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Strengthening institutional capacity and research in oceans at The University of the South Pacific
by The University of the South Pacific (Academic institution)
The University of the South Pacific (USP) is the premier institution of higher education and learning for the Pacific region, uniquely placed in a region of extraordinary physical, social and economic diversity. Established in 1968, USP is one of only two universities of its type in the world. It is jointly owned by the governments of 12 member countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa. The University has campuses in all member countries and has an enrolment of close to 30,000 students. The University of the South Pacific region spreads across 33 million square kilometres of ocean, an area more than three times the size of Europe. In contrast, the total land mass is about equal to the area of Denmark. Populations vary in size from Tokelau with 1,600 people to Fiji with more than 800,000.

Over the last 48 years USP has significantly contributed to coastal and marine knowledge in the region. USP will to continue to support key partnerships, research and capacity building for research on oceans and climate change, including ocean acidification, for the next 6 years This Voluntary Commitment intends to build on this and extend the scope of work across USP in advancing knowledge and implementation of SDG14. Complementary to a shared Voluntary Commitment to set up a Chair in Oceans and Climate Change through collaboration with the University of Bergen and USP, this Commitment focuses on four areas which demonstrably strengthen the institutional capacity in marine research and technology transfer in USP:

- Institutional: USP will open and staff a new USP research and development centre based in the Marshall Islands, termed the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport, initially focusing on sustainable shipping solutions for the Pacific.

- Research: USP will support one new 3-year Fellow in the Institute of Marine Resources in Fiji and support two new Master-level scholarships on coastal research in the Marshall Islands.

- Teaching: USP will offer a new post-graduate course in physical oceanography within the existing climate change postgraduate curriculum and deliver one open-access MOOC on a key topic related to SDG14 for the Pacific.

- Data and information: USP will deliver scientific data on micro-plastics in Laucaula Bay (Fiji) and coastal health around Long Island (Marshall Islands).

These additional Voluntary Commitments will help strengthen the marine capacity in USP as well as provide additional support to Member Countries in sustainable management of the vast Pacific Oceanscape.
Progress reports
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
December 2017
4. Open and staff a new USP research and development centre based in the Marshall islands, termed the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport, initially focusing on sustainable shipping solutions for the Pacific .
December 2018
2. USP to deliver scientific baseline data for on coastal ecosystems and pollution in two areas of Fiji and the Republic of the Marshall Islands
January 2019
3. USP to offer a post-graduate course in physical oceanography within the climate change curriculum and a MOOC on key topic related to SDG14 in the Pacific
July 2018
1. USP Research Fellowship in SDG14 (3 year, supported by USP) and two Masters-level scholarships in coastal ecosystem and pollution
Other, please specify
Internal funds and new/existing staff
Basic information
Time-frame: July 2017 - January 2019
Ocean Basins
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau
Contact information
Jeremy Hills, Director, jeremy.hills@usp.ac.fj, (+679) 323 2995
Suva, Fiji
Other SDGs
United Nations