Brendan Barrett

Urban Scholar

Brendan Barrett holds the position of Research Coordinator with the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme. His role is to lead the programme’s research activities and assist the city participants in their advancement of the Ten Principles. This includes drawing on the urban expertise of RMIT University faculty, partners and Cities Programme Global Advisors and Urban Scholars. He is currently overseeing the Ethical Cities campaign that will feed into UN Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.

Brendan was previously employed with the United Nations University in various capacities, initially in research (1997-2002), then as Head of Online Learning (2002-2010) and finally as the Head of Communications (2010-2015).

An environmental and urban planner by training, he began his career working on the socio-economic assessment of nuclear power station developments in the UK, before moving to Japan to undertake research at Kyoto University on environmental policy and impact assessment.

At the UNU, Brendan coordinated several major research and educational projects, including the Iwate Environment Network, the Global Virtual University and the Asia Pacific Initiative. He acted as the UNU’s focal point for the World Summit on the Information Society between 2003 and 2005 and was an expert reviewer for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. He has been a member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communications since 2006 and an advisor on science communication to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan since 2015. He holds the position of visiting associate professor at the University of Tokyo in the Integrated Research Systems on Sustainability Science and the role of visiting expert at UNU-Institute for the Advance Study of Sustainability.

In 2003, he set up the UNU Media Studio and, in 2008, he oversaw the launch of the UNU’s award winning web magazine, Our World. The magazine grew to become the second most visited website for the University. Brendan has written extensively on sustainability issues.