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close this bookUnited Nations University - Work in Progress Newsletter - Volume 13, Number 2, 1990 (UNU, 1990, 12 pages)
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UNU update

The following is from an information circular prepared twice a year for use within the immediate UNU system. We think that such occasional reports on overall University activities may be also of interest to the world-wide readership of WORK IN PROGRESS - Editor

It is now 15 years since UNU opened its headquarters in Tokyo. To commemorate this anniversary, the University has organized three international symposia. The Tokyo Symposium on the Mega-City and Mankind's Future (22-25 October 1990) reviewed the major policy responses of the mega-cities in the coming decades, with a view to produce a body of work focusing on innovative policy recommendations. This will have a special focus on the trends and the dynamism of demographic changes, the consequences of economic development and social transformation, and effective management of living conditions and resources utilization.* The Japan-ASEAN Forum on "Development and Aid in ASEAN: the Role of Japan" (19-20 November 1990) discussed issues related to development and aid in the ASEAN region and the role of Japan. This was the first of an annual series of meetings, which will serve as a regional forum in which various topics relevant to the development of the countries in this region will be taken up. The third commemorative symposium, on "the Impact of Chaos Theory on Science and Society," will be held on 15-17 April 1991, at the University of Tokyo, to explore the impact of the emerging science of chaos on various scientific disciplines and the resulting broader implications for science and society.

* The Mega-City conference proceedings will be the main focus of the next issue of WORK IN PROGRESS. - Editor.

Together with senior colleagues, the Rector attended a meeting on Cooperation among Autonomous Research Institutes of the United Nations held on 11 July 1990 in Geneva. Organized by the Director-General for Development and International Economic Co-operation, at the request of the General Assembly, the meeting discussed various ways and means to enhance practical cooperation among the UN research institutes, particularly in regard to the formulation and implementation of their programmes and plans. After opening the meeting, the Director-General requested the Rector to chair the meeting on his behalf. It was agreed among the institutes to work out concrete areas of cooperation in terms of joint projects as feasible (along the lines of the joint project between the University and UNRISD). The proposal by the University and UNCSTD to organize a Register of Research of the United Nations system was well received, and it was agreed to implement such a Register in a phased manner with the co-operation of the various research institutes and the UN Secretariat.

The Director-General of UNESCO has kindly offered temporary facilities at UNESCO's Regional Office of Science and Technology in Nairobi to accommodate the interim office for the Programme for Natural Resources in Africa, which is designed to lead to the full realization of the UNU's Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU/INRA). The Director of the Programme, Dr. Bede Okigbo, will move to Nairobi in January 1991.

In July, Dr. Okigbo held fruitful consultations in Lusaka with the Minister of Higher Education and the University of Zambia and agreed to start the operation of the mineral resources unit and the initial programme to be undertaken within the framework of the UNDP project funding of US$1 million for UNU/INRA.

Professor Charles Cooper assumed directorship of UNU/INTECH (UNU Institute for New Technologies) on 1 October 1990. The first formal meeting of the Board of UNU/INTECH was held in Maastricht on 8-9 November to discuss the initial programme of work.

The Sasakawa Foundation's contribution of US$4 million to the University's Endowment Fund in 1990 earmarked for UNU/WIDER (UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research) has now been confirmed. It is expected that this new grant will continue on an annual basis over a five-year period (totalling US$20 million). This major addition to the University's Endowment Fund will enable UNU/WIDER to expand its work as envisaged at the time of its establishment in December 1983.

A meeting of the Management Group of the AAU-UNU Joint Regional Food and Nutrition Project for Africa was held in Brussels in June. A report of the activities undertaken since the last meeting (in Accra in November 1989) was presented and included information on a two-week workshop on research management held in Douala, Cameroon, from 20 November-2 December 1989. The workshop, primarily organized for directors of research institutions involved in the project, was attended by participants from Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Zaire. The main objectives were to identify constraints in effective management of R&D institutions, to foster institutional collaboration and to provide a blueprint on how R&D institutions should be managed.

A UNU/WIDER research conference on Hunger and Public Action was held in July 1990. It brought together some 20 high-level policy-makers and academics from Africa, South Asia and Latin America to discuss the first results of WIDER's action-oriented research programme on hunger and poverty, as described in a recent UNU/WIDER publication. Hunger and Public Action, co-authored by Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen.

A workshop on "Developing Country Perspectives on National and International Policy Aspects of Global Warming," sponsored by UNU, UNESCO, IFIAS (International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study), IDRC (International Development Research Centre), the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the Woods Hole Research Center, was held in Montebello, Canada, from 29 July-1 August 1990. The workshop was part of the preparations now underway for the Second World Climate Conference and the negotiations for a Climate Change Convention. Twenty scientific and international diplomatic and legal affairs experts participated in the meeting. The workshop focused on the needs and requirements for changing energy policies in developing countries, and the international co-operation that will be essential to such change.

An International Dietary Energy Consultancy Group workshop on Improved Protein-Energy Intakes in Early Childhood and Human Capital Formation: the Guatemala Oriente Study (1969-89) was held in Bellagio, Italy, from 30 July-3 August with financial support of the US Agency for International Development.

The 16 experts attending examined critically the results and policy implications of the INCAP (Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama) study, comparing the psychomotor development of pre-school children receiving a protein-rich diet with those receiving an isocaloric supplement that was almost protein-free. The effect of the supplementation was reexamined 10 and 20 years later when the children became adolescents and young adults. This showed the positive effects of the nutritional supplementation on growth rate and learning behaviour.

A UNU/WIDER conference on Privatization in Eastern Europe was held in Helsinki on 16-17 August 1990 and attended by about 20 participants from the countries of that region. The conference provided an opportunity to the policy-makers to clarify the analytics of privatization. It revealed that privatization of small scale enterprises had been successful in most of the relevant countries.

A workshop on Rapid Assessment Procedures (RAP) for Child Survival and Other Programmes of Nutrition and Primary Health Care in Brazil and Portuguese-speaking Africa was held in São Paulo from 20-25 August with 23 participants attending. The relevant UNU publications on the RAP methodology and the training manual developed by the UNU with the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) were used as training materials for the workshop. Another RAP workshop was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 17-22 September again using the UNU publications. It focused on the use of anthropological techniques for the evaluation and improvement of nutrition and health programmes.

The first international conference on Ethics and Environmental Policies, co-sponsored by the University with Fondazione Lanza, an Italian foundation, was held at Borca di Cadore, Italy, on 31 August-1 September to study how ethical convictions and cultural values can effect environmental policies and attitudes. The conference was held within the framework of the University's Human Dimensions of Global Change Programme. Special attention was paid to the theoretical foundations of environmental values (religious and philosophical) to the decision-making process and to the current values present in individual and entrepreneurial behaviour. The UNU made a special effort to bring developing country participants to the interdisciplinary conference.

A UNU/WIDER conference in Helsinki on 3-7 September dealt with the Environment and the Emerging Development Issues. Twenty-six authoritative studies prepared by expert professionals, including Nobel laureates, were presented. The conference was an integral part of the WIDER programme on the economics of the environment, which is aimed not only at generating and codifying research on foundational matters in economic dimensions of the environment but also at disseminating its findings among teaching and research institutions, especially in the developing countries.

The UNU Global Seminar '90 on Communication and International Relations took place in Hakone, Japan, on 10-14 September with the participation of 91 students and 11 lecturers from both Japan and abroad. The programme dealt with progress in communications technology and its impacts on international political, economic and cultural relations, both from the perspectives of industrial and developing countries. This was the sixth in the series, which has brought together more than 550 students since its inception.

Former UNU Council member, Dr. Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo of Portugal, organized a small planning meeting on 24-25 September in Paris to discuss a programme of studies on women's culture to be undertaken by the University. A research plan is proposed to identify and systematize the values and the modes of behaviour representing women's culture. The meeting took into account the work already done in this area by the UN system including the University's past work on the subject. Participants included women researchers from past UNU projects and UNU/WIDER's ongoing projects.

A planning workshop on Information Processing for Decision-Making was held in Paris on 25-27 September with 20 experts in attendance. It was focused on identify information technologies that are considered appropriate for developing countries to help solve problems related to complex man-made systems and sought to formulate a research programme that may be considered for implementation by the University. A position paper describing the problems to be tackled by the UNU Project on Information and Decision Systems is now under preparation.

An international symposium was organized jointly by the University and the City of Fukuoka, Japan, on 26-27 September on the Present Status and Future Perspectives of Asia-Pacific Research: Issues of Culture and Development. The symposium, attended by some 20 scholars, mostly directors of institutes of Asian studies from 11 countries, identified the current trends and gaps in research on culture and development and reviewed the needs and prospects for regional research co-operation.

WORK IN PROGRESS aims at providing an edited sampling of the research of the United Nations University in various stages of progress or outside material related to ft. It draws on reports, working papers, books, periodicals and uses occasionally original articles. UNU copyrighted articles may be reprinted without permission provided credit is given to WORK IN PROGRESS (United Nations University) and a copy is sent to the Editor. French, Spanish and Japanese editions are also available.


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