University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS)

On 14 January 2005, as part of the high-level segment Plenary session during the Mauritius International Meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on the setting up of the University Consortium of Small Island States. The Memorandum was signed by representatives of five founding member institutions: University of Malta, University of Mauritius, University of the South Pacific, University of the Virgin Islands, University of the West Indies. The main aim of the consortium is to strengthen the national capacity of small-island states to implement the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA). The consortium is a product of a UNDP Ministerial Round Table hosted by Jamaica in May 2002. Development of the consortium has been supported by UNDP through its Capacity 2015 initiative.

UNESCO was represented at a planning meeting held in the US Virgin Islands in August 2004, with preliminary proposals for the consortium being examined by representatives of interested universities at an informal meeting held at UNESCO House on 4 November during the 'University Community and Education for All' meeting. Subsequently, in December, draft proposals were circulated by proponents on possible affiliation of the consortium with UNESCO's UNITWIN network, and informal discussions held on possible links with the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Since the MIM in January 2005, a meeting of the Programme Committee of the University Consortium was held at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica on 29-30 August.

Preliminary proposals for support of the University Consortium have been prepared and submitted to possible donor and partner organizations. 'Pipeline activities' include a cooperative programme between the University of West Indies (as Secretariat to the Consortium) and UNESCO, aimed at capacity-building for implementing the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) and the Mauritius Strategy in the framework of the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme. For further information on UNESCO cooperation with the University Consortium, contact:

  • Ms Sonia BAHRI, Division of Higher Education (s.bahri@unesco.org)
  • Dr Fazal Ibrahim Ali, UCSIS Coordinator, The University of the West Indies (fail@admin.uwi.tt), website
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