United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability


United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability

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Sethi M.,National Institute of Urban Affairs | Sethi M.,United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability | Puppim de Oliveira J.,Fundacao Getulio Vargas FGV | Puppim de Oliveira J.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | And 2 more authors.
Urban Climate | Year: 2015

As the world takes an unprecedented rural-urban population tilt, the 21st century poses a challenge in further tinkering the internationally evident disparities in access and allocation of carbon. Traditionally, inequalities have been negotiated from economic or 'state of development' perspective. This research, to our knowledge is the first of its kind that plots carbon emission of over 200 nations/territories against a spatial framework. The study argues that existing dualities in the international climate change governance, evident in the so called global 'North-South' economic divide, has a stronger component of 'Urban-Rural' spatial disparity in the making, which is likely to further precipitate into a much local but complex dynamic, particularly relevant to the developing world, that face the double challenge of rapid urbanization and environmental sustainability. The paper discusses the ethical, empirical and governance gaps in climate governance related to the urban-rural carbon dynamics and conclude with a future pathway, committed to procedural justice and sub-nationalization of carbon governance, fairly acknowledging carbon flows at the local level through standard inventories based on consumption criteria. The research offers a shifting paradigm in global climate governance, in view of the inclusion of cities as Goal 11 within the upcoming sustainable development goals and the UNFCCC COP21 to be held in Paris in 2015 and beyond. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

UNESCO and partners convene international experts to advance vital new approach to solve interconnected problems; More well-funded, multi-disciplinary education, studies and research essential to meet humanity's growing needs, global goals The "business as usual" approach to scientific problem-solving -- characterized too often by narrow, disconnected, uni-dimensional research -- simply isn't up to the vital task of addressing the world's increasingly complex, inter-connected problems. That's the quandary inspiring a high-level international experts meeting in Malaysia Dec. 19-21 to be conducted under the auspices of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The meeting's mandate: Recommend how to stimulate worldwide the large-perspective, trans-disciplinary scientific approach needed to slow and reverse increasingly complex threats to human well-being on track to worsen in the near future. For example, energy, water and food security are recognized as a highly-interrelated trio of fundamental issues confronting policy-makers, who must weigh and balance choices related to one part of the nexus against impacts on the other two. Urban planning, infrastructure design and climate science is another combination of natural, industrial and social sciences that need to be bridged and dots connected, informed by a wealth of relevant indigenous and local knowledge. The combination of human health and livestock production sciences is among a myriad of other examples. UNESCO's two-year "Sustainability Science Approach" project aims to foster more collaborative, multi-disciplinary research and education worldwide. It was initiated in October 2015 by two UNESCO sectors - Natural Sciences, and Social and Human Sciences - together with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan/MEXT), which hosted the first symposium last April. This second symposium in Kuala Lumpur (program), hosted by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), the Office of the Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, and UNESCO, will air regional experiences and help formulate concrete new international "Sustainability Science Policy Guidelines," being readied for UNESCO member states' consideration at the third and final symposium, in Paris next fall. "Sustainability Science is essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It is problem- and solution-oriented - an innovative form of "use-inspired basic research. And interest in this approach is growing within the policy-making community." Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Co-Chair of MIGHT "Sustainability science is needed now more than ever, with humanity facing unprecedented challenges that require researchers and policymakers to work together to develop integrated, transformative solutions. This symposium will play an important role in charting the future path for sustainability science and advancing such solutions, including efforts to achieve the global goals." Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Senior Visiting Professor, United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) "With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, governments are posing many questions: What kind of knowledge is needed to inform the 2030 Development Agenda? How can natural and social sciences engage in a dialogue with each other as well as with relevant indigenous and local knowledge? Can the knowledge of other stakeholders than the academic community be mobilized to address societal challenges related to sustainability? What are the institutional measures that may be required to pursue inter- and trans-disciplinary research and education? Through expert work in the area of sustainability science facilitated by UNESCO and generously funded by Japan, we are starting to have the right answers to such important questions, and the meeting in Kuala Lumpur is a fundamental step to this end." Salvatore Arico, Chief of Section, Capacity Building in Science and Engineering, Natural Sciences Sector, UNESCO Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology The Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee under the purview of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. MIGHT is an organization built on the strength of public-private partnership with more than 100 members, both local and international, from industry, government and academia. MIGHT is dedicated to providing a platform for industry-government consensus building in the drive to advance high technology competency in Malaysia.

Adenle A.A.,United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability | Morris E.J.,University of Pretoria | Parayil G.,United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability
Food Policy | Year: 2013

The use of genetically modified (GM) crop technology in tackling food security problems and poverty reduction in Africa continues to generate debates over its benefits and safety. Only four countries, South Africa, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Egypt have commercialized GM crops in Africa but controversy surrounds current cultivation of GM maize in Egypt. Our study provides new perspectives on the status, development and regulation of GM crops through examining the views of 305 stakeholders in six African countries across four regions: South Africa, Kenya (East Africa), Egypt and Tunisia (North Africa), Ghana and Nigeria (West Africa), supplemented by interviews with relevant international organizations. The study revealed the challenges leading to the development of biosafety regulatory frameworks and the role of individual stakeholders in the facilitation of GM crops across African countries. This study also revealed that some countries may go through a Fiber-Feed-Food (F3) approach to adopt GM crops where Bt cotton will be adopted first followed by GM crops for livestock feed while undergoing all the necessary assessments before producing GM foods for human consumption. An overwhelming majority of stakeholders placed emphasis on risk analysis (risk assessment and management) in view of limited capacity, lack of scientific expertise and public concern, and encouraged a centralized approach to risk assessment similar to the European Union model of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). © 2013.

Mauerhofer V.,University of Vienna | Mauerhofer V.,United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability | Mauerhofer V.,PRIMAFF Policy Research Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture | Kim R.E.,Griffith University | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2015

What are the processes that shape implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in multilevel governance? In an attempt to address this question, we move from a top-down view of implementation as compliance with international rules to viewing it as a dynamic process shaped by action at various levels. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands offers an important context to understand the mechanisms that shape multilevel implementation outcomes. We examine Ramsar Convention implementation in Austria, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea in order to identify relevant processes that define multilevel implementation. These cases represent three different types of government, and shed light on the ways in which international law is implemented by respective governments. The Austrian case, a federal government, illustrates the ways in which subnational authorities (the provinces) are influenced by binding regional institutions (EU-rules) to create a more robust context for protection in terms of designation of Ramsar sites. The Mexican case, a semi-federal government, shows how spurred involvement by local NGOs, states, and scientists can result in significant expansion of efforts. The Korean case, a unitary government, demonstrates the ways in which aligning institutional interests (in this case local governments with national ministries) can lead to strong implementation. Analysis of these cases provides two robust findings and one deserving additional study. First, overlapping governance efforts where activity has ties with multiple regional and international biodiversity efforts tend to see cumulative implementation. Second, institutional and organizational complexity can provide opportunities for local actors to drive the implementation agenda through a mix of processes of coordination and contentious politics. A third, more tentative finding, is that multilevel funding sources can ease implementation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Gu H.,Shanghai Academy of Social science | Gu H.,United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability | Subramanian S.M.,United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability
Ecology and Society | Year: 2014

The term socio-ecological production landscapes (SEPLs) has recently gained currency in conservation circles because of a recognized need to look beyond protected areas to the management of human-influenced landscapes and ecosystems. We have drawn on a variety of case studies from Asia and other parts of the world to understand the underlying driving forces that have led to the need for greater awareness and sustainable management of SEPLs. We have analyzed the drivers of these changes from sociopolitical, legal, economic, and socio-cultural perspectives. The analysis shows that SEPLs contribute to local, national, and global economies, and their production and harvesting processes are subject to external demands and pressures. Policy makers should recognize the wide range and diverse values of SEPLs and incorporate these values into broader policy considerations. We have also provided some suggestions for future studies. © 2014 by the author(s).

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