News Releases

UWI’s Dr David Smith Selected for Team to Draft UN Global Sustainable Development Report

For Release Upon Receipt - January 10, 2017


Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. January 10, 2017.  Coordinator of the Institute for Sustainable Development at The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Dr David Smith was recently selected among a group of international eminent scientists and experts to work on the United Nations (UN) Global Sustainable Development Report. Before demitting office in 2016, Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Dr Smith and 14 others to draft the Report which is due to be published in 2019. Dr Smith who is also Coordinator of the University Consortium for Small Island States and the Caribbean Chair for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network is the only representative on the team from the Caribbean.  

The Global Sustainable Development Report is a comprehensive document intended to provide guidance from a scientific perspective to support implementation of the recently agreed UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. It is a key component of the mechanism to follow up and review progress of the 2030 Agenda and aims to strengthen the science-policy interface and provide a strong evidence-based instrument to support policymakers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development. This Report, produced every four years, also informs the high-level political forum convened under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. It will be available for a wide range of stakeholders, including business and civil society as well as the wide public. Commenting on his appointment, Dr Smith said, “Attaining Sustainable Development is vital for the people of the world, I hope that the report will provide solutions to help the countries of the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. I look forward to contributing to it.” 

Dr Smith was nominated for the group by UN Member State, Jamaica. He has over 20 years of  post-doctoral experience in academia, civil society, the private sector and the United Nations; focusing on Conservation, Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Financing, Communication and Disaster Risk Reduction. He is a Senior Fellow of the Synergos Institute in New York - a network of distinguished international civil society leaders committed to collaborative efforts to address the underlying causes of poverty and inequity. Dr Smith has previously held roles such as Regional Councillor and Chair of the Council’s Business Committee of IUCN – The World Conservation Union, a member of the Board of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and President of the Caribbean Conservation Association. He was also previously involved in the UN as an expert reviewer for its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters (SREX). 

The group of scientists and experts were appointed after UN Member States requested the formation of an independent team to draft the report.  The 15 were chosen following an extensive consultation process with Member States and relevant United Nations organisations.  The group is diverse, seeking to balance a wide range of relevant scientific disciplines, expertise and regional perspectives. Its members will continue through to the high-level political forum on sustainable development in the fall of 2019, where its report will be considered as part of the global review of progress on the 2030 Agenda.  

Dr Endah Murniningtyas from Indonesia and Professor Peter Messerli from Switzerland will serve as co-chairs of the group. The group will be supported by a task team co-chaired by six entities:  the United Nations Secretariat; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); and the World Bank. 

More information on the independent group of scientists and the Report can be found at


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in BarbadosJamaicaTrinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. For more information, visit

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)