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 Environment and Sustainable Development
 Programme (ESD)





About ESD



Prof. Iwao Kobori

Senior Programme Adviser


Born in 1924 in Yokohama, Japan. He graduated from the Department of Geography, Tokyo Imperial University, in 1946, continued research up to 1948 as graduate student. From 1949 to 1985, he held a senior faculty position at the United of Tokyo (Research Assistant, Institute of Oriental Culture & Associate and full Professor at the Department of Geography) and engaged in Research on Water Problems in Arid Zones.

After official retirement, he served as a Professor in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Mie University (European & Mediterranean Studies) between 1985 and 1987, and then in the School of Political Science & Economics, Meiji University (Regional Development) between 1987 and 1995. From 1995, he joined the Academic Division (ESD) of the United Nations University as Professor (Senior Programme Adviser), especially Desertification and Drylands issues.

His international activities include his role as Visiting Professor, University of Michigan (1972), Director, Masion du Japon, Cite Internationale de l'Universite de Paris (1982-1984), Member of Executive Board of ICRISAT (1976-1982), Board of Trustees of ICARDA (1996-2002, Vice-Chair), Council Member of International Drylands Development Commission (1993-present). Other activities include IGU Commission, Desertification in and around Arid Lands, Advisor on Arabia Plan & Experts on Apace Archaeology & Qanat, UNESCO/Expert, preparatory workshop on Desertification, UNEP/Expert, the Middle-East Peace Process Initiative, the World Bank, and many other institutions.

He was the first President of the Japanese Association for Arid Land Studies (1990-2000) and also president of Societe Franco-Japonaise de Geographie (1995, now Honorary President), Honorary member of Societa di Geografia Italiana, Societe de Geographie de Paris.

He has conducted many international missions to Asia, Africa and Latin America mainly for the research on Water Problems in arid and Semi-Arid lands, especially the Qanat system and Oasis studies. He has written more than 100 articles, eight books, edited ten publications and translated seven titles.


1 February 2005

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