News Releases

The UWI advances work towards a more resilient Caribbean at World Bank conference

For Release Upon Receipt - June 10, 2019


From May 27-31, 2019, UWI experts joined more than 500 delegates from major development partners, donor agencies and members of the private across the globe, gathered in Barbados to discuss priorities and solutions needed to tackle the Caribbean’s climate and disaster risks. The three-day Understanding Risk (UR) Caribbean conference was organised by the European Union, World Bank and Global Fund for Disaster Risk Reduction in partnership with the Government of Barbados and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

Focusing in on the matter of resilience, The UWI hosted a panel discussion on day three of the conference titled, Towards Resilient States: Tools & Good Practices. The panel which was led by Jeremy Collymore, Disaster Risk Consultant at The UWI, included UWI colleagues, Gabriel Thongs, Geography Lecturer at the St Augustine Campus; Janice Cumberbatch, Social and Environmental Management Lecturer as well as Tara Mackey, Academic Researcher in the field of Water Resource and Environmental Management, both from the University’s Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES). They were joined by Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA and Evangeline Inniss, Deputy Director of Department of Disaster Management, Government of the Virgin Islands.

UR Caribbean has created spaces for The UWI to follow up and collaborate within the framework of the CARICOM pathway to resilient development. The UWI and CDEMA have agreed to join efforts in advancing a methodology and product that allows for more objective measurement of social vulnerability. Additionally, the University will engage in continuing dialogue to roll out a resilience building facility in collaboration with World Bank, CDEMA, the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The UWI also used the UR Caribbean to pilot its Campus Contingency and Continuity of Operations course and conducted an exploration dialogue with regional organisations, World Bank and other stakeholders on the roll out of a regional programme to address the issues of building safety and land use.

Contextualising The UWI’s involvement, Jeremy Collymore noted, “Through its work in the Seismic Research Centre, Geology and Geography Department, CERMES and the Departments of Physics, the University has a long and globally recognised record of contributing science to the understanding risks in the Caribbean. The panel discussion highlighted ongoing research at The UWI that is providing new tools which are beginning to influence policy on coastal and community resilience planning.”

Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Director for the Caribbean underscored, “Understanding a problem is the first step to solving it.” She added that the conference was “an opportunity to renew the Bank’s commitment to work together with other institutions across the Caribbean to invest in preparedness and build resilience.”

Three regional programmes to support planning for long-term resilience and climate-smart growth strategies for Caribbean countries were also launched during the week-long conference. These included, the Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility and the Technical Assistance Programme for Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance in Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories financed by the European Union at US$31 million and US$3.4 million respectively, as well as the Canada Caribbean Resilience Facility financed by the Government of Canada US$15.2 million.


About The UWI

For the past 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and four campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Asia, and Africa such as the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018, and was the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit


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