An MoU to establish a Centre for Excellence for Oceanography and the Blue Economy at the Five Islands Campus was signed in January 2021. The collaboration was formalised by the PM of Antigua and Barbuda, the Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, and Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) to achieve this goal.
The Centre will aim to advance intellectual progress and strengthen institutional capacity in the areas of marine science and the blue economy while benefitting from the societal, economic and environmental opportunities for the Caribbean within this emerging sector.
Antigua and Barbuda, and the rest of the Caribbean region, stand to benefit from an emerging industry worth US$2.5 trillion globally through the sustainable diversification of the economy into areas such as aquaculture, marine renewable energy, biotechnology and sea vegetable farming. As a 'large ocean state', Antigua and Barbuda has been active in key blue economy initiatives, including co-championing the Commonwealth Blue Charter's Sustainable Blue Economy Action Group, which encourages better stewardship of 'blue resources'.
PM of Antigua and Barbuda, The Honourable Gaston Browne, pledged his government’s support for the Centre, observing that “its realisation will require our collective ingenuity and commitment to identify and secure the necessary resources to advance this important ambition.” He invited stakeholders to support the establishment of the Centre.
This vision for the Centre builds on The UWI’s wider reputation for leading climate action. The UWI’s advocacy on the SDGs and the 2030 development agenda have received global acknowledgement.