Climate, Energy and Food Security


    The three inter-connected issues of climate, energy and food present immense and daunting challenges for the Asia Pacific region. They are further exacerbated by the fact that Asia and the Pacific is home to 65% of the world’s population. This population is growing rapidly and the region is the powerhouse for both global manufacturing and for consumption.

    Over the past few decades this region has experienced exponential growth in many sectors. The question we now need to address in the Asia Pacific, however, is whether the current development path is sustainable in the long term, particularly in a carbon constrained world, where we will struggle to meet the growing demands for energy and food? This is the central question for the students taking this course to consider: What is the optimal future direction of the Asia Pacific region in order to deal with the interconnected concerns for climate, energy and food security?

    This short course is offered by the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability. While the course is part of the Masters in Sustainability, it can be taken by non-degree students (i.e., students not enrolled in the master’s degree programme).  Taught in English, it brings together teaching faculty from a network of universities in the Asia Pacific region via video-conference and is supported with a learning management system hosted by our partner, the University of Hawaii. Other partner universities include Keio University, the Asian Institute of Technology, the National University of Samoa and the University of the Ryukyus.

    Course duration

    A total of 15 “once-a-week” class sessions will be conducted during 26 September 2014 to 23 January 2015. The classes will be hosted on the ground floor of the UNU Headquarter Building in Tokyo.

    Certificate completion requirements

    Students should commit themselves to visiting the UNU once a week (on Friday afternoons for two hours from 13:00 to 15:00 hrs.) to recieve the lectures and participate in interactions offered during the entire Course period.

    The certificate will be awarded to those who successfully complete the coursework assignments and attain an 80% attendance rate or higher.

  • Send the following required documents via email to Dr. Brendan Barrett at: The deadline for applications is 19 September 2014.

    • Your CV (maximum 3-4 pages) with a recent passport photo.
    • One-page cover letter justifying your interest in the course and its relevance in your present work and future endeavors.
    • One relevant publication (if any).

    We receive a large number of applications from highly qualified candidates every year. Only successful applicants who have submitted the necessary documents will be informed by email. Upon acceptance, successful candidates will be required to pay a tuition fee of 20,000 JPY on 26 September 2014 after the first session of the course.

    At the moment, this course is only offered by the UNU to students or professionals who can commute to the UNU campus in Tokyo (i.e., who are living in the Tokyo area at the time of application). There are no fellowships, travel support, or assistance available for attending this course.

    Please note, students who withdraw from the course (regardless of the reason) after the first session will not be entitled to a refund of the course fee.

    For further inquiry about this course, please contact Dr. Brendan Barrett at:

  • The course is supported by UNU Learn – a learning management system (Moodle).  All enrolled students from the partner universities have access to this platform. Course materials are uploaded to UNU Learn before each class. Video conferencing is used to connect the classrooms. The classes are recorded and uploaded to the UNU YouTube Channel. Students can review the class recordings and course materials online. There are also online forums where class discussions can be continued and further developed.

  • The aim of the course is to provide students with practical insights and up-to-date knowledge on the interconnected themes of climate, energy and food security, and to familiarise them with the extent of the challenges facing the Asia Pacific region as well as the global community and some of the possible solutions. The course will encourage students to critically discuss the science, politics and economics underpinning climate change, energy and food security, and to discuss aspects of mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts. Students are expected to prepare for each class session by completing assigned readings.

    Students should be prepared to provide perspectives from their home countries related to the nature of the issues under discussion, including the legal and institutional policy frameworks that exist to address these issues.

    The range of topics covered includes climate science, climate justice, food justice, hunger, energy security, biodiversity and climate change, sea level rise, biofuels, renewable energy, global climate change policies, and low carbon society. A certificate will be awarded to the participants upon satisfactory completion of the course, including submission of all assignments.

  • United Nations University
    53-70, Jingumae 5-chome
    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan