The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I. Tuesday, April 5, 2022. — The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and UNDP have been ‘walking the talk’ on several blue economy-related initiatives since the two entities joined forces in 2019 to drive climate change solutions for the Caribbean.
Among the tangible collaboration initiatives is a joint think-tank on public policy for the Blue Economy developed by The UWI and UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean to tackle development issues and strengthen development effectiveness. On Monday, April 4 the think-tank also commonly referred to as Blue Economists for the Caribbean hosted a high-level forum themed, Strengthening Research-Policy Linkages for a Thriving Blue Economy in the Caribbean to showcase some of the work advanced to date.
The Honourable Dean Jonas, Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy for Antigua and Barbuda delivered opening remarks. He applauded The UWI and UNDP and expressed the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s enthusiasm for the establishment of The UWI’s Centre for Excellence for Oceanography and the Blue Economy at the Five Islands Campus, one of the initiatives realised following the collaboration. The Centre, he said, “illustrates the range of potential areas for partnership.” He added, “Forming strategic partnerships with stakeholders such as The UWI complements regional efforts executed with, and by other international development agencies, donors, civil society, national government and local stakeholders.”
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The UWI and Luis Felipe López-Calva, UN Assistant General Secretary, and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean also delivered remarks at the forum which was chaired by Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy, whose office spearheaded the partnership between The UWI and UNDP.
Vice-Chancellor Beckles expressed pride at the progress from the partnership. “I'm happy to report that after three years, what I have seen is the development of a best practice in terms of partnerships, activism, and establishing a track record for getting things done. We know that MOUs are not always ‘MO-DOs’ by tradition. But this is an instance in which The UWI and UNDP have been establishing a legacy of action.” He declared, “We are going to be able to demonstrate at the highest possible level that UWI will be a best-case scenario in the implementation of agreed positions and policies.”
Following the opening remarks were reports on the key areas of research-policy work undertaken since the signing of the partnership agreement in 2019. This segment featured presentations from Dr. Julian Roberts, Managing Director, Blue Resources Ltd on Challenges and Opportunities for the Blue Economy in the Caribbean; Dr. Akshai Mansingh, Dean, Faculty of Sport, The UWI; Mr. Matthew Goldie-Scot, Managing Director, Thuso Group on Climate Change and Sport and Dr. Emily Dick-Forde, Management Committee Member at The UWI Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development on the UWI Flagship Initiative: Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development (GISCRD).
View the event here