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The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN 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 applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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Expert Group on Measuring Vulnerability: Development Pathways for Urban and Rural Coastal Zones


From 12 until 16 July 2012, the 9th Meeting of the Expert Working Group on Measuring Vulnerability took place in Bogor, Indonesia. Jointly organized and hosted by UNU-EHS and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), it focused on Development Pathways for Urban and Rural Coastal Zones.

International experts from Indonesia, USA, UK, Viet Nam, France, Germany and Japan explored new challenges for risk reduction and climate change adaptation in coastal zones. In this regard, present and future development pathways for urban and rural coastal zones in Indonesia were discussed and their consequences for risk accumulation and climate change adaptation evaluated.

The scientific workshop and the write shop focused on new research challenges, such as the development of future scenarios for vulnerability and risk or the limits of adaptation. In addition, the experts intensively explored the role of ecosystem services in coastal zones and between urban and rural areas.


An excursion to the low-laying coastal areas of Jakarta illustrated the massive challenges for risk reduction and climate change adaptation not only due to increasing natural hazards or sea level rise, but also due to land subsidence and social vulnerability.

Besides presentations, the workshop also encompassed work in break-out groups and a TV show where selected participants had to defend their research proposal.


Key results of the workshop are three draft research proposals that serve as an important background for the further enhancement of the twinning process between UNU-EHS and LIPI. The workshop also provided an important opportunity for exchange and for the establishment of a new research network that includes, in addition to LIPI and UNU-EHS, other international experts.

Overall, the workshop and write shop are important activities for the further enhancement of the active twinning process and for concrete joint research activities in the next five years. The theme of the workshop offered links to a larger initiative currently ongoing to establish a new set of shared socio-economic pathways for climate change research.

A report of the workshop will soon be available. Please contact PD Dr.-Ing. Jörn Birkmann or Claudia Bach.