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383. Innovations for Sustainable Food Systems in the Asia Monsoon Region

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The UN Food Systems Summit will be held in New York at the UN General Assembly, tomorrow, on September 23, 2021 where the head of the states will discuss transformative actions needed to build resilient food systems serving the health of both human and planet. With the upcoming COP 26 in Glasgow in November, efforts to cut GHG emissions toward limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5°C have been accelerating and gaining momentum.

Provided with the international trends, many countries have announced strategies to promote Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to achieve simultaneously stable food supply and environmental sustainability in the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors to build food systems resilient to extreme events and climate variabilities and with minimum environmental footprints through promoting resource recycling, carbon neutrality, and regeneration of biodiversity.

In May 2021, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) unveiled the ‘Measures for achievement of Decarbonization and Resilience with Innovation (Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems, MeaDRI)’. The MeaDRI Strategy has proposed pathways in which STI can take a central role in reducing environmental footprint while enhancing productivity for food production.

To achieve impacts at the regional and global scales, socio-economically and technologically feasible STI options should be made available not only for Japan but also for developing countries sharing similar agroecological conditions. In turn, it is essential to bear in mind that ‘no one-size-fits-all’. The identification and customization of appropriate sets of STI to locally specific agroecological and socio-economic conditions is critical to turn trade-offs into win-win outcomes. In turn, countries and regions sharing similar agroecological and socio-economic conditions can greatly benefit from a platform to share potential and adaptable STI and lessons for scaling up/out. Such a platform can accelerate dissemination of STI with visible impacts on social outcomes at region/global scales. To do so, consensus is needed for all stakeholders, i.e., agricultural research institutions and development agencies, to jointly contribute towards a common goal of achieving productivity improvement and environmental sustainability for the countries as well as the whole Asia monsoon region.

The recently published IPCC AR6 WGI Report included detailed regional assessments, which can be utilized for regional-scale risk assessment and decision making on climate change adaptation and mitigation. In regard to the Asia monsoon regions which share temperate and humid climatic conditions, while impacts of climate change vary at spatial and temporal scales, in the long-term, South and Southeast Asian monsoon and East Asian summer monsoon precipitation is projected to increase (medium confidence). 

For Japan, which is a part of the Asia monsoon region, it is critically important to promote STI in agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors through close collaboration with agricultural research and development institutions in the region. This year’s JIRCAS International Symposium will thus focus on the theme - The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in Achieving Sustainable Food Systems in the Asia Monsoon Region: A Platform for International Collaboration. It will provide a forum to discuss a platform for international collaboration contributing to ‘Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems’. To do so, first, it will review recent policy developments on agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors at country/regional level in the Asia monsoon region in the contexts of global debates on sustainable food systems transformation. The STI portfolios with evidence or potential to achieve both productivity improvement and environmental sustainability depending on agroecological, and socio-economic contexts will be identified. Finally, the roles of stakeholders for international collaboration will be discussed based on respective comparative advantages.

The Symposium will be streamed online on November 17, 2021, at JIRCAS YouTube Channel. The details of the program and application will be announced on the JIRCAS website soon.

JIRCAS International Symposium 2021: The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in Achieving Sustainable Food Systems in the Asia Monsoon Region: A Platform for International Collaboration
Date: 14:00 – 16:15, Nov 17 (Wed), 2021
Format: Online/Virtual (on demand at the JIRCAS YouTube Channel)

Contributors: KANAMORI Norihito (Information and Public Relations Office), IIYAMA Miyuki (Director, Information Program)