The Sustainable Island Solutions program at the University of Aruba (SISSTEM) has been identified as one of the highlighted Sustainable Island Solutions by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Nominated candidates were selected on the basis of strict criteria:
- have already passed the proof of concept stage and have been operational for at least 12 months;
- be scalable with a proven strong potential to generate cascading results to improve agriculture and food production, nutrition, livelihoods, health, and the environment;
- have local (community, farmers, fisherpersons, public, government, the private sector, donors) demand-driven characteristics; and
- have strong implications for positively catalyzing food systems’ value chains. This, for example, means that solutions in eco-tourism and agri-tourism are also eligible if they use agri-food systems, nutrition, health, and the environment.
The FAO platform will enhance information exchange to facilitate development. It will gather Heads of Governments, UN agencies, and representatives from a wide spectrum of farmers organizations, NGOs, civil society, and innovators to incubate, promote and scale-up home-grown and imported solutions to accelerate the achievement of the agriculture, food, and nutrition-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Small Island Development States (SIDS).
To support the ongoing flow of innovative solutions, a SIDS Solutions Platform will be launched in the Pacific in 2021, and will gradually expand to all other SIDS in the African, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea (AIMS); and the Caribbean regions. SISSTEM at the University of Aruba (UA) has been identified as one of the forerunners in education for sustainable development in small island states.
The first biennial forum is on the 30 and 31 August 2021. The theme is the identification of locally grown or imported solutions of innovation and digitalization to address the COVID-19 impacts on the economy and to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs related to agri-food systems, nutrition, health, the environment, and climate resilience in SIDS.
The SISSTEM program, that is funded by the European Union as part of the EDF-11 fund, aims to reach a broad range of students from Aruba and from the global community of small island states. Students with a VWO background or HAVO or EPI plus AFY (Academic Foundation Year at the UA) – Sciences track or similar backgrounds are encouraged to apply for the bachelor program that leads to a Bsc. in Sustainable Engineering.
This recognition by FAO constitutes a new step in broadening the reach and impact of the University of Aruba’s SISSTEM program.