Building on introductory meetings hosted in August by the UN Development Coordination Office in Bangkok, UNSW is continuing to build institutional relationships with regional academia and the UN. The hope is to establish and strengthen strategic and knowledgeable partnerships that help address sustainable development challenges in the Asia Pacific.

Supported by the UN, the UNSW Institute for Global Development (IGD) convened a workshop series in Suva, Fiji designed to foster partnerships that will contribute to accelerating the Pacific towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The workshops covered a range of topic areas, including:

  1. ‘Pacific-led Research and Policy Agendas: Reimagining Pacific Research and Development’
    Building on a two-year partnership with the Institute for Human Security and Social Change (IHSSC) at La Trobe University, the first workshop (2-3 November) convened a network of Pasifika researchers and development practitioners to explore the ‘reimagining’ of Pacific research and development. This network has a particular focus on how to support Pacific peoples to determine and lead research agendas, ethics and projects.
  2. Building Strategic Knowledge Partnerships in the Asia Pacific
    The second workshop (4 November) convened the Pacific Joint UN Country Team and relevant UN agencies operating in the Pacific and regional universities, including the University of the South Pacific and Fiji National University. Both universities share MoUs with UNSW and IHSSC, to support discussions on strategic development imperatives in the Pacific, including emerging megatrends, climate change, inclusive growth and transformational pathways for acceleration.

"Developmental progress in the Indo-Pacific region will determine timely achievement of the SDGs globally. The environment, health, and education related challenges of the Pacific are of most significant concern worldwide. Issue-based knowledge partnerships can help drive new forms of collaboration to tackle these challenges in and around Australia,” said Dr George Varughese, Director, IGD.

UNSW delegates included:

  1. Stephen Foster, Dean, UNSW Engineering
  2. Rebecca Ivers, Head, School of Population Health, UNSW Medicine & Health
  3. Jacqui Webster, Head of Advocacy and Policy Impact, The George Institute for Global Health & Professor, UNSW Medicine & Health
  4. Lucia Romani, Senior Lecturer, Global Health Program, The Kirby Institute at UNSW
  5. Steven Sherwood, Deputy Director, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW Science
  6. Greg Leslie, Director, UNSW Global Water Institute & Director, UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Technology at UNSW
  7. Daniel Robinson, Professor, Environment Group, UNSW Arts, Design, Architecture & Pacific Lead, UNSW Institute for Global Development
  8. Satish Chand, Professor, School of Business, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy
  9. Andrew Dansie, Academic Lead, Humanitarian Engineering, UNSW Engineering
  10. Jordan Gacutan, Secretariat Officer, Global Accounts Partnership & PhD candidate, UNSW Science
  11. George Varughese, Director, UNSW Institute for Global Development
  12. Iain Payne, Senior Project Officer, UNSW Institute for Global Development

The UNSW delegation was hosted by Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator in Fiji, Simona Marinescu, UN resident Coordinator in Samoa, and Jaap van Hierden, UN Resident Coordinator in Micronesia.

Delegates also met with diplomatic representatives and senior officials from the Water Authority of Fiji, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Environment and Waterways, Office of the Attorney General, and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.  

The IGD also hosted a dinner for UNSW alumni in Fiji, many of whom work for major organisations including Fiji National University, the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Fijian Ministry of Infrastructure and Meteorological Services, EY and the International Finance Organisation.