The Sharp End Partnership

The UN SIDS Partnership 'Learning from the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in SIDS', or, the 'Sharp End Partnership', was launched at the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States, Apia, Samoa, 1-4 September 2014.

Small Island States - Living at the sharp end of environmental uncertainty.

In 2014 Terra Sprague and Michael Crossley received pump prime funding from the Cabot Institute for the Environment at the University of Bristol. This helped them to convene a multidisciplinary Day Conference and follow up Research Worksop on the theme of Living at the Sharp End of Education and Environmental Uncertainty in Small Island States, and to carry out research on implications for sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Videos of the conference and related resources can be found in the link above to the Cabot Institute for the Environment website.

This event led to the development of our UN accredited Sharp End Partnership as detailed in this link UN Learning from the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in SIDS and in the text below: 

Founding partners


The partnership was initiated at an international conference on the theme of Learning from the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in Small Island States at the University of Bristol in July 2014.

The objective of this partnership is to support a wider global process of learning from the sharp end experience of SIDS in dealing with environmental uncertainty and climate change through developing a wide and inclusive network of post-secondary and tertiary education institutions, specialists, and international organisations for:

The city of Bristol, where the partnership was formed, will serve as the European Green Capital in 2015, thereby providing the partnership an opportunity to further showcase its work, including learning from the collective SIDS experience, to European states in order to widen international awareness of the experience at the Sharp End.



Submission of research bid emerging from work undertaken at the July 2014 Conference and Research Planning Workshop in Bristol.


Development of a SIDS professional learning community with peer exchange to support development and delivery of contextualised curricular that link sustainable development to local livelihoods. Scoping and enhancing existing research and policy document repositories (online and other) in the thematic content areas represented by the partnership. Making these more visible and accessible. Supporting the development of SIDS-specific components within existing systems.

Project Reports and associated outputs from two research projects: a) joint USP/ British Academy research project drawing out implications particularly for ESD and Teacher Education, and b) study of Resilience in Small Island States drawing out implications for environmental resilience conceptualisations for international discourse strengthening.


Staff / technical expertise Researcher and practitioner expertise from those based in Belize, Fiji, Maldives, Malta, St Lucia, UK and Zanzibar.
In-kind contribution Meeting spaces and web hosting for seminars, workshops and platforms identified in objectives and outputs.
Financing (in USD) Regular programming and extra budgetary sources and resources from Partners for travel and time related to states objectives and outputs.
Staff / technical expertise Secretariat Coordination undertaken by the Education in Small States Research Group.

2020 +

Ongoing work continues with partners and in collaboration with the ESSRG. Further information to follow. 

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