Self-organisation, collaboration, advocacy and activism are critical for the Caribbean to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate action.

Facing the challenge

With the Caribbean facing the hardest hits from climate change, The UWI has been a leading advocate for climate action. As an activist university, we have adopted a collaborative approach with:

Regional governments
Private sector
Civil society
International universities
Multilateral development partners
Other social actors
We are committed to advancing sustainable development practices, which support communities - especially those that are most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Academia: A Voice for Advocacy

Universities have become central to the global development agenda.

Science and research make direct contributions to policies and decisions, which have an immediate impact on lives, jobs and well being.

Harnessing our regional and global networks of knowledge, skills, innovation and entrepreneurship to uplift the communities, The UWI is an activist for climate change.

Our scientists recognised decades ago that climate change, rising sea levels and ocean temperatures would prove to be an existential threat to small island states in the Caribbean and across the globe.

Creating new narratives

Reframing development approaches is critical. With global warming expected to rise significantly by 2030, time is not on our side.

Therefore, the way forward requires decisive and quick action from policymakers and governments. It also means that the average person must play their role in reducing their energy footprint, and the private sector must seek more environmentally friendly, energy-conserving, and ethnical means of production.

For the Caribbean’s Small Island Developing States, co-creating a more sustainable future for our region requires:

  • Promoting social inclusion and environmental sustainability in tandem with more measured approaches to economic growth.
  • Revisiting outmoded positions on development assistance criteria, debt financing, unbridled economic growth, global trade practices, etc.
  • Investing even more in research that will provide solutions for our complex, multidimensional development challenges.

Reconstructing a more sustainable world will require commitment to multilateralism, astute science diplomacy and robust partnerships.

During this UN-declared Decade of Action, we must all intensify our climate action efforts and transfer sustainability thinking and planetary economics into daily practices.

The UWI is a Global Voice for Climate Action

In 2019, our voice was further amplified globally when the International Association of Universities (IAU), an affiliate body and higher education think tank for UNESCO, selected The UWI as its global leader in mobilising higher education and research for sustainable development.

This designation recognised the significant contributions The UWI has already made through decades of research and advocacy on climate change and sustainable development.

Since then, The UWI has established the Global University Consortium on SDG 13, bringing together 10 universities from across the globe. Together, we aim to deepen academia’s role in advancing climate action and its interlinkages across the SDGs.

Working ‘on the ground’

For us, advocacy has two arms – action and communication.

When disaster strikes, our faculty is also on the ground assisting communities with recovery. For example, during the 2017 hurricane season, when several Caribbean countries were pummelled by fierce Category Five storms, The UWI approach mobilised a rapid response phase. This provided emergency relief aid and experts to assist in the areas of greatest need such as infrastructure, housing, agriculture, tourism, and psychosocial counselling.

Simultaneously, the University collaborated with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), as well as Heads of Government, to mobilise its resources and expertise to provide support and relief to the affected territories.

More recently, UNDP awarded The UWI a grant of close to US$100,000 for the implementation of a post-hurricane Dorian resilient recovery programme in the Bahamas.