UNFPA representative meets USP VC - Solomon Star News

UNFPA representative meets USP VC

22 October 2014

The University of the South Pacific’s Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra had a successful meeting with Dr. Laurent Zessler, Director and Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific Sub-Regional Office on October 9, 2014.

Dr Zessler commended and congratulated the University for its work in the region.

He pointed out the three things that the UNFPA would like to work on with USP, namely Comprehensive Tertiary Education, Census and Data Collection in the Pacific and the World and Peer Education.

For comprehensive tertiary education, Dr Zessler said since USP has a School of Education, they would like to work with USP on incorporating family education into the curriculum.

“With regard to census and data collection, we are looking at things like ageing in the Pacific, the population trend, migration trends etc. We’d like to team up with you on this,” he noted.

Dr Zessler added that the UNFPA is also open to taking in interns from USP.

In briefing Dr Zessler, USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra said the University is currently developing two new Campuses in Kiribati and Solomon Islands.

These new campuses he said, will feature modern learning and teaching spaces and will cater for the increase in demand from USP’s member countries.

The construction is being carried out through a US$19m soft loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

He said the focus of the new Solomon Island campus will be on Public Health, while it will continue with other courses and programmes and this had been agreed to by the Solomon Islands Government and USP.

Professor Chandra said he was very pleased with the interest shown by UNFPA especially when it has always been a strong partner for the University.

He said he was aware of the longstanding funding support that has been provided by UNFPA dating back to the late 1980s with the establishment of the Population Studies Unit at USP’s Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE).

Professor Chandra said UNFPA have, in the past, consistently assisted FBE in strengthening and consolidating training programmes in Official Statistics and Demography in the Pacific.

Currently USP and UNFPA are working to get a formal agreement signed signed for the implementation of UNFPA-Funded Workplans relating to the 2013-2017 UNFPA Multi-Country Programme for the Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

The agreement will support the implementation of the workplans for the following sections of USP:

a. USP Counseling Centre – Peer Programming; Condom Programming and Youth Services;
b. The School of Education – Comprehensive Sexuality Education; and
c. The Faculty of Business and Economics – Population and Statistics courses.

Professor Chandra added that USP will also welcome any future opportunity to work closely with UNFPA on projects or programmes that will benefit the region.