News Releases

The UWI to host inaugural meeting of Commonwealth universities to collaborate on climate resilience

For Release Upon Receipt - July 4, 2019

St. Augustine

From July 5 to 8, 2019, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Regional Headquarters in Jamaica will be the stage for the first-ever meeting of universities across the Commonwealth to collaborate on climate challenges and resilience in their countries.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), with its membership of an estimated 500 institutions in over 50 countries. It recognises that universities have a critical role to play in building climate resilience across the Commonwealth, through enhancing their own resilience and supporting local communities, businesses, and governments. For this reason, in 2018, the ACU established a Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network (CCRN) to link universities in climate vulnerable settings and with those universities with relevant expertise, to develop and exchange knowledge and practice in climate resilience and adaptation.

The Network’s inaugural four-day meeting—convened in partnership with The UWI, the South Pacific and Fiji National University—is expected to provide a structured opportunity to share good practice and explore potential for collaboration among Commonwealth universities.

 On July 5, Coordinator of The UWI’s Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Director of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM), Dr David Smith, along with Mr Jeremy Collymore, Consultant, Disaster Resilience are expected to deliver remarks, opening the meeting. The ensuing agenda over the four days will include evaluation of CCRN’s progress to date in activities such as its survey of institutional loss and currently resilience planning practice in the Caribbean. A good practice sharing/collaboration clinic on tools for disaster planning, and working group/technical sessions and field visits to The UWI’s facilities will enable development of proposals to support marine research, postgraduate mobility and data management capacity for Commonwealth Small States. The field visits will include Discovery Bay Marine & Field Laboratory as well as Blue Mountains carded for July 7.  On July 8, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI and President of the ACU, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles will deliver the feature address, to be followed by closing hearings on the Network’s programme of future activities, operations and governance.

The UWI’s hosting of this meeting is demonstration of its continued commitment to supporting climate action as part of its Triple A Strategy (Strategic Plan 2017-2022) as it seeks to make global impact. Earlier this year, the International Association of Universities (IAU) selected The UWI as its global leader in the mobilisation of research and advocacy for the achievement of a climate-smart world. The IAU designated this charge in recognition of the University’s decades of world class research on climate change and sustainable development.

This critical collaboration on climate resilience supports the UN’s Sustainable Goal on climate action (SDG 13), which will be reviewed next week in New York at its High-Level Political Forum 2019 under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The UWI will also be represented in a number of events during this Forum from July 10 through 12. 


Notes to the Editor

Related Story

The UWI selected to lead Climate-Smart World

High-Level Political Forum 2019

The UWI will be represented in a number of other events during the High-Level Political Forum 2019 under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which will be held from Tuesday, 9 July, to Thursday, 18 July 2019. A schedule follows: 

Wed 10 July (10am EST)

The International Association of Universities (IAU) High Level Political Forum (HLPF) Workshop - Innovative approaches and partnerships to strengthen the role of educators & academia to implement the SDGs: The UWI’s Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Director of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM), Dr David Smith is a presenter.

 UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)/ United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNDESA) Panel Discussion on Perspectives of Small Island States: The UWI’s Director of Development, Dr Stacy Richards-Kennedy is the lead discussant.

Thurs 11 July (6.30pm-8.30pm EST)

Mind Matters More Than Money: Boosting Cognitive Competences for Sustainable Development through Science and Education hosted by Permanent Missions of Germany, Jamaica and Finland to the United Nations in collaboration with The UWI, Leopoldine, SKYE and International Science Council: The UWI’s Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Director of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM), Dr David Smith is a presenter.

Friday 12 July (1pm-2:30pm EST)

The UWI-organised Symposium on Research & Innovation for Climate Action in collaboration with UNDESA: The UWI’s Director of Development, Dr Stacy Richards-Kennedy will serve as moderator; The UWI’s Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Director of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM), Dr David Smith is a presenter. Presentations will also be made by other members of the Global University Consortium on SDG 13 including University of Bergen (Norway), TERI School of Advanced Studies (India) and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

About The UWI

For over 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, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); 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 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. The UWI 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.)