Sustainable Island Solutions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SISSTEM)

Students at the University of Aruba

Small Island Developing States, including those in the Caribbean, share similar environmental and socio-economic concerns, with the projected consequences of climate change for the region being higher temperatures, declining precipitation, rising sea levels and potentially adverse changes in the patterns of extreme weather events. These in turn have strong implications for long-term development in the region - including on agriculture (and food security), human settlements, economic infrastructure, human health, biodiversity and fisheries.

In support of Aruba’s development agenda to strengthen national climate resilience efforts and capacity building - the UNDP in collaboration with the European Union (EU), the University of Aruba (UA) and the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), in Belgium, is developing a new academic faculty at UA - aimed at bolstering the national and regional capacity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

When established, the SISSTEM faculty (Sustainable Island Solutions through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at UA will offer a Bachelor programme in STEM, a Master’s and a PhD program with a focus on sustainable development in Small Island Developing States.

The faculty aims to educate a new generation of scientists and engineers to support sustainable development, diversify local economies, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and enhance the resilience of Small Island Developing States. It will embody sustainability policies on an academic level, while also empowering a regional workforce with the skills and capacity to make these policies a reality. It is hoped that the SISSTEM faculty becomes a centre of excellence and a knowledge hub for the region and for Small Island Developing States around the world.

UNDP recognizes that knowledge-sharing between and within regions is vital and will continue to work with governments in the Caribbean to boost preparedness and increase resilience - drawing on our work on the ground in 170 countries, including SIDS across the globe.