On Saturday, October 8, 2016, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, attended a seminar given by the UNU programs in Iceland about their work. The Dr. Hafdis Hanna Aegisdottir, Director of the UNU Land Restoration Training Programme, described how the UNU in Iceland addresses the challenges presented in the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
At the seminar, fellows from each UNU program in Iceland spoke briefly about their fields of expertise and the impact the United Nations University has had in their home countries and regions. On behalf of the UNU-FTP, Ms. Eunice Asamoah from Ghana spoke about fish processing in Africa. She outlined the problems of artisanal processors, particularly related to health risks in smoking fish, a traditional preservation method in many parts of the world. The majority of these processors are women who are exposed to dangerous smoke as they work over open fires for extended periods of time. The wood used to the create smoke is harvested from vital mangrove ecosystems, which contributes to land degradation and climate change. She also outlined a project designed to mitigate these problems in Tanzania that the UNU-FTP has undertaken with Matis. She hopes to adopt a similar approach in Ghana.
At the close of the seminar, the UN Secretary General expressed his admiration of the UNU programs in Iceland and praised their practical nature and impact on developing countries.