Japan Iceland Geothermal Forum
Exploring the Potential of Geothermal Energy
2010.11.19 • On 16 November 2010, UNU Headquarters in Tokyo hosted the "Japan Iceland Geothermal Forum 2010". The event was co-organized by UNU, the Embassy of Iceland in Tokyo, the Japan Energy Association, the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and the Thermal and Nuclear Power Engineering Society.
This forum was intended, as Icelandic Ambassador to Tokyo Stefán Lárus Stefánsson noted, to balance both technical and financial considerations of the great potential for geothermal energy, particularly as a key element in the global strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In his keynote address, H.E. Mr. Össur Skarphéðinsson, the Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, highlighted the great similarities between Japan and Iceland as geothermal nations situated where natural resources may be used to provide for an increasing proportion of national energy output. The Minister predicted that geothermal energy may play a greater role in future world energy production.
Specifically, he said, nations have yet to take full advantage of new natural resources in providing geothermal power. Emerging technologies — for example, the deep drilling technology that is currently being developed in Iceland — have the potential to further increase power yields. Many countries currently have untapped geothermal power potential. The region of East Africa, for instance, could greatly benefit from deep drilling to help close the existent energy gap and provide electricity to those currently without it. As the Minister declared, "the age of the geothermal is just beginning".
Morning and afternoon sessions introduced attendees to the numerous practical concerns of implementing geothermal power through case studies and panel discussions. These sessions focused on what both Iceland and Japan may do to take advantage of geothermal power individually, as well as on ways in which energy companies of the two countries could increase cooperation to facilitate further research and development into geothermal technology.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Haraldur Flosi Tryggvason, Chairman of Reykjavik Energy, emphasized the utmost importance for this cooperation in the years to come for both the private and public sectors of the two countries.
APABIS Annual Conference
Sustainable Decision-Making in a Time of Crisis: Public and Private Perspectives
2010.11.16 • UNU-ISP hosted the annual Asia Pacific Academy of Business in Society (APABIS) conference at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo on 4–5 November. In the week before the 2010 APEC Meetings in Yokohama, leading experts from academia, the private sector and the public sector assessed the current global financial and environmental crises, and explored new ways of governing and doing business.
In a keynote speech, Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado eloquently highlighted the urgency of the global climate change crisis.
The first plenary session examined the challenges and opportunities of the current global crises, with speakers emphasizing the need for responsible leadership to balance short- and long-term concerns. Harish Manwani of Unilever proposed reversing a common adage by encouraging us to "think local, act global". Participants then engaged in separate sessions on themes including governance, CSR, natural resources, climate change and sustainability.
During the second day, the audience was moved by passionate presentations from social entrepreneur Mel Young on the Homeless World Cup, and from Kiyoshi Amemiya on a successful landmine removal project in Cambodia.
Participants suggested that our conception of wealth should incorporate human well-being, and that the "business as usual" economic model needs to change to a more sustainable one. The conference highlighted the need for civil society to play a more active role in decision making, and emphasized that all areas of society would benefit from a transition to a more sustainable paradigm.
Participants at the APABIS conference reflect on the current global crises and how sustainability offers a way forward.
UN University News
UNU plans new "twin institute" in Germany, Mozambique
2010.11.12 • On 11 and 12 November, UNU is organizing a workshop to solidify the scope and mission of the envisaged new UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and Resources (UNU-FLORES). The focus of the new institute will be on sustainable management of resources, such as water, soil and waste.
UNU-FLORES, in line with the UNU "twin institutes" concept, will have two locations: one in Dresden (Germany) and one in Maputo (Mozambique).
The two-day scoping workshop brings together high-ranking delegates and scientists from Germany and Mozambique, as well scientists from the Africa and the Arab region, and international representatives from UN-Water and other UNU institutes worldwide to develop a strategy for the institute's initial phase.
"I am delighted that this international workshop lays the foundation for a new UNU Institute", said UNU Rector Konrad Osterwalder. "UNU-FLORES will focus on issues of crucial importance in the area of sustainability, the hallmark of UNU [and] its work will have an important North-South dimension."
A Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of UNU-FLORES will be signed in the coming weeks by UNU, the German Federal Ministry of Education and and Research, the Free State of Saxony and the Technical University of Dresden.
Message of the Satoyama Governors' Summit
"Towards sustainable use of satoyama/satoumi landscapes and regional revitalization"
UNGA President Speaks at UNU
Reaffirming the UN's Role in Global Governance
2010.11.03 • Dr. Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, President of the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly, delivered a lecture entitled "Reaffirming the Central Role of the United Nations in Global Governance" at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo on Friday, 29 October 2010. Dr. Deiss opened his presentation by stressing that the world is at a critical juncture with regard to global governance for three reasons.
First, we are witnessing an increasing degree of global interconnectedness as well as a rise in both new and old borderless challenges, such as climate change, cybercrime and financial crises. Following the principle of subsidiarity, the global nature of these issues requires appropriate global responses. Second, the recent financial crisis illustrates a wider shift in political power towards emerging markets. Third, systems of global governance are becoming increasingly complex, encompassing civil society, multilateral institutions and informal intergovernmental frameworks (such as the G8 and G20).
In this context, the United Nations emerges as an actor with distinct advantages, including the equal representation of its 192 Member States under the UN Charter. Even so, the global landscape requires further improvement in the General Assembly in four key areas.
Dr. Deiss noted that, first, confidence in the UN as a facilitator of global governance must be reinvigorated. Second, UN economic bodies, specifically the UN Economic and Social Council, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, must be reformed to the point where they can serve their original mandates.
Third, the UN must find a means to communicate with other actors of global governance, such as through informal debates pre- and post-G20 involving the General Assembly and G20 members. Lastly, Dr. Deiss stressed the importance of establishing close connections between national governments, regional institutions, civil society and the private sector.
He concluded by reiterating his vision of a United Nations with the means to serve as a central forum within which such issues can be addressed.
Page last modified 2011.06.07.
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