Islands’ institutes band together against climate change

Association of Commonwealth Universities, London, UK.

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Small-island developing states are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. They are fighting rising sea levels and temperatures. To help these states, many of which are members of the Commonwealth, the Association of Commonwealth Universities launched the Commonwealth Climate Resilience Network last year. The network’s institutions collaborate on mutually beneficial research projects and share best practices for preventing and responding to natural disasters.

These institutions include the University of the West Indies, the University of the South Pacific and Fiji National University. Their research and development draws from information on weather modelling, for example, and guidance on matters such as agricultural technology and big-data collection and analysis. As hubs with local, national and international roles and connections, universities are also crucial for a community’s economy in the aftermath of natural disasters.

There are important local initiatives with support from international grants and scholarships. One is the Quake Centre, established in partnership with New Zealand’s government and the University of Canterbury as well as several of its industry groups. Another is India’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which is working with the Kerala government on a long-term institutional response to flooding by using digital systems.

Nature 565, 25 (2019)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-07873-1
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