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         19 June 2002

From 8-10 July 2002, United Nations University (UNU) will convene a conference entitled "Conserving Our Coastal Environment." The conference, to be held at the UN House in Tokyo in partnership with the Iwate Prefectural Government and UNESCO, will consist of three symposia: "Endocrine Disruptor Pollution in Asia and the Pacific"(8 July), "Coastal Management and Sustainable Development" (9 July) and "Marine Ecology and Environment"(10 July). The aim of the conference is to highlight various aspects of coastal conservation, rehabilitation and resource management. Human dependence on the life-sustaining presence of oceans is under threat from a range of destabilizing effects associated with human activities, including different forms of pollution. The threats are particularly manifest in coastal ecosystems, where the delicate state of mangroves, coral reefs and other coastal habitats is a growing cause for concern. Coastal managers need to respond to these issues with informed management of coastal areas, and to share the lessons that they have learned in rising to this challenge. This conference is a clear indication of UNU's long-term commitment to focus on coastal issues through research and capacity development programmes. This is in accordance with Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and the UN's Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities, adopted in 1995. It will showcase the achievements to date of UNU and its network of researchers in developing a better understanding of the coastal environment and its conservation needs. Leading experts - including representatives and researchers from US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Environment Canada; Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Thailand; UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme; Japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Ministry of the Environment of Japan; Polar Research Institute of Japan; and many universities across Asia - will present their most recent research. This conference also marks the successful completion of the three-year programme called "Environmental Monitoring and Governance in the East Asian Coastal Hydrosphere." Within this project, UNU has successfully completed a second three-year phase, sponsored by Shimadzu Corporation, focused on monitoring of pollution by endocrine disruptor compounds (EDCs) in the East Asian region. The conference will also celebrate the successful completion of the first three-year phase, sponsored by the Iwate Prefectural Government, focused on research on marine and coastal ecosystems. Ceremonies to celebrate these milestones will be held on 8 and 10 July, respectively.

The conference in Tokyo will be followed by an International Public Seminar in Morioka on 11 July and a Symposium entitled "Man and the Ocean" in Otsuchi on 12 July.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend. Simultaneous interpretation is available in both English and Japanese. All three days of the conference are open to the public. Admission is free, although advance registration is required. The deadline for registration is 28 June.

The conference programme and registration form (in English) for all three days of the conference is available on UNU's website at

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For more information, or to make a media reservation to attend the conference, please contact:
UNU Public Affairs Section,
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346




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