UN Belize and Higher Education Academia Partnership

United Nations Belize Country Team and Higher Education Academia Forge Partnership to Advance Sustainable Development Goals

14 March 2024
Officials pose for group photo
United Nations Belize 2024

Placencia, Belize – The United Nations Country Team in Belize, represented by the UN Resident Coordinator, Raul Salazar, and Higher Education Academia in Belize have taken a significant step forward in their commitment to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. A joint Declaration of Intent (DOI) has been signed between the UN and the four (4) universities in Belize, formalizing a collaborative partnership aimed at addressing pressing development challenges through evidence-based policies, data, research and innovation. The universities include the University of Belize, Galen University, the University of the West Indies Global Campus Belize, and St. John’s College University.

The signing of the DOI underscores the pivotal role that collaboration between the United Nations and academia plays in advancing the SDGs. This partnership seeks to catalyze impactful initiatives and solutions that will contribute the goals set out in the Plan Belize Medium-term Development Strategy (MTDS) 2022-2026 and the UN Multi-country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNMSDCF) 2022-2026.

"With 19 UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes working in Belize, this partnership with academia represents a powerful alliance dedicated to driving positive change and realizing the transformative vision of the SDGs," stated Raul Salazar, UN Resident Coordinator for Belize. “A joint work programme is being developed with the universities covering key areas in the DOI including a joint research agenda, mainstreaming the principles of Leaving No One Behind (LNOB), technical exchanges, the promotion of internships and career opportunities, as well as engagement with the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions in Belize (ATLIB).”

This sentiment is echoed by the President of the University of Belize, Dr. Vincent Palacio, emphasizing that "we are excited to join forces with the United Nations to leverage our collective national academic expertise and resources in support of the SDGs. Together, we can make meaningful strides towards building a more inclusive and resilient society through education." The President of Galen University, Dr. Rene Villanueva Sr. (Hon.) further highlighted the importance of this partnership, stating, "As a leading academic institution in Belize, Galen University is committed to contributing our knowledge and research capabilities to advance sustainable development. Collaborating with the UN provides us with a valuable platform to amplify our impact and drive positive change."

The Head of the University of the West Indies, Global Campus Belize, Dr. Sharmayne Saunders, underscores the significance of engaging the academic community in the SDG agenda, affirming that "By partnering with the United Nations, we can better align our research and educational initiatives with national development needs and priorities. Together, we can foster innovation and empower future generations to tackle challenges head on."

Signators stand with signed documents
United Nations Belize 2024

The President of St. John’s College (High School, Junior College, & University), Mrs. Mirtha Alicia Peralta, echoed the mutual benefits of collaboration between academia and the UN stating that “this partnership presents a unique opportunity for knowledge sharing through global networks. It also presents an opportunity to create the workforce of the future that is inclusive and better equipped to address social, economic, and environmental challenges facing Belize." Moving forward, the United Nations Country Team in Belize and Higher Education Academia, represented by the universities, remain committed to harnessing the collective expertise and resources through the partnership to drive meaningful progress towards the SDGs to build a more sustainable and resilient future for all in Belize.

Media contacts

Stephanie Daniels
Communications Officer
Tel: 501-610-0322


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