University of the West Indies pro-vice chancellor and principal Sir Hilary Beckles has been appointed special advisor to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, bringing further international acclaim to the Cave Hill Campus at a time when it is celebrating its golden jubilee.
The UN’s top official wrote to Sir Hilary in late September inviting him to be a member of the recently established Scientific Advisory Board, which will advise the Secretary General and executive heads of other UN organizations on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development.
“This is a great personal honour indeed and signal recognition for the university,” Sir Hilary said of his appointment. “I have worked for many UN organizations over the years, but to be an advisor to the Secretary General, in this new way, on sustainable development is special.”
Sir Hilary will join with internationally renowned scientists drawn from the fields of natural, social and human sciences, on the board which has been mandated to “strengthen the linkages between science and policy, and to ensure that the latest scientific findings are reflected in high-level policy discussions within the United Nations systems”.
His appointment to the board is for a two-year period with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year term. It comes at a time when he is spearheading a science and technology drive at the campus, as it transitions towards becoming a research-oriented university.
The advisory board, which was created by the Secretary General, was one of the recommendations coming out of a High-Level Panel On Global Sustainability co-chaired by the former president of Finland, Ms Tarja Kaarina Halonen, and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, which was formed in the lead-up to the UN Conference On Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Brazil in June 2012.
The board will function under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Sir Hilary’s latest international appointment follows that in March this year, when he was appointed to the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sports, which advises the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth governments on sport policy.