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Academics talk going green in light of G8

Kyodo

The G8 University Summit began Monday discussing ways universities can help achieve eco-friendly and sustainable global development.

The two-day gathering at a Sapporo hotel, drawing officials of 34 universities from 14 countries, including the Group of Eight major powers plus Tokyo-based United Nations University, marks the first time such representatives from various countries have held talks to coincide with the regular G8 summit.

The outcome of the discussions will be presented as the Sapporo Sustainability Declaration to next week’s G8 summit.

The university summit aims for academia to contribute to international efforts to address global environmental problems and to promote education for sustainable global development in plenary and sectional sessions.

“Global environment problems will not be solved by fields of expertise alone. It is necessary to combine advanced specialization and comprehensive education,” Hiroshi Saeki, president of Hokkaido University, said in a plenary session Monday.

Yuichiro Anzai, president of Keio University in Tokyo, stressed the importance of fostering leaders who are able to forge the future of the world.

The 14 countries include the G8 nations — the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia — as well as China and South Korea. Of the 34 universities, 14 are from Japan.

At the G8 summit, a post-Kyoto Protocol framework to curb global warming will be among the top agenda items.