Sustainable development is arguably one of the most important issues facing humankind today. Over recent decades, calls for sustainable development have travelled from the green wings of national and international policy debates to limelight centre stage, and the pressures that inform calls for sustainability look set increasingly to impact on the everyday lives of millions around the globe. We have developed technology that allows us to intervene in nature’s arrangements, often without full knowledge of the implications. We urgently need to consider the limits of human use and abuse of the planet’s finite resources, including the vexed questions of population growth and increasing evidence of conflicts over access to resources. The future of our planet and that of future generations depends on getting sustainability right.
The objective of the Qatar University sustainable development initiative is to inform faculty and students and wider Qatari society about the issues of development and sustainability. It seeks to increase awareness of sustainable development and its implications, and promote understanding of the problems and debates that surround it today. It strives to do so by furthering understanding of human-environment relations and the stresses currently put on the planet by our behaviour and technology. The initiative supports interdisciplinary investigation into the systemic and global nature of the social-environmental dilemmas we collectively face. And it articulates Qatar’s role in promoting a more sustainable national and international future.
The challenges addressed by sustainable development make an interdisciplinary approach mandatory. The Departments at Qatar University having faculty with sustainable development interests include the Departments of International Relations, Social Sciences, Biological & Environmental Science, Environmental Studies Centre, Engineering, Economics, Humanities, Shariah, Health Sciences, Architecture & Urban Planning, Materials Technology Unit, Chemistry & Earth Sciences.