UOG virtual sustainability conference kicks off

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UOG President Dr. Thomas Krise spoke about how major crises like the COVID-19 pandemic can acutely affect small island nations.

The University of Guam’s Center for Island Sustainability kicked off their two-part virtual conference series today with panelists representing different parts of the Local 2030 Islands Network — an initiative by the United Nations to bring together government, private, and academic leaders to work together for a sustainable future.

This year’s theme for the yearly conference organized by the University of Guam’s Center for Island Sustainability is “Island Wisdom for a Global Future” and focuses on building more resilient economies and societies to face impending global challenges.

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UOG President Dr. Thomas Krise spoke about how major crises like the COVID-19 pandemic can acutely affect small island nations.

“This pandemic has called so much attention to our dependence on outside food sources. 90 percent of what we consume on Guam is imported and I’m assuming that’s a similar figure for many of the islands on the conference call. So the alliance of the academic agriculture and aquaculture specialists with the industry and with the government to try to encourage this activity is really central. The role that academe plays is to provide examples of what works,” Krise said.

Celeste Connors, the executive director of the Hawaii Green Growth Local 2030 Hub, talked about how important it is for islands to work together for a better future.

“Together as islands, we are as powerful as any major economy and have a strong voice. If islands have solutions, scalable solutions, we are compelled to share these solutions because our very existence depends on that. So we’re very committed and very motivated. We are compelled to act,” Connors said.

The second part of the virtual conference will take place next Friday, May 8, at 9 am. Those who are interested can register for free at UOG.EDU/CIS2020.

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