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  December 1999    

UNU signs coastal environment research agreement
The UNU, the Ocean Research Institute (ORI) of the University of Tokyo and the Iwate Prefectural Government have agreed to jointly implement a four-year Cooperative International Research Project on Marine and Coastal Environment. On 20 August 1999, UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel visited Morioka in Iwate Prefecture to sign a cooperative agreement with the UNU's partners in the project. The agreement will run through the end of March 2003.

The objective of this cooperative project is to help conserve and protect global and regional marine and coastal environments as well as to contribute to the sustainable development of marine and coastal resources. The project will involve the promotion of international cooperative research, creation of an international network of researchers working in relevant areas and dissemination of the research results.

The University of Tokyo's ORI, a leading research organization in the field of marine and ocean sciences, has played a key role in promoting relevant international cooperative research programmes. The Iwate Prefectural Government has undertaken a variety of environmental measures based on establishing a sustainable society that is in harmony with the environment, and several universities, research laboratories and institutions, including the ORI, have facilities in Iwate prefecture.

In cooperation with selected universities and research laboratories in Iwate prefecture, the UNU, the ORI, and the Iwate Prefectural Government will organize joint research teams to study coastal marine ecosystems, marine pollution prevention and the nutrient cycle. A research network project, which will include promotion of these research topics, will be established utilizing the resources of the UNU's Coastal Hydrosphere Project. In addition, marine and coastal environment information awareness symposiums will be organized for Iwate prefecture citizens, and information about the project will be made available globally through the Internet. An international symposium will be held in late in 2002 or early in 2003 to present the project results.

This is not the first time the UNU, the ORI and the Iwate Prefectural Government have worked together. In 1998, which was designated by the United Nations as "International Year of the Oceans," the three partners jointly organized an International Conference on "Man and the Ocean." Researchers and scholars from around the world took part in that conference, which concluded by indicating the necessity of international cooperative research and proposing establishment of international networks of researchers. It was these conclusions that led the organizing parties to develop the concrete action plans that are the basis of the August agreement.

During the course of the Cooperative International Research Project on Marine and Coastal Environment, the UNU, the ORI and the Iwate Prefectural Government will consider future actions and a framework for promotion of the stated objectives beyond the project's termination.

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