- Our Work
Amplifying the voice of academia to advocate for climate change on the global stage is a logical move, as it merges knowledge, science, and humanitarian insight.
Scientific inquiry, data and evidence-informed policies are required to overcome social, economic, and environmental challenges, caused by climate change, and universities provide the necessary foundation of research. Higher education has been increasingly involved in sustainability debates at local and regional levels, as well as in global discussions and development processes.
It is within this framework, that The University of the West Indies (The UWI) was selected to lead the International Association of Universities’ (IAU) Global Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD), in 2019. The cluster comprises 16 universities, from 16 countries, from five UNESCO regions.
This designation recognised the significant contributions The UWI had already made through decades of research and advocacy on climate change and sustainable development, including climate modelling, environmental protection, marine ecosystems, disaster risk reduction and resilience and climate and eco-systems policy initiatives.
In boosting universities’ contribution to development solutions, the IAU created a network of universities, worldwide, who would form clusters that focused on individual sustainable development goals crafted by the United Nations.
Clusters advocate for the key role that higher education institutions play in achieving the United Nations’ Agenda 2030. At the same time, they aim to increase and accelerate connections between universities of different natures and purpose in an innovative way.
The cluster serves as a resource and networking hub for universities to establish partnerships, access best practices, and scale up their activities. It also aims to be a global voice for higher education in sustainable development debates, informing international organizations and national governments about universities’ role in achieving the SDGs, and informing decision-making at local and global policy levels.
The IAU leads SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), and is an affiliate body and higher education think tank for UNESCO.
For its cluster, the focus is climate action. The University of the West Indies (The UWI) was nominated to lead Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG-13), which focuses on what is a grave issue for much of the world.
The UWI’s Climate Change Research Cluster is led by Professors John Agard, Michael Taylor, and David Smith, and is coordinated by his advisor, Jeremy Collymore, Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Development, and Resilience Consultant to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for the global impact of their research and teaching.
Convening the collective knowledge, research power and innovative thrust of its cluster of 16 universities, The UWI has noted several achievements with its Global University Consortium on SDG-13.
Within its first year, the Consortium has successfully advanced knowledge exchange, research collaborations, advocacy, South-South, and triangular cooperation.Here are some key achievements:
Against this global backdrop, the SUNY-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development (CLSD) in collaboration with the Global University Consortium on SDG 13, followed with a symposium entitled “Global Partnerships for Climate Action” in September 2019 at the SUNY Global Center in New York.
As it moves forward, the Consortium continues to build a solid foundation for joint academic programmes, online courses, faculty exchange and student mobility to deepen learning and ensure the cross fertilization of ideas to tackle climate change.
Here’s what these Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) mean?
The University of the West Indies (Convenor)
Universidad de los Andes (Colombia)
The University of Aruba (Aruba)
University of Ghana (Ghana)
University of Witwatersrand (South Africa)
TERI School of Advanced Studies (India)
The University of the South Pacific (South Pacific)
University of Bergen (Norway)
University of Bristol (UK)
University of Waterloo (Canada)
State University of New York (USA)