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The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations. It bridges the academic world and the United Nations system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at teaching, applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 as an autonomous organ of the United Nations General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.

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Germany Engaged in Bilateral Science Policy Dialogues with BRICS* Countries

UNU supports two science policy dialogues: Germany- Russia and Germany-South Africa.

UNU-ViE facilitates the dialogue process to establish the common research agendas between Germany and emerging economies together with co-operation partners such as International Bureau and German Development Institute. The project entitled “Sustainable Solutions – Science for Sustainability” aims to develop a common policy approach to support sustainability between Germany and important emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. With this programme Germany strengthens its commitment to the Agenda 21 and the promotion of fundamental political, social, economic and industrial change towards sustainability.

UNU-ViE supports the preparation of the bilateral scientific expert meetings and conferences by liaising with the different interest groups, providing scientific input to elaborate concepts and programmes of the events, and by supporting moderation and developing final reports and recommendations.

So far, important milestones have been achieved in the preparatory phase of the project. The German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, and the South African Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena, signed a joint declaration of intent of co-operation in science for sustainability. A bilateral scientific expert workshop between South Africa and Germany took place in June 2008 in Bonn and another expert workshop is being prepared to take place in South Africa before the end of 2008.

Within the German-Russian dialogue, a working group on research for sustainability has been formed and a protocol identifying next steps was signed. The key objectives in the current phase are the identification of topics that are of mutual interest and benefit for the advancement of the sustainable development agenda and the identification of stakeholders in the countries involved.

Germany’s dialogue with Russia and South Africa builds on the already existing fruitful relationships.

* BRICS refer to the combination of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.