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Network Will Harness Resources For Climate Resilience Fight

Fiji hosted the first meeting for the Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network yesterday. The meeting was a result of a proposal from the University of the West Indies vice chancellor Hillary
23 Oct 2018 12:49
Network Will Harness Resources For Climate Resilience Fight
Participants at the Commenwealth Climate Resilience Network Confrence at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel in Suva on October 22, 2018. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Fiji hosted the first meeting for the Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network yesterday.

The meeting was a result of a proposal from the University of the West Indies vice chancellor Hillary Beckles with the Fiji National University and University of the South Pacific in preparation for the 20th Commonwealth Conference of Education Ministers (CCEM).

The Association of Commonwealth Universities secretary general Joanna Newman said the meeting was approved by the CCEM.

“At CCEM, Education Ministers approved the creation of the Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network, to harness the combined resources of our member universities in this critical area,” she said.

“This is noted in the Nadi Declaration and we will be reporting the progress to ministers at the next CCEM in Nairobi in 2021.

“We have just spoken to Commonwealth Finance Ministers in Bali at their annual meeting.

“It is therefore fitting to be back in Fiji for the launch of the network, both as a direct follow up to CCEM, and reflecting the global leadership on climate and oceans provided by Fiji in chairing COP23.

“The ACU is committed to harnessing the power of our network of over 500 universities in varying contexts to support climate resilience through their teaching and learning, research and engagement with society.

“This multidisciplinary network will focus on both enhancing the resilience of universities themselves and enhancing their contribution to the resilience of their nations.

“This is truly a network of and for the Commonwealth – connecting universities with shared values and diverse experiences to support each other and the local, national and international communities that they serve.”

Ms Newman said that ACU has provided start-up funding for the network and for the meeting held yesterday.

“We are now seeking the active support of member governments for the establishment of a network secretariat and programme of action, as well as pursuing other sources of external funding,” she said.

“We are also using our expertise in academic mobility to support the network and address related issues. We are passionate about the role of Higher Education in society. Universities that are resilient – that are able to withstand the impacts of climate and natural and man-made disasters – are also better able to support their communities and governments.

“We argue that they have a crucial contribution to make to government initiatives in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

“Just think of some of the technologies that are now used for climate preparedness from weather modelling to AI techniques in agriculture to the internet of things, most have their origins in university research.”

Ms Newman added “we believe universities have roles to play and the Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network would bring them together to share best practice and learn from each other and inform policy makers of their findings.

“We do this gladly because we believe that universities have such a critical role to play in building resilience to climate events and natural disasters – through teaching and learning, through research and through institutional policy and practice.”

The meeting ends today.

Edited by Percy Kean

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