March 13, 2014 – The launch meeting of the Caribbean Sustainable Development Solutions Network will be held on May 7-8, 2014, at the UWI-Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica. The Secretariat at UWI invites submissions of abstracts from universities, research centers, governments, businesses, and civil society on solutions initiatives for sustainable development. Solutions Initiatives promote new technologies, business models, institutional mechanisms, policies and combinations thereof that can dramatically accelerate progress towards sustainable development. With the help of its members, the Regional and National SDSNs, its Thematic Groups, and members of the Leadership Council the SDSN will address three common barriers inhibiting the deployment of such solutions including lack of awareness outside a narrow technical community; high transaction costs, and long decision times. The following Solution Initiatives are in an advanced stage of development.

We welcome proposals that strengthen cooperation between a diverse array of partners across the Caribbean basin region, as well as organizations based outside of the region but who focus on Caribbean concerns. The themes for the launch conference focus on three priorities common to all countries in the region and are as follows:

  1. Energy: Provision of sufficient, reliable, and affordable energy is critical for development. Since most energy in the region is imported and requires foreign exchange, the result is often a deleterious effect on the value of national currencies. Additionally, current energy costs discourage investment and reduce the competitiveness of businesses within the region. The Caribbean SDSN is keen to hear proposals of possible projects to address these challenges, at different scales and in different sectors (for example from addressing trade and tariffs at a macroeconomic level to grassroots programs to install solar capacity).
  2. Blue Economy: Much attention has been paid in recent years to advancing research and policies to support the green economy. While the blue economy is often references in these same discussions, there has not been as much support to defining the blue economy or implementing policies to support it. Most Caribbean nations are responsible for far more area of marine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) than terrestrial area, and so work on the Blue Economy is an important means of promoting the four pillars of sustainable development (economic, social, environmental and institutional). This includes incorporating ecosystem valuation and ecosystem services valuation into national accounts. The Caribbean SDSN is keen to hear proposals of possible projects to advance the Blue Economy.
  3. Climate Change Adaptation: The Caribbean basin is vulnerable in many ways to climate change. Improved disaster risk management, coastal zone management, and management of water resources will be critical to maintain growth and development. Simultaneously, concerns like sea level rise, meteorological hazards, and risks to which coastal infrastructure such as roads, buildings, and airports are exposed need to be addressed. We invite proposals for solution initiative programs and projects to address these critical issues.

The two-day conference will focus on sharing and discussing proposals for possible projects within these themes from the participants.  It will feature keynote speakers, as well as contributions from invited experts, policy makers, managers, civil society leaders, academics, and students. An objective of the launch event is to identify and adopt a first set of Solutions Initiatives on which participants would like to collaborate.

Format of Proposals:

  • Theme of submission (energy, blue economy, or climate change adaptation)
  • E-mail address, phone number, and affiliation for each participant
  • Brief (50-word) synopsis of the proposal to be included in the print program upon acceptance
  • Concept note (700 word maximum)
  • Typed, Times New Roman 12pt font, single-spaced

English, Spanish, Dutch, and French submissions will be accepted.

Deadlines and Notifications:

All proposals should be submitted online to the Secretariat at UWI-Mona Campus by March 20, 2014 Deadline extended to April 7, 2014 to isd@uwimona.edu.jm. We will notify participants of acceptance by April 15, 2014. Upon acceptance, a Powerpoint file for presentation should be submitted no later than May 1st, 2014.

Membership & Conference Fees: Membership in the Caribbean Sustainable Development Solutions Network is free. There are no conference fees. Participants are expected to cover their own travel and lodging. A very limited number of travel grants are available, for which application details will be forthcoming. 

About the SDSN & the Caribbean Regional SDSN Network Hosted by UWI

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) (www.unsdsn.org) was commissioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development at local, national, regional, and global levels.  Under the umbrella of the global SDSN, the University of the West Indies (UWI) will host the Caribbean Regional Network of the SDSN and its Secretariat. The main objective of the Caribbean SDSN is to mobilize leaders from academia, business, civil society, and other stakeholders to promote problem solving and practical solutions for the pressing challenges of sustainable development and to strengthen cooperation.