The Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations
Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson,
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
SECOND COMMITTEE of the 61st SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Item 59: Training and research
(a) United Nations University
New York, 14 November 2006
I will today limit my comments to Agenda Item 59 (a). First of all I would like to commend the Rector of the United Nations University on the thorough report which he has produced.
As the report points out, the UNU receives no funds from the regular United Nations budget. Iceland is therefore very proud to contribute through the hosting of two important programmes, on geothermal energy and on fisheries.
One of the four pillars of Iceland’s policy on development cooperation is sustainable development. We aim to increase our focus on sustainable development, emphasising the sustainable use of natural resources. Further we aim to strengthen the UN university fisheries training programme and geothermal training programme.
Since the foundation of the UNU geothermal training programme, in 1979, 359 scientists and engineers from 40 countries have completed the annual six month courses. Of these, 44% have come from countries in Asia, 26% from Africa, 16% from Central and Eastern Europe, and 14% from Latin America. In 2000, a Master of Science programme was started in cooperation with the University of Iceland.
During the academic year for 2006, twenty-one UNU Fellows from twelve countries completed the traditional six month specialized courses this year. They came from Azerbaijan 1, China 2, Costa Rica 2, Indonesia 3, Iran 2, Kenya 2, Mongolia 2, Nicaragua 1, Philippines 2, Tanzania 1, Turkey 1, and Uganda 2.
Nine former UNU Fellows (from China 1, Djibouti 1, Iran 2, Kenya 3, Mongolia 1, and Philippines 1), have undertaken MSc studies in 2006 under a cooperation agreement with the University of Iceland.
The Government of Iceland has secured core funding for the UNU geothermal programme to expand its capacity building activities through annual workshops and short courses in geothermal development in selected countries in Africa (started in 2005), Central America (will start in 2006), and later in Asia (probably starting in 2007).
The first workshop in Africa (“Workshop for Decision Makers on Geothermal Projects and their Management”) was held in Kenya in November 2005 with participants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It was co-hosted by the UNU-Geothermal Training Programme and KenGen, and organized in co-operation with UNEP and ICEIDA (Icelandic International Development Agency). The second workshop in Africa will be held in Kenya later this month (“Surface exploration for geothermal resources”).
In Iceland’s policy on Development Co-operation it is stated clearly that the government will increase its focus on capacity building in sustainable use of natural resources. A considerable part of that emphasis is by strengthening the UNU programmes. In the budget proposals for the year 2007 we are once again increasing the core funding to the UNU Geothermal Training Programme by around 30%.
As to the Fisheries programme, so far, 103 fellows from 20 countries have completed the programme, including 36 women. Almost half the fellows come from Africa (47%), about one-third from Asia (31%), 14% from Central and South America and 8% from Eastern Europe. This year 23 fellows started their training, including 10 women. Finance from the Icelandic Government increased by nearly 40% from 2004-2005 and will increase further for the coming finanical year.
Information and training on sustainable development is vital to ensuring long term development around the world. Iceland will therefore continue to be committed to the geothermal and fisheries programmes of the UNU.