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UNEP signs deal with Chinese university to renew cooperation

NAIROBI, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- The UN Environment Program (UNEP) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Tongji University of China to renew cooperation on areas that promote sustainable development and the green agenda.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and Professor Yang Xianjin, President of Tongji University, witnessed the signing of a new accord to elevate partnership between the two institutions to a new level.

"Our partnership is unique and has led to the establishment of a centre of excellence on research and training to promote sustainable development," Steiner said during the ceremony held in Nairobi.

UNEP and Tongji University in 2002 jointly established the Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD) at Tongji University to facilitate knowledge transfer on environmental sustainability.

Steiner hailed the strategic partnership between the global environment body and Tongji University to advance sustainable development in the Asia Pacific and the global south, noting that IESD has created a platform for promoting environmental and sustainable development discourse.

"Tongji has a proud tradition of academic research and training that has created the next generation of entrepreneurs in green technology," Steiner said.

He added that a partnership between UNEP and Tongji University has been instrumental in advancing the green agenda in Africa.

"The future of Africa is critical and our collaboration is a welcome addition on availability of knowledge and expertise to promote sustainable development in the continent," Steiner said, adding that a partnership with Tongji University has facilitated knowledge sharing on ecosystems management, rain water harvesting and urban renewal.

The signing of a MOU between UNEP and Tongji University marked a critical milestone in cooperation between the two institutions.

Yang Xianjin said the collaboration with UNEP that spans over a decade has focused on research, training and technology transfer to boost sustainable development.

"It is my hope the signing of an MOU will mark a new beginning in our cooperation with UNEP," Yang said, adding that plans are afoot to upgrade IESD into an unrivalled centre of excellence on environmental studies and research on urban renewal.

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