ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda: The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda , Gaston Browne, the Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and the Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Professor Sir Ed Byrne, have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize their collaboration in support of a Centre for Excellence for Oceanography and the Blue Economy at The University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus.
The Centre will intend to advance intellectual progress and strengthen institutional capacity in the fields of marine science and the blue economy while benefitting from the societal, economic, and environmental opportunities for the Caribbean within this emerging sector.
Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean region stand to benefit from an emerging industry worth USD 2.5 trillion globally through the sustainable diversification of the economy into aquaculture, marine renewable energy, biotechnology, and sea vegetable farming. As a ‘large ocean state,’ Antigua and Barbuda have been active in critical blue economy initiatives, including co-championing the Commonwealth Blue Charter’s Sustainable Blue Economic Action Group, which encourages better stewardship of‘ blue resources.’
Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said: “The UWI Five Islands Campus is an investment in Antigua and Barbuda and the Eastern Caribbean youth. My Government’s support for this Centre of Excellence for Oceanography and the Blue Economy is predicated on our vision to provide easier access to quality training and new knowledge at a tertiary level for our people. Its realization will require our collective ingenuity and commitment to identify and secure the necessary resources to advance this important ambition. I, therefore, invite all present today to partner with us tangibly and productively to establish this Centre in short order”.
This vision builds on The University of the West of Indies’ wider reputation as a leading institution leading climate action. The UWI’s advocacy on the SDGs and the 2030 development agenda have received the global acknowledgment.