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                               14 September 1999

UNU/IAS to Co-host Environmental Symposium
in Iwate Prefecture

On 11 November 1999, the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU/IAS), the Iwate Prefectural Government and NTT will co-organize an international symposium, “Environment - Information - Education Forum 21,” in Morioka, Japan. This symposium will bring together leading scholars and practitioners to discuss the role of new information and multimedia technologies in assisting local governments and businesses to more effectively deal with environmental issues. The entire event will be broadcast live on the Internet.

The symposium is part of an ongoing collaborative research project, launched in September 1998, that utilizes multimedia and information technologies to gather and publish information on geophysical and environmental conditions in Iwate Prefecture. In line with the Local Agenda 21 approach, the project’s intent is to provide useful environmental information that is relevant to people throughout their entire lives. To accomplish this goal, the project disseminates information for, and with the help of, students and teachers, and provides “green entrepreneurs” and decision makers with information on a variety of approaches to environmental conservation.

“Environment - Information - Education Forum 21” will open with an address by Hiroya Masuda, Governor of Iwate Prefecture. This will be followed with a keynote speech by Prof. Norman Myers, Oxford University, and author of Gaia ? An Atlas of Planet Management.

The afternoon session will feature a multi-point video-conference among pupils from three local schools who will undertake studies at a local factory, an environmental facility and a marine products museum. The students will collate their findings via the Internet and present the results to the audience in the conference hall. Following this “virtual classroom” demonstration will be a panel discussion on “Utilizing Networks to Create a New Environmental Era.”

A tentative programme is attached. More details on the forum programme and the Internet broadcast are available at A project homepage (in Japanese) has been established at, and an English version will go online in October (

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For further information, please contact:

UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel.: (03) 5467-1243, -1246 •    Fax: (03) 3406-7346

Brendan Barrett ( or Kaoru Miyamoto (
Tel.: (03) 5467-2323 •    Fax: (03) 5467-2324

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