2018/02/09 Dresden, Germany
Dresden, 8 February 2018. – Five years ago, the German Federal Government joined forces with the Government of the Free State of Saxony and the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) to bring the United Nations University (UNU) to Dresden. United in their conviction that advancing sustainable development requires research and training on the integrated management of environmental resources, they established the UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) in a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2012. Today, the Institute celebrates five years as a hub for research and capacity development on the Nexus Approach to environmental resource management.
“Five years ago, UNU opened UNU-FLORES in Dresden, Germany,” stated UNU Rector Dr David M. Malone. “The new institute set out to cultivate scholarship and inform policymakers – at the United Nations and elsewhere – about the significant potential of integrated management of water, soil, and waste as a force multiplier in water conservation and energy production. In just five years, it has become an integral part of UNU and of the wider UN system, helping to address the world’s most pressing global problems.”
Since its opening, UNU-FLORES has grown from four employees to 31, attracting experts from 14 different countries to Dresden (Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Tanzania, Togo, Uruguay, USA, and Viet Nam). The Institute works with experts and organisations from all corners of the world, both on research and capacity development projects. With the support of TU Dresden and the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Urban and Regional Development it brings this impressive network biennially to Dresden. In 2017, 400 participants from 50 countries attended the Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC) to discuss the latest research and initiatives in sustainably managing environmental resources. In 2014, UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden established the world’s first PhD Programme on then Integrated Management of Water, Soil, and Waste, which now hosts 10 researchers from seven countries.
At its 5th Anniversary Symposium, UNU-FLORES gathered with local and international eminent experts to celebrate these achievements and discuss future aspirations. UNU-FLORES senior scientists and PhD researchers presented results from ongoing research projects, demonstrating how resource problems arising from climate change, urbanisation, and land-use changes can be addressed with integrated management strategies.
At the event Dr Reza Ardakanian, Minister of Energy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was recognised for his role as Founding Director of UNU-FLORES. “Through hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence, Dr Ardakanian nurtured UNU-FLORES to its professional maturity and transformed it into a globally recognised centre of excellence on the Nexus Approach,” said Prof. Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Science at Ohio State University and Chair of the UNU-FLORES Advisory Committee. “He has strengthened its foundation, steered it on the path of scientific achievements, and enhanced its prestige among UNU and other global institutions.”
At the event, UNU-FLORES launched its newest report “From Isolation to Integration: Five Years of Advancing the Nexus Approach to Environmental Resource Management” and the corresponding wandering exhibition “The Nexus Approach Exhibition”.
The event closed with the presentation of a new funding agreement between the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the State Ministry for Higher Education, Research, and the Arts (SMWK), TU Dresden, and UNU. The renewed funding, covering 6 million euros in cash and in kind across three years, will enable UNU-FLORES to continue and strengthen its research and programmes.
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Photo of the presentation of the funding agreement available in high resolution here. Use of the photo has to be accompanied by the credit: Jan Rieger/clever pictures.