How can we achieve a sustainable low-carbon future without disrupting the global economy or compelling drastic changes in modern lifestyles? To succeed, our response to climate change must be based on the most precise and complete scientific knowledge, guided by fresh perspectives, and supported by appropriate technological innovation and investment.
The United Nations University (UNU), with its dual identity as both a United Nations organization and a high-level research and teaching institution, can play a key role in the global climate change response.
As an independent think tank, UNU provides the policy makers of today with accurate, unbiased scientific knowledge to help formulate sound principles, policies and programmes to deal with, for instance, issues of environmentally induced migration and social vulnerability.
As a postgraduate teaching institution, UNU helps the leaders of tomorrow gain the skills and knowledge they will need to confront such diverse hazards as extreme weather events, rising sea levels, water scarcity, desertification, land degradation, and loss of biodiversity — all of which are exacerbated by climate change.
From UNU Rector
All must innovate in this time of climate change
Asahi Shimbun, July 4 2008 (44 KB PDF)
What price an environment bailout?
Japan Times, October 24 2008 (92 KB PDF)
In its capacity building activities, UNU provides localized, advanced training about adaptation and mitigation techniques to practitioners, policy makers and educators in developing countries.
UNU approaches the multiple threats of climate change from a methodologically rigorous, interdisciplinary, solution-focused perspective, and seeks to provide relevant knowledge, including traditional and indigenous perspectives, to those who most need and can best utilize it.
"We have less than 10 years to halt the global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet. It is, simply, the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family."
—UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
10 August 2009
In 2010, several distinguished speakers made presentations related to climate change at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. (Click on the title to view a video of the lecture.)
- Preserving Our Common Heritage: Promoting a Fair Agreement on Climate Change
Presented by Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico, on 2 February, as the 16th U Thant Distinguished Lecture.
- Towards Cancún 2010: Setting the Stage for UNFCCC COP16
A lecture by Patricia Espinosa, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mexico and the chair of the COP16 climate summit, presented on 5 July.
- Climate Change and the Mayan Vision
A lecture by Álvaro Colom Caballeros, President of Guatemala, presented on On 21 October.
- Climate Change and Loss of Nature's Diversity: New Actions and Alliances in Response to Key Global Challenges
Presented by Erik Solheim, Norwegian Minister of International Development, on 27 October as the 2010 Fridtjof Nansen Memorial Lecture. After the lecture, Minister Solheim gave an interview at UNU on the topic of global environmental governance in our multipolar world.
Japan-CARICOM Public Symposium
The focus of this event, held on 2 September, was "Climate Change and Biodiversity". The symposium featured presentations by several foreign ministers from the Caribbean Community as well as Japanese academics and experts.
Our World 2.0
The award-winning Our World 2.0 web magazine, produced by the UNU Media Centre, shares the ideas and actions of citizens around the world who are transforming our lives for the better through video briefs, articles, debates, photo essays and public events. Climate is one of the four themes covered by Our World 2.0.
Samples from Our World 2.0
A project in Tajikistan aims to unite leading scientists and local communities to document scientific and traditional knowledge on climate change.
Insurance and risk reduction measures could reduce long-term adaptation costs and help those vulnerable to manage some of the impacts of climate change.
This video brief, the first in a 3-part series showcasing Bangladeshi resilience in coping with climate change, looks at a fisherman's struggle.
The divisions we see around climate change are nothing new. Indeed they resemble the divergent views on population growth in the days of Thomas Malthus.
UNU Climate Change-Related Publications
The document linked at the right lists almost 70 selected publications relating to climate change produced by UNU researchers that are available online. It covers research published from 2008 to 2010, and is categorized by publication type to facilitate your exploration of UNU research.
Among recent UNU climate-related publications are the following:
Warner, K.; Zissener, M.; Kreft, S.; Hoppe, P.; Bals, C.; Linnerooth-Bayer, J.; Haas, A.; Gurenko, E.; Loster, T.; Burton, I. (2010): Solutions for Vulnerable Countries and People: Designing and Implementing Disaster Risk Reduction & Insurance for Adaptation. Policy Brief, UNU-EHS.
Braimoh, A.; Subramanian, M.S.; Elliott, W.; Gasparatos, A. (2010): Climate and Human-Related Drivers of Biodiversity Decline in Southeast Asia. UNU-IAS Policy Report. UNU-IAS, Yokohama, Japan.
Arndt, C.; Strzepeck, K.; Tarp, F.; Thurlow, J.; Fant, C.; Wright, L. (2010): Adapting to Climate Change: An Integrated Biophysical and Economic Assessment for Mozambique. UNU-WIDER Working Paper 2010/101.
Warner, K.; Loster, T.; Zissener, M.; Kreft, S.; Linnerooth-Bayer, J.; Bals, C.; Hoppe, P.; Gurenko, E.; Burton, I.; Haas, A. (2009): Vulnerable Countries and People: How Disaster Risk Reduction & Insurance Can Help Manage the Risks of Climate Change. Policy Brief, UNU-EHS.
Oliver-Smith, A.; Shen, X. (Eds.) (2009): Linking Environmental Change, Migration & Social Vulnerability. SOURCE No. 12. UNU-EHS, Bonn, Germany.
McLean, K.G. (ed.) (2009): Climate Change Experiences in Northern Australia - Health, Adaptation, Fire Management and Global Relevance: Proceedings of the International Public Forum on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change - The Tropical Australian Experience. UNU-IAS, Yokohama, Japan.
Usable Thoughts: Climate, Water and Weather in the Twenty-First Century
Michael H. Glantz and Qian Ye
This book draws on quotations taken from the WMO-sponsored publication Climate: Into the 21st Century to stimulate discussion about the earth's climate system, including its interrelatedness to human society and the environment, the impact of climate variability, and climate extremes and change.
Climate Change in Asia: Perspectives on the Future Climate Regime
Edited by Yasuko Kameyama, Agus P. Sari, Moekti H. Soejahmoen and Norichika Kanie
Countries in Asia have particularly high stakes in the intense and growing international debate over the future climate change regime.
UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security
Nature, Society, and Population Displacement:
Toward an Understanding of Environmental Migration and Social Vulnerability
Anthony Oliver-Smith, 2009; Part of the UNU-EHS InterSecTions series.
UNU Traditional Knowledge Initiative
The Anchorage Declaration
Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change, April 2009
Visit the UNU Traditional Knowledge Initiative Publications page for information on forthcoming publications and the Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change video series.
Page last modified 2011.06.07.