UN SIDS Partnership: Learning at the Sharp End of Environmental Uncertainty in SIDS


(Secretariat) Education in Small States Research Group
University of Bristol Graduate School of Education

35 Berkeley Square Bristol BS8 1JA

Email: EducationSmallStates@gmail.com

Website: www.smallstates.net

Year established: 2014

Number of staff: 22 member organisations

Number of members: 22 institutions

Officers (2015):


Prof. Michael Crossley and
Terra Sprague, University of Bristol

Aims and objectives:

The ‘sharp end’ partnership builds upon existing collaboration and synergies among organisations working in education in small states, and counts both the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Human Ecology Council among its 22 members of universities, research institutes and UN agencies.

The objective of this partnership is to support a
wider global process of learning from the ‘sharp end’ experience of small island developing states – of which there are 25 in the Commonwealth – in dealing with environmental uncertainty and climate change through developing a wide and inclusive network of post-secondary and tertiary education institutions, specialists and international organisations for:

• Strengthening multidisciplinary linkages and bridges between academics, researchers, policy makers, practitioners, international agencies and other stakeholders

• Better understanding the concept of environmental resilience from the perspectives of SIDS in order
to bring these perspectives more firmly into the wider international debates and discourse about resilience

• Generating user engagement around the findings from multiple projects carried out by members
of the partnership, including raising awareness
of regional data repositories or resource and training centres where they exist, and exploring the possibility of developing these where needed

• Developing new research and development projects across a range of disciplines designed to contribute to sustainable development and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in SIDS

• Strengthening good and effective practice in ESD through the enhancement of school, post- secondary and tertiary education capacity

• Exploring development of education, training and skills for the blue economy, including: sustainability of coastal livelihoods/sustainable coastal urbanisation; disaster resilience; renewable energy and energy efficiency; awareness of health and lifestyle issues in health promotion


Main activities:

• Ongoing 2014–16 – British Academy and the University of the South Pacific joint research project on Teacher education and identity in the Pacific

• Ongoing 2014–17 – Research project on environmental resilience in SIDS

• 2015 ongoing – Development and launch of communications platform; participation in Bristol Green Capital activities

• 6–9 September 2015 – Supporting and presenting at the ‘Learning from the sharp end – implications for sustainability in higher education’ international symposium (see https://sites.google.com/site/ beyondesd/)

• 15–17 September 2015 – UKFIET International conference on education and development: leading the Symposium on Pacific teachers identity (see www.ukfiet.org)

• 18 September 2015 – Members planning workshop in Oxford, UK


Recent publications:

Sprague, T. and Watts, N. (2014). ‘A partnership of learning from the sharp end of environmental uncertainty in SIDS’. Outreach, p. 10

Sprague, T. and Crossley, M. (2015). ‘Learning from the sharp end of environmental uncertainty in small island states’. Cabot Institute Magazine, 3, pp. 16–17

Sprague, T., Crossley, M. and Hancock, G. (2015). ‘Education in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific: challenges, issues and priorities’. In: T. Sprague,
M. Crossley and G. Hancock, eds. Education in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 1–16

Watts, N. S. J. (2014). ‘The blue economy and
the renewable energy transition in small island developing states’. In: A. Brunnengräber and M. R. Di Nucci, eds. Im Hürdenlauf zur Energiewende. Von Transformationen, Reformen und Innovationen (The hurdle race for energy transition: transformations, reforms and innovations). Wiesbaden: Springer

VS, pp. 337–350. Online: http://link.springer.com/ book/10.1007/978-3-658-06788-5