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Small Island States international day conference a success

9 October 2014

GSoE facilitates multidisciplinary learning about environmental uncertainty in small island states

The GSoE hosted a very successful international day conference and research planning workshop on 17 & 18 July 2014. Attended by over 100 researchers, practitioners and policy makers, this multidisciplinary two-day event examined questions about the realities of living with environmental change in small island states and the implications for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The event, ‘Living at the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in Small Island States’ was organised by the Education in Small States Research Group (EiSSRG), and the Research Centre for International and Comparative Studies (ICS) in collaboration with the Cabot Institute and Sazani Associates, a research and development organisation working in Wales, Zanzibar and Belize.

Small Island States have been some of the first to experience the most dramatic realities of climate change and uncertainty and there is much we can learn from their collective experience.

Included in the delegation were 40 ESD teachers from Zanzibar and Wales, accompanied by Mwanaidi Abdalla Saleh, Principal Secretary for Education in Zanzibar. The Keynote Address was given by Bristol University Alumna, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Head of State and Governor General of Saint Lucia. Other plenary sessions included contributions from the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, and a presentation from Professor Rich Pancost, Director of the Cabot Institute. Three afternoon breakout sessions gave participants the opportunity to engage with multidisciplinary research, international agency and practitioner perspectives. Presentations included work on coral reef research, hydroponics initiatives, climate change adaptation, sustainability and education, international development agency projects, Pacific women’s perspectives and more. The event closed by celebrating the 20th anniversary of the GSoE’s Education in Small States Research Group.

The day 2 interdisciplinary research planning workshop brought together a more concentrated group of 18 high-level participants from the day conference. By drawing upon key themes that emerged from the conference itself, this pump-priming workshop allowed the group to engage in the development of new international research partnerships relating to environmental uncertainty, sustainable development and ESD.

The day was used to initiate plans for a further multidisciplinary research bid and resulted in the formulation and successful submission of a UN recognised Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Partnership. This is led by Professor Michael Crossley and Terra Sprague within ICS and the EiSSRG, and includes 22 organisations from small states, international development agencies, NGOs and associated research universities worldwide.

View the conference programme (PDF, 1,961kB) here.

On Tuesday 7 October, Terra Sprague discussed outcomes from the UN conference and future plans for the SIDS Partnership, including ongoing research projects between the University of Bristol and the University of the South Pacific.

Find further exciting video highlights and resources from the July conference on the Cabot Institute website.

Read more about the resulting SIDS Partnership on the Education in Small States Research Group website.

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