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Release: Aug. 20, 2002

UI engineers to attend Aug. 26-Sept. 4 Johannesburg Summit 2002

The University of Iowa College of Engineering will be represented at Johannesburg Summit 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 in South Africa.

Jerry Schnoor (left), Allen S. Henry Professor of Engineering in the department of civil and environmental engineering and co-director of the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, will attend as a delegate and will be accompanied by Ori Sivan, a junior in civil engineering and undergraduate research assistant.

Johannesburg Summit organizers expect to attract tens of thousands of participants, including heads of state and government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses and other major groups.

At their website (, organizers say they hope "to focus the world's attention and direct action toward meeting difficult challenges, including improving people's lives and conserving natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with ever-increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security." The meeting will be an opportunity to begin to implement Agenda 21, a global plan of action for sustainable development on issues ranging from agriculture to science and technology adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Commenting on the conference and its issues, Schnoor says, "Sustainable development means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In the 10 years since the Rio Earth Summit, we have come to the realization that we cannot solve the world's environmental problems without first addressing the critical needs for basic human health and sanitation in the developing world. Environment and development are inextricably linked; a good environment can go hand-in-hand with a good economy."

Schnoor, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has research interests in mathematical modeling of water quality, aquatic chemistry, groundwater risk assessment and the impact of carbon emissions on global change. He is also recognized for his research in the field of phytoremediation, the use of plants to alleviate the effects of pollution.