Institute of Sustainable Development

The Institute for Sustainable Development

David C. Smith PhD - Coordinator ISD & Director CEM

David C. Smith, PhD (Zoology) is the Coordinator of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Director of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM). He is the Caribbean Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) and was a member of the Independent Group of Scientists who prepared the UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2019.

Dr Smith has many years of experience in academia, civil society, the private sector and the United Nations, focusing on Sustainable Development, Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Reduction. He initiated Jamaica's first debt-for-nature swap and played a key role in establishing the Jamaica National Parks Trust Fund and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica.  He was instrumental in the successful development of proposals for a number of UWI projects in sustainable development research, distance teaching, knowledge management, disaster risk management and hazard mapping. He was also one of the Principal Investigators for the Enhancing Knowledge and Application of Comprehensive Disaster Management (EKACDM) Initiative, a regional  five year project.

Dr Smith has worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Jamaica Country Office, from 2002 to 2008, where he had responsibility for Energy, the Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management. He was also Co-Chair of the UN technical team on disasters in Jamaica. At the UNDP, Dr Smith developed and managed a programme folio which included two regional projects operating in multiple countries within the Caribbean: The Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management project jointly managed with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which strengthened watershed and coastal zone management in eight Caribbean countries and the ECHO-funded Weather Radar project  which strengthened capacity for early warning mechanisms in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In September 2007, he was appointed Assistant Resident Representative (Programme). During his tenure at the UNDP, he moblised resources for National Capacity Self Assessments, National Biodiversity and Action Plans, Protected Areas and the obligations of Jamaica and the Bahamas under the Montréal Protocol. He also established the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme for Jamaica and managed its establishment in the Bahamas.

Dr Smith is a past president of the Caribbean Conservation Association, served on the Association’s board for five years and was a regional Councillor for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with responsibility for North America and the Caribbean, chair of the Business Committee of the IUCN’s council and member of the steering committees of the IUCN commissions on Species Survival, Protected Areas as well as Communication and Education. He was the Executive Director of the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust for ten years and played a major role in establishing Jamaica's system of National Parks and Protected Areas. He sat on several Jamaica government policy development committees and the Council of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ).  He has done several Environmental Assessments and was instrumental in the design and implementation of Green Globe certified Environmental Management System in a major resort in Jamaica. He has also consulted on verification of Carbon emission reductions.