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UN environment agency, Chinese university set up institute on sustainable development

UN environment agency, Chinese university set up institute on sustainable development

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Shanghai's Tongji University will establish a joint institute to develop educational programmes and provide monitoring in support of sustainable development, UNEP announced today.

The UNEP-Tongji Institute for Environment and Sustainable Development will promote programmes to build capacity among developing countries of the region, contribute to UNEP's environmental assessments, and disseminate information on best practices in support of the environment - as well as on technological developments.

The Institute will assist in environmental planning for the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as for China's "Great Western Development Programme." It is expected to set up a field station to monitor long-term land-use changes resulting from construction of the Three Gorges Reservoir, which will involve the relocation of 1.1 million people. Its work will also provide case studies and research for programmes on global land cover changes, as well as flood protection on the Yangtze River.

At a signing ceremony this morning, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer congratulated the Chinese Government for integrating the environment in its tenth five-year plan. That plan gave priority to ecological protection and pollution control, cleaner production, sustainable urban development, environmental protection in agriculture, strengthening institutions, and transboundary and international environmental issues.

The supervisory board for the Institute will comprise officials from UNEP and Tongji University, as well as experts in environmental protection, design and management.