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Institute for Sustainability and Peace
The United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) seeks to achieve and promote a better understanding of the broad, intersecting themes that extend across three of the most pressing issues on the UN agenda. UNU-ISP takes an innovative, integrated approach to sustainability — one that encompasses global change, development, peace and security. The Institute bridges these cross-cutting issues through research, educational and collaborative initiatives with the aim of solving current problems and anticipating future challenges. UNU-ISP works in collaboration with other UNU Institutes as well as through cooperative relationships with the global academic and policy-making communities. UNU-ISP, which became operational on 1 January 2009, was established to exploit the strengths of the former UNU Environment and Sustainable Development and UNU Peace and Governance Programmes, and to create transdisciplinary synergies that can more effectively address pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare. Within the context of sustainability and peace, UNU-ISP: • Conducts research; undertakes education, training and capacity development; and facilitates the dissemination of scientiﬁc knowledge and information to the United Nations and its agencies, to scholars and to the public. • Provides opportunities for postgraduate students and professionals to obtain a wider understanding of relevant issues. • Integrates the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities into a transdisciplinary approach that contributes to the development and strengthening of policy frameworks and management actions at all levels.
Institute for Sustainability and Peace | 1
human rights. In carrying out its work. are particularly vulnerable. the programme emphasizes global change. but also such factors as growing amounts of atmospheric carbon from bio-mass burning and industrial and trafﬁc pollution. bringing with it a host of sustainability and quality-of-life problems. in line with the goals of the United Nations: freedom from fear. Rapid urbanization is another major trend. and large-scale changes in land cover and land management practices that affect carbon storage and ﬂuxes. they must be addressed in the context of the social and economic drivers that will shape future global population composition and consumption patterns. Its research. and mitigating its adverse impacts is a top UN priority. thereby affecting ecosystem sustainability. cross-cutting themes. Changes in land cover and management also are leading to land degradation and loss of biodiversity. as well as marine and coastal areas. education and outreach activities promote integrated approaches to identify sustainable solutions to global problems. Hence. The global change and sustainability focus of UNU-ISP seeks to clarify our understanding of sustainable development and the interaction among its constituent components (environment. Mountains and drylands. which is broader in concept than global environmental change in that it encompasses human-induced changes to the biophysical environment as well as the evolving social systems and interactions that will determine the future directions of human development. Climate change involves not just the increase of greenhouse gases. resulting mainly from human activities. governance and related issues into the following three thematic areas: 1 Global Change and Sustainability Large-scale changes. are affecting the global environment to an unprecedented extent and threatening the sustainability of ecosystems that are essential to our survival and well-being. UNU-ISP weaves elements of ecological security. The problems that are profoundly inﬂuencing the global environment and sustainability cannot be resolved in isolation. society and the economy). freedom from want and freedom to live in dignity. This approach incorporates an anthropogenic-centred focus on sustainable development (development that fulﬁls the needs of the present generations without endangering the needs of future generations) and an eco-centric perspective aimed at improving the quality of life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems. One of the greatest challenges now facing humanity is climate change.UNU-ISP aims at cross-fertilizing natural science and social science methodologies through teams working on institute-wide. Institute for Sustainability and Peace | 2 .
Institute for Sustainability and Peace | 3 . UNU-ISP develops research addressing threats to peace such as violent conﬂicts. is to maintain international peace and security. It publishes policy-oriented recommendations and identiﬁes longer term trends that have peace and security implications. land degradation and deforestation. organized crime. policy makers and practitioners in the UN system. pollutants. ceaseﬁres or peace agreements prove unsuccessful and give way to renewed and intensiﬁed violence. the proliferation of weapons and terrorism. integrated approaches to enabling sustainable development while preserving ecosystems. In all-too-many cases. Priority Themes: • Climate change and adaptation. • Rural and urban sustainability and linkages. innovative approaches that conceptualize peace and security in the broadest sense. The concept of peacebuilding has developed sustainable. • Develop common. Even after wars end. The evolving nature of conﬂict has seen an increase in violent insurgencies that deliberately target civilians. It further examines the changing geopolitical context and the challenges of climate change. • Managing risks from disasters. human rights abuses. It applies forward-looking. economic globalization and interdependence. as laid down in the UN Charter. engaging academic partners around the world. Post-conﬂict situations are of particular concern due to the traumatic distortion of economic. long-term approaches to peace. Some state actors also terrorize civilians. In this context. aiming to prevent divided countries falling back into violence. the concept of state sovereignty has gradually evolved towards the responsibility to protect people at risk. recruit child soldiers and refuse to negotiate ceaseﬁres. Research ﬁndings feed into education for researchers. engage in asymmetric warfare and employ counter-terrorist strategies that violate human dignity. integrating challenges such as climate change and poverty reduction. • Improve understanding of detection and prediction of factors of global change that affect sustainability. UNU-ISP develops research and education on these critical issues. the spread of diseases. political and social relations among groups and individuals.Objectives: • Strengthen the capacity of affected communities to develop strategies for adapting to and mitigating the adverse impacts of environmental change. enormous security and governance challenges remain. 2 Peace and Security Peace and security are the raison d’etre of the United Nations: its ﬁrst purpose. with human security displacing territorial security as a central concern. • Water and food security.
environmental change. The UN Millennium Development Goals provide a compelling platform for action to address these problems. but to persuade states to comply with agreed-upon rules and to achieve development goals. Multilateral international cooperation is crucial not only to draft and ratify agreements that regulate the economy. encompassing issues of development. development and human rights in a time of global change and a multiplicity of challenges. science and technology. deﬁance of international law. While cooperation among states is usually well declared in statements. • Develop knowledge on war and violence. UNU-ISP explores the opportunities for partnerships and international cooperation that they can offer. civilian vulnerability and the responsibility to protect. and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights”. Recognizing the expanding roles and responsibilities of civil society and the private sector. and cultural and religious tolerance. social. peace and security. UNU-ISP regards the sustainable development and human rights agendas as a single integrated volume of knowledge that informs policies to achieve decency and human dignity. orientation to self-help policies. and North-South confrontations all highlight the need for good governance and multilateral cooperation. As Africa is the continent historically most exploited and affected by economic inequality. healthcare. • Develop integrated approaches to peace. and potentially the most Institute for Sustainability and Peace | 4 . and recommends sustainable strategies to address economic inequalities and challenges to multilateralism. • The United Nations system and international law. and offer guidelines for conﬂict transformation and long-term peacebuilding. But achievement of the targets requires a comprehensive and sustainable approach. are “to develop friendly relations among nations” and “to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic. under-representation in decision-making. peacebuilding and transitional justice. cultural or humanitarian character. and insufﬁcient access to resources. economic and social inequalities both within and between states. achieve an understanding of conﬂict dynamics. UNU-ISP develops research addressing under-development. UNU-ISP analyses the development of norms and institutions of international cooperation. as stipulated in its Charter. • Human rights. 3 International Cooperation and Development Two key purposes of the United Nations. it is often not selfevident in practice. trade and ﬁnancial transactions. Continued recourse to unilateralism. • Conﬂict prevention. Priority themes: • Modern nature of violence.Objectives: • Supply the UN system with timely and sustainable policy recommendations on pressing global peace and security issues. education.
• International cooperation: gaps and challenges to multilateralism and compliance with international law. development. and Peace. • Achieve better social and cultural integration and gender equality. Institutional Twinning The UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace will build up twin partners in developing countries by dynamically developing and engaging in activities in Africa and the Asia–Paciﬁc. • Engage in streamlining and advancing Education for Sustainable Development. Institute for Sustainability and Peace | 5 . accountability and anti-corruption. the Master of Science in Sustainability.vulnerable to climate change. climate change. social sciences. Other Activities UNU-ISP Postgraduate Programmes UNU-ISP offers a new postgraduate programme. and humanities. rule of law. • Good governance. Development. A ﬁrst step towards such twinning relationships is a partnership with the UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) located in Accra. This two-year programme addresses pressing global issues of sustainability. • Normative development. and human rights through an innovative interdisciplinary approach that integrates the natural sciences. It provides students with the knowledge and skills to make important contributions towards solving global issues. and respect for human rights. international institutional reform and the rise of global civil society. Objectives: • Develop sustainable approaches to international development and trade. and contribute to international cooperation. peace. Ghana. Priority Themes: • Sustainable development and promotion of beneﬁcial investment in developing countries. UNU-ISP devotes particular attention to developing research and education on sustainable development in Africa.
peace and sustainable development The mission of the United Nations University is to contribute.edu/ Cover Photo: Crispin Hughes / Panos Pictures Copyright © 2010 United Nations University. presently located in 12 different countries and coordinated by the UN University Centre in Tokyo. capacity development and advisory services. Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-8925.edu / Website: http://isp.unu. Document created on 2010/11/05 Institute for Sustainability and Peace | 6 . United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace 53-70. its Peoples and Member States. development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations. through collaborative research.United Nations University Promoting science for human security. The UN University comprises a worldwide network of institutes. Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-5467-1212 / Fax: +81-(0)3-3499-2828 E-mail: isp@unu. All Rights Reserved. Jingumae 5-chome. to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival.
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