Every year United Nations University organizes the regular session of its six-week UNU Intensive Core Courses (UNU-IC) at UNU Centre in Tokyo, Japan. The UNU-IC programme is designed for postgraduate students and young professionals (with a college or university degree) in various occupations in Japan and abroad who wish to pursue careers in international fields in public-service or private organizations, including the United Nations, multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations as well as national foreign service organizations. The courses are designed to provide analyses of global issues from both theoretical and empirical perspectives.
The UNU Intensive Core Courses are taught in a cooperative fashion by a team of scholars and practitioners comprising both in-house and outside experts. One of the unique features of the UNU-IC is that many of the practitioners come from United Nations organizations. Another important characteristic is the direct access to teaching faculty and the support provided to course participants by the UNU in-house academic staff who serve as academic counsellors. The UNU-IC also draw on the research projects undertaken at the UNU Centre in Tokyo and at various UNU Research and Training Centres and Programmes (RTC/Ps) located around the world. The courses, though advanced in nature, are open to graduate students and professionals in various occupations who are not necessarily specialists in the field.
Global Change and Sustainability Course
The Global Change and Sustainability course of the Intensive Courses explores sustainable development and the interaction among its constituent components (environment, society and economy) in four key areas; Water, Agriculture, Extreme events and Biodiversity. Problems associated with a lack of water, food and loss of biodiversity are induced, to a large extent, by our inability to meet the increasing needs arising from population and economic growth in a sustainable manner. Attempts to meet these needs through resource exploitation without sustainability considerations have led to global crises.
One of the greatest challenges now facing humanity is climate change, induced by the imbalance of incoming and outgoing solar radiation. Climate change involves not just the increase of greenhouse gases, but also such factors as growing amounts of atmospheric carbon from bio-mass burning and industrial and traffic pollution, and large-scale changes in land cover and land management practices that affect carbon storage and fluxes. Another important driver in global change is the urbanization process. Rapid urbanization brings with it a host of sustainability and quality-of-life problems.
The first part of the course provides an overview of these changes and how they affect the sustainability of ecological systems. This will then be followed with indepth discussion on climate projections, uncertainty and impact assessment on different sectors.
Effects of global change on water sector is discussed in detail focussing on the need to manage limited water wisely through integrated water management practices that can meet diverse water needs in an ethical and equitable manner, while reducing water-related risks. Changes in land cover and management also are leading to land degradation and loss of biodiversity, thereby affecting ecosystem sustainability. This course will incorporate, in the treatment of the topics, an anthropogenic-centered focus on sustainable development (development that fullfils the needs of present generations without endangering the needs of future generations) as well as an eco-centric perspective aimed at improving the quality of life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems.
Week 1: Global Change effects on Sustainability
- Sustainable Systems and Global Change
- Addressing Change - Adaptation Based on Risk Assessment
Week 2: Climate Change and Impacts
- Climate Change Projections, Future Scenarios
- Global to Local Linkages, Uncertainty and Impacts
- Adaptation to Climate Change in Water Sector
Week 3: Risk Management
- Management of Disasters
- Systems Analysis for Integrated Disaster Management
- Implementation of Systems Analysis
Week 4: Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Agriculture
- Biodiversity in the Context of Global Change
- Food Security and Agro-diversity
- Sustainable Land Management
Week 5: Sustainability
- Managing Water Cycle Addressing Global Change
- Adaptation and Sustainability Linkages
- Exploring the Potential of Satoyama Landscapes as Models for Sustainable Systems
Week 6: Discussion and Wrap-up
- Student presentations
- Tangible Earth Demonstration
- Wrap-up Brainstorming
For detailed information on the programme and other courses, please visit http://isp.unu.edu/grad/credited/ic/index.html