Conference on Island Sustainability kicks off virtually today

A group of university presidents from islands in the Asia Pacific region speak on an opening panel of the 10th UOG Conference on Island Sustainability in 2019. The 12th annual conference will take place virtually from April 6 to April 9. (Photo courtesy of the UOG Center for Island Sustainability)

The 2021 University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability is taking place as a virtual event from April 6 to April 9. With “Islands Are Rising” as its theme, the 12th annual conference will feature island communities rising up to achieve a sustainable global future.

“Under the weight of health crises, biodiversity loss, debilitating storms, and swallowing seas, islands are not sinking. Strong and resilient, islands are rising,” said Austin J. Shelton, director of the university’s Center for Island Sustainability, which hosts the annual event.

Speakers will share examples of island leadership and innovation during plenary panels focused on the three key areas of sustainability: human society, the natural environment, and the economy. Additionally, a series of inspirational “CIS Seed Talks” will feature sustainability leaders and advocates from the Philippines, the Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand, and Denmark.

“This conference provides an opportunity for all islands to connect across oceans, particularly during this pandemic. With the unique challenges that islands face, it’s important that we all come together to share ideas and solutions and inspiration that will help our island communities prosper and achieve a more sustainable future,” said UOG President Thomas W. Krise, who is co-chairing the conference with Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.

The conference will continue uniting island communities toward the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It will also feature special events, including a symposium to mark the start of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science and the biannual Guam Green Growth meeting.

“As sea levels rise, islands must also rise to meet today’s challenges,” the governor said. “As we reflect on one year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative for islands to come together to build a better, more sustainable future.”

The conference attracts attendees from academia, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private businesses. More than 2,000 individuals representing more than 80 countries, states, and territories participated in last year’s conference, which was also held virtually.

General conference registration is still available for $20 and $10 for students. Learn more about UOG’s virtual Conference on Island Sustainability and register at

(UOG Release)