Partnerships are one of the critical pathways countries, development agencies, businesses, scientists, and other stakeholders can take to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda to cap global warming temperatures by 2030, and entrench climate-friendly practices. This was the sentiment of Ugo Blanco, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean speaking on the developmental agency’s recent partnership with The University of the West Indies (UWI) which launched the Climate Action Portal website in December 2020.
The website, which received a special merit award in the website category of the prestigious 36th annual Educational Advertising Awards (EduADAwards), is a repository of information on regional work on climate resilience building and highlights topics ranging from coral reef rehabilitation to sargassum seaweed innovation. The resource is free to academia and the general public and features the joint work of the two organisations. Through the university’s research, which impacts global insight policies, The UWI supports UNDP’s mandate to integrate climate risks into national and sub-national development planning, and provide long-term support to countries in the pursuit of carbon-neutral and sustainable economies.
While universities play a direct role in research, and bolstering academic collections, they are also bridging the gaps in education and accelerating capacity building. Recognising the massive effects climate change has on the Caribbean and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), UNDP has partnered with The UWI to drive climate change solutions for the region and the website is one such tool. “Our partnership with The UWI supports our aim of promoting technical and investment cooperation among nations and advocates for change, and connecting countries to the knowledge, experience and resources that help people to build better lives.” Blanco stated, adding, “We have seen the devastating effects of strong hurricanes and other natural disasters. With our increasing emphasis on assisting the most vulnerable and least developed nations, the Caribbean is a focal point in our fight against climate change and global warming.”
Dr. Rhonda Jaipaul-O’Garro, University Director, Marketing & Communications of The UWI added, “UNDP has recognised The UWI’s role as a global leader in the mobilisation of research and advocacy, and the two institutions share a legacy of collaboration in a wide range of areas. As an activist university, The UWI is keenly aware of its critical role in helping the Caribbean region tackle the urgent threat of climate change. Through our Office of Global Partnerships and Sustainable Futures, our regional university has been strengthening collaborations with multilateral development agencies, the public and private sectors and civil society linked to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and SDG-13, in particular.” She explained further, “One of the key areas of response is public education, so digital assets like this website are significant in increasing awareness of the issues, initiatives and progress in our region. We're particularly proud to have the UNDP as an ally in this effort to find solutions, expand knowledge and influence policy and practice to address climate change.”
UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean is supporting countries by assisting in the development of strategic policies, partnerships, and skills. Forming strategic partnerships with stakeholders such as The UWI, complements regional efforts executed with and by other international development agencies, donors, civil society, national governments and local stakeholders. The UWI and UNDP have partnered, not just in the realm of research, but also on projects such as the UWI-UNDP Public Policy Think Tank for a Blue Economy – the first of its kind in the region.
Interested persons can visit the website https://www.uwi.edu/climateaction/
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UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at www.bb.undp.org or follow at @UNDPBarbados
About The UWI
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. 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 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. The UWI is also featured among the top 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.
For more, visit www.uwi.edu.