The Role of Saudi Universities in Advancing the SDGs and Saudi Vision 2030
Through SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development1 (2030 Agenda) clearly encourages countries to employ all sectors and stakeholders in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One majorly promising key sector and stakeholder in this effort is academia.
Building on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) long-standing and persistent efforts towards achieving the SDGs and its intertwined commitment to realize its Saudi Vision 2030, the country continues to find new ways to mobilize all sectors, including academia, towards their dual advancement. One of the KSA’s main targets, as noted by H.R.H., Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is to have three Saudi universities among the top 200 worldwide by 2030.
This research analyzes Saudi universities’ activities in the KSA towards advancing the SDGs. The research visualizes and analyzes the correspondence rates between the initiatives of participating Saudi universities and the SDGs components while measuring their involvement in SDG-related research and outreach activities. The research also covers universities’ interest in building partnerships with fellow academic institutions, government institutions, and civil society organizations to advance the SDGs. Additionally, the research analyzes and illustrates the correspondence rates between Saudi universities’ initiatives and the Pillars, Overarching Objectives, and Branch Objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.
While indicating the SDGs that are most advanced by participating Saudi universities’ current initiatives, the analysis identifies poorly targeted SDGs in need of further implantation and focus in the Saudi academic domain. The analysis identifies participating Saudi universities’ willingness to build partnerships to improve their contributions to advancement of the SDGs. These research findings reveal key information about the academic scene in the KSA, which we used to curate nine specific partnerships recommendations tailored to academia that can robustly respond to both the SDGs and Saudi Vision 2030.
The results of this research are intended, in part, to support the Saudi Government with its plans to achieve the 2030 Agenda.