Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland called for pragmatic partnerships to help solve educational challenges and ensure a sustainable and resilient education system at the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (20CCEM) in Fiji. In response to this, the ACU has secured agreement from ministers to establish the Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network.
Working with universities on the frontline of climate change, the network will take an interdisciplinary approach to the issue of climate resilience. Initial partners include three ACU member institutions – Fiji National University, the University of the South Pacific, and the University of the West Indies – representatives of which are part of the ACU delegation at 20CCEM, where they have presented their recent experiences of dealing with natural disasters due to climate change.
@HelenClarkNZ speaking #CCEM20 on education at the heart of all #SDGs. On anniversary of cyclone Winston @The_ACU supporting resilient universities in the eye of the storm with @university south Pacific @FNUFiji @university of West Indies— Joanna Newman (@DrJoannaNewman) February 20, 2018
All three institutions have extensive research expertise in climate change and are well placed to lead the establishment of this network. The network will lead to increased collaboration and partnerships between Commonwealth universities, and mobilise resources to support them to increase resilience in their communities.
Collaboration through the Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network could include:
- Benchmarking the current resilience/disaster readiness of universities
- Developing continuity planning in the wake of disasters, including physical infrastructure and use of ICT to ensure the security of academic and management archives
- Safeguarding of students, both physical and psychological
- Exchange of knowledge through scholarships, fellowships, and residential schools
- Extension of capacity building to community, business, and government
- Universities’ role in providing safe havens
- Peer support and capacity building of members
The network was discussed during day two (20 February 2018) of the Integrated Partners’ Forum, which runs in parallel to the main ministerial meeting at 20CCEM – agreement was given by education ministers on day four (22 February 2018).
“None of us are safe until we meet the challenge posed by climate change. We are all in the same canoe. We must resist all attempts to slow the process down” -@FijiPM speaking at opening of #CCEM2018 #Talanoa4Ambition https://t.co/ZtKc6qO9aH pic.twitter.com/HQm4WxpdD1— COP23 (@COP23) February 20, 2018