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Trained in stakeholder management & educated in development of a climate change adaptation plan for a developing and developed country | 3 weeks | 2012 | Thailand, Japan

Project Coordinators: University of Tokyo, Asian Institute of Technology with the support of Nissan Foundation

About: The Intensive Program on Sustainability (IPoS) is a short-term course to cultivate ideas and leverage toward Sustainability in Asian Context, in a developing and a developed country. This program is mainly organised by the University of Tokyo and Asian Institute of Technology. It takes place in two sessions, the summer session in Thailand and winter session in Japan. I participated as a student of ETH Zürich under the umbrella of ETH Sustainability activities.

Role&Tasks: As a participant to the two workshops, we developed in a team a case study about electrical vehicles and energy systems in smart cities in Japan and a climate change adaptation plan focusing on agriculture in Thailand. We assessed local peoples’ vulnerability towards climate change, and developed policy
recommendations on climate change mitigation and adaptation, we studied smart-cities, and developed policy recommendations for public participation to further reduce green house gas emissions. We interviewed various stakeholders in the field and we discussed with locals how they experience the climate change. We worked with various tools on assessing a plan e.g SWOT analysis, stakeholder mapping etc. Unique part of the workshop was the visits in Thailand such as at the Pasak Dam, the largest dam in Thailand, in rice fields, at a cage fishery, an ecofarm, a hydroponic farm and other local farms. Similarly, in Japan, we visited the Panasonic center and we were guided to  the exhibition of the “Fujisawa smart city”.  We also visited the oldest Nissan factory and Nissan’s offices in Tokyo were electric vehicles were presented. Last but not least, we had the great opportunity to work during the workshop in Tokyo at the Kashiwanoha region, a model sustainable city based on Japanese current city type and on the concept of an urban area that supports the environment.  The city is future oriented developed, adapting to energy and rapid aging of the population issues and it was tested to various adaptation measures to climate change. This model city was projected to be applied nationwide in the future and such measures would be integrated in the other regions in Japan. The workshop-project’s aim was to identify any problems in Kashiwanoha’s plan for climate change and Kashiwanoha residents’ awareness and make a proposal to improve them.

You can find my reports from this experience here: IPOS2012 Japan & IPoS2012 Thailand

What my memory keeps from this program: I understood how important such international partnerships, Switzerland-Thailand-Japan, are. It has been an invaluable experience to discuss about sustainability issues in the two countries which have just experienced destructive natural disasters, in Thailand a year after the floods in 2011 and in Japan after the 3/11 Fukushima accident. The lecture on nuclear energy by invited activities in University of Tokyo still mobilises me. Looking back in 2012, it was a very active year being student at ETH. I am really glad that I got the opportunity to participate to such workshops where group work took place every night with international students and there was room for students to initiate and facilitate activities. IPoS was about sharing experiences, therefore it was a very goof exercise to practise presenting in different cultural contexts.