2 March 2016

UNEP and Tongji University Strengthen Cooperation with Renewed Partnership

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Tongji University on Monday pledged to continue a rewarding collaboration by extending and updating a 2012 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and Professor Yang Xianjin, Chair of the Tongji University Council, signed the updated MoU in a ceremony at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi. Professor Yang Xianjin was in Nairobi with a delegation of university representatives.

The updated MoU will build on ongoing efforts to develop UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD) into a globally recognized institute for environmental and sustainable development education and research, and South-South and triangular cooperation. The IESD has so far graduated over 300 students from various programmes, with 70 per cent of those coming from outside of China, and many from developing countries.

The renewed partnership will also advance efforts for the IESD to become a globally recognized center of excellence and think tank for sustainable development. Already, IESD has made significant progress in this field in China, facilitating workshops, issuing reports and textbooks, and establishing laboratories and partnerships that further green programmes in conjunction with the Chinese government.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, "The IESD represents more than a decade of close collaboration between UNEP and Tongji University and is a centre of sustainable development research. Tongji University has a proud tradition of leading academic research in technology, urbanization, energy and transport. Our unique and longstanding partnership is an opportunity to bring these areas of expertise to bear on UNEP's vision of an inclusive green economy and the 2030 Agenda of sustainable development for all."

Professor Yang Xianjin said, "Research into sustainable development is a priority for Tongji University. Our partnership with UNEP has been long and fruitful and supports these efforts immeasurably. Expanding our partnership is an opportunity to advance sustainable development in China and build on Tongji University's expertise to become a global centre for environmental science research."

The MoU extends the UNEP-Tongji University partnership to 2020, and also solidifies the IESD's role in the rapidly growing Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES).

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