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Changing our production processes and reducing the amount of waste we create was the United Nations University's (UNU) message to the 350 business, government and scientific representatives attending its Third World Congress on Zero Emissions, held from 31 July to 2 Augustin Jakarta, Indonesia.

UNU's Zero Emissions Research Initiative (UNU/ZERI) aims to invent waste-free manufacturing processes. When industries are clustered,the waste from one can become the input for another. In fact, toachieve environmentally sustainable development, industries must make use of each other's waste to the fullest extent possible. UNU/ZERI represents a new standard for industry where industries maximize the use of available materials, eliminating all emissions into air, water and soil. Industry representatives consider it to be the logical continuation of the zero-defects and zero-inventory challenges that they are pursuing in their Total Quality Management and just-in-time efforts.

This year's congress was titled "Symbiosis between Global Environment and Industry Growth" and was opened by Indonesian President Soeharto. Its most important outcome was a declaration produced by the participants. This document, called the Jakarta Declaration, outlines 10 zero emissions-related goals that the participants want to accomplish in the future and describes how they should go about doing it. Such things as working towards increasing the productivity of natural resources and having scientists worldwide share their new zero-emissions innovations were agreed to. The declaration was signed by the heads of state from three countries: Fiji, Indonesia and Namibia. A copy of the declaration is available upon request.

There were nine additional commitments and information exchanges made during the congress that were especially interesting:

  • Dr. Motoyuki Suzuki, a Professor at the University of Tokyo, outlined a four-year $10 million Japanese government-funded research agenda for 54 of the country's university professors.
  • Dr. Sam Nujoma, the President of Namibia, told the audience that his government has committed one million Namibian dollars (US$272,500) towards implementing zero-emissions in his country and also offered to host next year's congress in Namibia.
  • Anders Wijkman, Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that his organization will support the launch of a new scientific journal dedicated to zero-emissions.
  • Japan's Ebara Corporation and the American company Radian International Pty Ltd., announced a partnership to work together on various zero-emissions projects in Asia.
  • The Governor of West Java discussed a decree that he has singed ordering the design and construction of a Zero Emissions Industrial Park for his province's emerging textile industry.
  • Astra and Gunung Sewu, major Indonesian palm oil and pine apple producers, committed to implementing zero-emissions applications at their facilities.
  • Dr. Keto Mshigeni, Chairman of the Third World Academy of Sciences' Agricultural Committee, discussed how UNU/ZERI has helped convert water hyacinths into a valuable foundation for growing mushrooms in Africa.
  • A delegation of 45 Japanese business executives and representatives from several of the country's prefectural governments discussed the benefits they have reaped from engaging the zero-emissions concept.
  • UNU/ZERI's Coordinator, Gunter Pauli, launched his latest book titled Upsizing: more income, more jobs, no pollution.

Dr. Paulo Lugari, founder and Director of the Environmental Research Centre "Las Gaviotas" in Vichada, Colombia, was selected as this year's recipient of UNU's Unique Leadership Award. This award is given annually to someone who has made a unique contribution towards zero emissions. An international selection committee chose Dr. Lugari for his leadership in combining a reforestation project in his country with zero-emissions industries. The award is a bronze sculpture representing the zero-emissions concept.

The congress was featured on two Asian television networks: the Singapore-based Asia Business News produced a 30-minute programme on it and Japan's NHK devoted 10 minutes to the event during its evening news cast.

More information about the UNU/ZERI congress can be obtained by contacting the UNU Public Affairs Section at:
Tel.: (03) 5467-1243,-1246

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