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         4 July 2002

In July, the United Nations University (UNU) will sign an agreement of cooperation with Shimadzu Corporation of Kyoto to embark on a three-year (2002-2005) project on "Environmental Monitoring and Governance in the East Asian Hydrosphere." The main focus of the project will be on monitoring of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in rivers and freshwater bodies close to coastal areas. The objective is to develop an early-warning system to counter and minimize environmental pollution; this will be achieved through periodic and systematic monitoring.

Water bodies, particularly coastal areas, are at particular risk of pollution from land-based sources, which can be many and varied. POPs are of major concern because they are highly resistant to natural degradation processes and thus persist in the environment. POPs include several categories of chemicals that are known to cause cancers and disrupt the normal functioning of hormones in humans and animals.

Partner countries in the project include China, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Selected research institutions in these countries have been engaged since 1996 in a UNU-managed environmental monitoring and analysis programme, also sponsored by Shimadzu Corporation.

"One of the most significant contributions of UNU's work is the capacity development of research and scientific institutions in the East Asian region to undertake environmental pollution monitoring," said Prof. Hans van Ginkel, Rector of UNU. "This effort has helped the institutions in understanding the extent of pollution coming to coastal areas from land-based sources, as well as in initiating other monitoring programmes."

The project agreement will be signed by Prof. van Ginkel and Mr. Hidetoshi Yajima, President and CEO of Shimadzu Corporation, at the UN House (12F Meeting Room) in Tokyo on Monday, 15 July 2002, at 3:00 p.m. The signing ceremony will be followed by a question and answer session with the press.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend.

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For more information, please contact:
UNU Public Affairs Section,
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346
Dr. Zafar Adeel, Academic Programme Officer
Environment & Sustainable Development, UNU
Tel.: (03) 3499-2811; Fax: (03) 3499-2828; E-mail: Zafar Adeel




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