A large number of countries in the world are striving to reach the sustainable development goals launched by the United Nations in its 2015 General Assembly. The policy of sustainable development is an important factor in the development of different countries around the world, and the adoption of policies of sustainability by developing countries may lead to their development faster than expected.
Higher education and sustainable development goals
Perhaps one of the most important factors facilitating the achievement of these goals is the policy of higher education in sustainable development through the procedures followed by universities and research centers affiliated with higher education. Universities have a distinguished position in achieving the goals of sustainable development because they are concerned with the production of scientific, technological, and social knowledge. In this context, Damascus University seeks to achieve sustainable development goals through scientific research and studies and an interest in increasing green spaces within its institutions and university hospitals.
Damascus University has started a policy of reaching sustainable development goals since 2018 through several procedures, the most important of which is the university’s procedures for using clean and renewable energies and preserving the green space in the university.
SDGs of Damascus University
According to one of the studies on the reality of sustainable development at the University of Damascus, sustainable development research carried out at the university exceeded 210 research projects in the year 2022. During this year, the university achieved a set of goals in sustainable development. This number of published research articles, which are abstracted and indexed in the Scopus scientific database, represents more than 45% of the total published papers by the authors from Damascus University. This means that more than 45% of the published papers by Damascus University are SDG research.
Based on that study, the third goal was one of the most successful goals achieved by the university according to the research data of the SciVal database, which is the main database for classifying the SDGs research, and the result is attributed to both the digital transformation policy and the health services of university hospitals.
The green university and clean energy
The aforementioned study indicates that the most prominent indicator of sustainable development applied by the University of Damascus in accordance with the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 is the green area, which reached 63% of the total area of the university, which constitutes a large percentage of the total green area of Damascus Governorate. In this context, Damascus University seeks to be one of the greenest universities in the world.
According to that study, the percentage of energy produced from clean and renewable sources used at Damascus University is estimated at more than 11% of the total consumption of electrical energy in all university buildings and branches. This is due to the use of photovoltaic solar cells to generate electricity, in addition to the use of thermal solar cells to heat water in a large number of colleges and university hospitals at the university. Also, according to the study, this led to a reduction in the amount of carbon emissions per minute by 5793 kilograms of CO2 equivalent.
Damascus University seeks to move forward in reaching the goals of sustainable development set by the United Nations through a number of important future actions. In the year 2023, Damascus University established an office and a special center for sustainable development at the university to organise sustainable development research at the university, in addition to raising student and community awareness of the importance of sustainable development in the country’s future.
Al-Raeei, M. (2023). Analysing of the sustainable development goals in Damascus University during Syrian crisis using the strategy in the university and the bibliometrics data from SciVal. Discover Sustainability, 4(1), 24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2021.124835