2020 UOG Conference on Island Sustainability
A Message from our Conference Co-Chairs
March 13, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most serious public health concerns in recent history. The situation exposes the vulnerability of island societies related to geographic isolation and the inextricable link between local and global economies.
However, as island people, we remain resilient and prepared to adapt to the challenges before us. We applaud our island friends and neighbors working tirelessly to protect and care for their communities.
Sustainability is more important than ever. This global disruption is a possible forecast of what is to come with the impacts of climate change and future public health concerns. All efforts to promote social distancing and reduce large gatherings must be taken seriously. As the co-chairs of the 11th UOG Conference on Island Sustainability, we will take action to protect our participants while proceeding with determination to achieve a sustainable global future.
We are not canceling, but instead will transition our conference into a two-part series:
We extend a special thank you to all the registered participants, those who submitted presentation proposals, the generous sponsors, and strategic partners for committing to sustainability. The UOG Center for Island Sustainability team will be providing details on next steps over the coming days.
The 11th University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability will take place from March 31 to April 3, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Guam, with pre-conference events on March 30 and 31. UOG President Dr. Thomas W. Krise and Guam Governor Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero will serve as co-chairs of the conference, with the theme of "Island Wisdom for a Global Future."
As keepers of traditional knowledge stretching back thousands of years, islanders have long understood challenges related to geographic isolation, limited resources, and severe weather. With advancements in transportation and communication in recent centuries, many island communities shifted from self-reliant sustainable societies to ones largely dependent on goods received from abroad. Today, islanders are among the first people on the planet to experience severe impacts of climate change and other pressing challenges. They are reaching into their repositories of island wisdom and blending it with modern tools to innovate a transition toward a sustainable future.
As a matter of necessity, and even survival, islands are at the forefront of a global movement toward sustainability. They are building climate change resilience, improving food security, implementing entrepreneurial solutions, promoting green economic development, reducing waste production, advancing renewable energy, and protecting and restoring natural resources.
Islands are leading at the international forefront of a global sustainability effort. In 2015, United Nations (U.N.) adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to put the world on a path to a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.
To accelerate and scale local solutions to global sustainablity challenges, the U.N. designated Local2030 Hubs in 2018, with Hawai'i Green Growth as the single hub focused on islands. The hub recently expanded with the launch of the Local2030 Islands Network during the 74th U.N. General Assembly in 2019. Founding partners and supporters of the network include Hawai'i, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Seychelles, Grenada, Belize, Curaçao, Ireland, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), the U.N. Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the U.N. Foundation.
Members of the Local2030 Islands Network will convene during the conference to discuss solutions and a collective agenda to achieve a sustainable global future.
Together with strategic partners, the Local2030 Islands Network and Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), the 11th University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability aims to gather representatives from at least 20 islands in 2020 to share progress, innovations, and strategies to collectively move toward a sustainable global future. Sustainability leaders from around the globe are also invited to share innovations and partnership opportunities that will contribute to island sustainability.
Island Sustainability ensures that the needs of the current generation are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability was established in 2009 to lead and support the transition of our island region toward a sustainable future. CIS has since become a focal institute in our region for conducting sustainability-related research and community outreach, in cooperation and coordination with other appropriate government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and community groups to help meet island needs in the broader areas of environment, economy, society, and education.