green Zone, where stakeholders from the UAE came together to casually discuss a road map to a net-zero future. COP28 also featured a live blog providing daily updates.
Week One: 30th November – 6th December 2023
- The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) set a sobering tone by announcing that 2023 is projected to be the warmest year on record.
- Several countries pledged a total of about 300 million USD to the Loss and Damage Fund, financing climate change impact reduction projects.
- A global stock-take assessed the progress made globally in mitigating climate change.
- Discussions focused on the inclusion of women and indigenous people in climate change policies.
- The first-ever COP Health Day hosted discussions on the impact of climate change on human health.
Week Two: 6th – 12th December, 2023
- An Urbanisation and Transport Day accommodated discussions on how to create more sustainable cities and transport systems.
- A Children and Education Day ensured that youth were given a voice and equipped with the skills to combat climate change.
- A Food and Agriculture Day focused on the impact of climate change on food security and how to safeguard the agricultural sector
WHAT DID IUEA PRESENT DURING THE EVENT?
Speaking of education, transportation, and agriculture, IUEA debuted its eye-opening research in e-mobility, climate-smart agriculture, and research on carbon credits, among other incredible additions to the global discussion on climate change. The university’s delegation consisted of the Chancellor, Ambassador Dr. Amina Mohamed; its Vice Chancellor, Professor Emeka Akaezuwa; its Chairman of Council, Ambassador Moses Kiwe Ssebunya; its Promoter, Mr. Alwi Hassan; and its Board of Trustee member, Ambassador Hassan Alwi. As an institution dedicated to developing practical solutions, IUEA also highlighted the practical application of its research in the form of:
- Esusfarm: An initiative that improves food security by supporting smallholder farmers and making the agricultural value chain more efficient.
- An Electric Tractor: A means of environmentally friendly farming.
- Recycling Lab: A hub for learning and deliberating about recycling.
What is IUEA doing to protect the environment?
In addition to the innovations and research showcased at the event, IUEA has fostered partnerships and birthed innovations designed to better the environment and communities. In 2023 alone, IUEA has:
- Signed an MOU with NEMA that enhances environmental conservation efforts through research and training.
- Partnered with Climate Change Africa East Africa (CCAEA) to discuss and improve food security.
- Hosted the 6th ICCAUA which discussed and promoted the creation of sustainable cities and transport systems.
- Partnered with Uganda’s Tooro Kingdom to promote climate change mitigation, agriculture and responsible tourism.
ACCOMPLISHMENT OF IUEA AT COP28
In addition to advancing climate change mitigation efforts with its groundbreaking research, IUEA proudly announced its participation in the African Carbon Consortia (ACC), a revolutionary initiative in partnership with Wuhan University of the People’s Republic of China and Blue Sky Carbon (Hong Kong). This one-of-a-kind partnership aims to put in place a firm framework for sustainable carbon management in Africa, combining academic expertise with a commitment to environmental stewardship. By spearheading this consortium set to shape the landscape of carbon policies and markets on the continent, IUEA illustrates its dedication to excellence, collaboration, and creating a lasting positive impact on the environment and society. Thus affirming the university as a pioneer in African carbon innovation.
Does IUEA have any Environmental Protection and Management programmes?
IUEA is wholly dedicated to the promotion and adoption of environmentally friendly practices. Safeguarding the future is paramount, thus IUEA includes environmental awareness and protection in all its programmes. The aforementioned 6th ICCAUA, for example, promoted environmentally friendly architecture while the IUEA Electric Tractor was the brainchild of our Electrical Engineering programme. However, for a more in-depth analysis of environmental protection, politics, ethics, sociology and economics, IUEA offers an internationally accredited Environmental Science and Management programme.
IUEA’s participation in COP28 not only highlighted its commitment to advancing environmentally friendly practices but also played a crucial role in ensuring that Africa’s perspectives and contributions were a major part of shaping decisions of global consequence. This honour is a testament to our unwavering dedication to safeguarding the future through not just academic excellence but also global citizenship, and environmental stewardship. The groundbreaking partnership set to revolutionise carbon management in Africa reinforces IUEA’s mission not only to inspire but also to initiate positive change on a global scale.