Over the next year, the United Nations University will take steps to consolidate its two Japan-based research and training institutes: the UNU Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS, in Yokohama) and the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP, in Tokyo).
The consolidation of the two institutes, which was approved by the governing Council of the United Nations University at its 59th session in April 2013, is planned to be completed by the end of June 2014. The new integrated institute will be based at the UNU Headquarters Building in Tokyo.
The expectation is that combining the resources and leveraging the distinctive strengths of the two units will yield an entity whose sum is greater than its parts. While there has always been a degree of collaboration between UNU’s two Japanese-based institutes, the geographic distance and separate administrative and statutory requirements have been hurdles to smooth teamwork.
The public announcement of this new arrangement follows UNU Rector David M. Malone’s meetings last week with staff of the two institutes to explain the consolidation process and rationale.
“This consolidation will streamline operations and enable UNU-IAS and UNU-ISP researchers and faculty to work together in an enriched and unified way. It will also enrich our teaching programmes”, said Rector Malone.
It is also envisaged that by the middle of 2014, the UNU-ISP Master of Science in Sustainability, Development and Peace programme and the UNU-IAS Master of Science in Environmental Governance with Specialization in Biodiversity programme will be merged.
UNU-IAS was established in April 1996, with a focus on environmentally sustainable development. UNU-ISP was created in January 2009, subsuming the activities and resources of the former UNU Centre Peace and Governance Programme, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme, and Capacity Development Programme. The focus of UNU-ISP has been on global change, development, and peace and human rights.
The consolidation is expected to achieve considerable savings, both in facility maintenance costs and in terms of academic support structures, and the expanded size of the institute will provide a wider range of opportunities for the UNU postgraduate students in Japan.
The set of integrated research, teaching and capacity development activities that will be undertaken by the more dynamic, better funded consolidated institute will be more credible, have a greater impact, and better serve UNU’s stakeholders in Japan and worldwide.