Online consultation of the SIDS Higher Education Institutions on the revitalization of University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS) - Pacific Region
Small Island Development States (SIDS) are countries with vast ocean territories scattered throughout three main regions - Caribbean, Pacific, and the Atlantic and Indian Ocean and the South China Sea (AIS). despite their diversity in size, geography, demographics and cultural diversity, most are strongly susceptible to natural hazards and climate change events that recurrently obliges them to invest heavily in reconstruction activities. In order to adequately anticipate, face and deal with these complex forms and types of vulnerability, individuals, institutions and societies in SIDS need to develop capacities and be nimble and responsive to the unexpected, immediately surging as well as protracted risks and crises. This resilience to those major challenges requires adequate technical and innovative capacity that should normally be supported by a solid higher education system.
Higher education institutions in SIDS are unfortunately not sufficiently well resourced individually to face adequately all those challenges and help their countries achieve the internationally agreed goals (SAMOA Pathway, SDGs, etc.). This situation led to brain drain, as highlighted by the 2016 report of UNESCO Institute of Statistics.
In 2005, the University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS) was created to enhance regional collaboration at tertiary level. Unfortunately, in 2018, during the High-level Review of the SIDS Accelerated Modality of Action SAMOA Pathway, it became apparent that the UCSIS was not functioning optimally and that there was a consensus for its revival.
This consultation process would lead to the elaboration of a draft strategy to be submitted for approval and endorsement by the interested HED institutions at the 3rd UNESCO World Higher Education Conference in May 2022, in Barcelona, Spain.
The UCSIS consulation is organized jointly with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed countries, Landlocked developing countries and Small Island Developing States of the United Nations Organizations (UNOHRLLS) and the Island Policy Lab of the Joseph R. Biden Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration - University of Delaware with higher education institutions (HED) in SIDS.