News Releases

UWI Professor Appointed to Prestigious Roles at the United Nations

For Release Upon Receipt - November 17, 2023

St. Augustine

 Professor Michelle Mycoo

 ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – 17 November 2023 –The University of the West Indies (The UWI) proudly announces that Professor Michelle Mycoo, has achieved significant international recognition through her recent appointments by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Professor Mycoo, is also a noted authority on Climate Change and brings a rich, multi-disciplinary perspective to these roles. Her extensive research spans urbanization and urban policy, climate change adaptation, water resources management, coastal zone management, and disaster risk reduction.

 In 2022, Professor Mycoo was appointed Vice President of UNESCO’s Scientific Advisory Committee of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme. Professor Mycoo is one of just nine internationally acclaimed experts from diverse Social Sciences fields. With her extensive background as a Geographer, Urban Planner, and Climate Change Scientist, she plays a pivotal role in this influential initiative. Her contribution is critical in bridging the gap between research and policy, as well as between knowledge and action, a fundamental part of driving positive social change for inclusive and sustainable development. In her capacity, Professor Mycoo is instrumental in conceptualizing programmes, crafting strategies, and offering scientific advisory research, particularly in relation to MOST projects.

Further elevating her international stature, Professor Mycoo was selected in 2023 as 1 of 20 distinguished scholars from across the global scientific community by a UNESCO-International Scientific Committee Foresight Expert Panel. Coinciding with her achievement, the United Nations is actively pursuing a transformative agenda. Describing its mission, the UN emphasizes its commitment to “be rejuvenated by a forward-thinking culture and empowered by cutting-edge skills for the twenty-first century – to turbocharge its support to people and planet”. This ambitious endeavor, known as the UN 2.0 “Quintet of Change”, combines innovation, data, digital technology, foresight, and behavioral science.

 Her significant role in the United Nations Environmental Programme (2022-2023) is pivotal in shaping the Programme of Work and Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-2025. As a scientist, she's instrumental in the UNEP Science-Policy Programme. Here, she focuses on analyzing and implementing the insights from the Panel's foresight on emerging trends and signals. This critical work aims to understand the potential impacts of disruptive changes, guiding UNEP to prioritize and act effectively in areas that demand immediate attention.

 Additionally, in 2023, Professor Mycoo distinguished herself as 1 of only 15 global experts who conducted the scientific review of the draft United Nations 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report. Launched at the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Summit in New York, September 2023, this critical report focuses on accelerating action to address key global challenges. This urgency is underscored as the world approaches the mid-point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a commitment made by numerous countries in 2015. The 2030 Agenda outlines a global blueprint aimed at fostering dignity, peace, and prosperity for both people and the planet, both now and in the future. Nations worldwide are striving to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined in this agenda by 2030.

 Titled “Times of Crisis, Times of Change: Science for Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Development,” the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report reveals a concerning truth: as we approach 2030, progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is significantly off track. This lag in advancement, already evident in crucial areas like climate action, biodiversity loss and inequality, worsened with the onset of the pandemic. Additionally, the report highlights substantial setbacks in critical goals such as poverty eradication, gender equality, education, and the elimination of hunger.

 Professor Mycoo’s appointments and her influential contributions to these significant global initiatives are a testament to her expertise and The University’s commitment to fostering international academic collaboration and sustainable development.


About The University of the West Indies

 The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region for the past 75 years.

 From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

 The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

 The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

 2023 marks The UWI’s 75th anniversary. The Diamond jubilee milestone themed “UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising.” features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University.

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