June 13, 2021

The UWI’s Dr David Smith among scientists who prepared the first Sustainable Development Report

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Photo Caption: Photo courtesy https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org. Scientists who prepared the 2019 UN Global Sustainable Development Report (Dr David Smith is first in back row at right)

Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Tuesday, 29 October 2019—Dr David Smith, Coordinator of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Director of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM) at The University of the West Indies (The UWI), is one of 15 independent scientists who prepared the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR).

This inaugural global report, commissioned by the United Nations Secretary General, was launched last month ahead of the 2019 SDG Summit. It aims to strengthen the science-policy evidence-based approach to advance knowledge that informs action and supports policy makers and stakeholders in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Entitled “The Future is now: Science for achieving the SDGs”, the report stresses the need for governments, business, communities and civil society to transform key areas of human activities such as food, energy, consumption and cities. It reveals that some models of development have delivered prosperity to hundreds of millions, but have also led to continuing poverty and other deprivations; unprecedented levels of inequality that undermine innovation, social cohesion and sustainable economic growth. The group argue that the situation has brought the world close to tipping points with the global climate system and biodiversity loss. It states further, that these development models are not sustainable, and the progress made in the last two decades is in danger of being reversed through worsening social inequalities and potentially irreversible declines in the natural environment that sustains us. The scientists conclude, however, that a far more optimistic future is still attainable.

The report emphasizes the need for a collective, holistic approach along six key “entry points” that can accelerate transformational action for sustainable development. These include: human well-being and capabilities; sustainable and just economies; food systems and nutrition patterns; energy decarbonisation with universal access; urban and peri-urban development and global environmental commons.

The levers identified to be deployed to enable transformation include: governance; economy and finance

individual and collective action; science and technology.

Dr Smith, speaking in a video release on the report noted, “The good news is that we can get back on track and there are ways to get those goals, but we’ve got to do the right thing”.

The report will be produced every four years. It will strengthen the work of the High-level political forum on sustainable development.

In addition to his positions at The UWI, Dr Smith is Coordinator of the University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS) and Caribbean Coordinator for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN Caribbean). Dr Smith’s contribution is celebrated by The UWI for both his individual achievement and role in advancing the regional University’s strategic advocacy for Climate and Sustainable Development Action.


The full report, “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development,” can be

found here: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/gsdr2019

A complete list of the scientists is available here:


More about Dr David Smith

David Smith (Jamaica) is Coordinator of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Director of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM) at the University of the West Indies (The UWI). The Institute focuses on research in Sustainable Development Governance and Policy, Disaster Management and Environmental Management. He is also the Coordinator of the University Consortium for Small Island States (UCSIS), and Chair of the UN Caribbean Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN Caribbean)

Dr Smith was an expert reviewer for the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events (SREX). He has served on the Board of the Caribbean Conservation Association for five years and was President in 1995. From 1994 to 2000 he was a Regional Councillor of IUCN-The World Conservation Union and chaired the Business Committee of IUCN’s Council; was a member of the steering committees of the IUCN commissions on Species Survival, Protected Areas, and Communications and Education. He oversaw the development of the Jamaican Protected Areas System Plan and contributed to the National Forestry Management Plan. He has consulted on small business management and the design of environmental financing mechanisms in Jamaica, Uganda, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

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