Pick Up

449. Looking Back at 2021

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Thank you for visiting this website in 2021.

The year 2021 is marked by a major shift in the international consensus and paradigm on climate change. In January, the Biden administration came to power in the USA with a strong commitment to combating climate change. In August, the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report and Working Group I Report announced that there is no doubt about anthropogenic impacts on climate change. Many countries expressed their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with  the COP26 held in November. This decarbonization paradigm is influencing the way all industries, including agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, determine their investment policies in science and technology innovation.

In 2021, in parallel with the discussion on climate change, the transformation of the food system has become an important international agenda, with the UN Food Systems Summit held in September and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit held in December. In order to simultaneously achieve global food and nutrition security, decarbonization, and environmental protection, the need to address the entire food system encompassing consumption, distribution, and production and to minimize the burden on health and the environment through both behavioral change and technological innovation was emphasized.

Under these trends, Japan also launched the “Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems, MeaDRI” in May, which advocated the importance of science and technology innovation to enable both productivity improvement and sustainability in order to achieve food system transformation while maintaining food and nutrition security. At the same time, this strategy emphasized that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all countries and regions, and that it is important to apply science and technology innovations on a site-by-site basis. It also stressed the need for cooperation among countries and regions with similar agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions to achieve this. In response, the JIRCAS International Symposium 2021 was held in November under the theme of “The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in Achieving Sustainable Food Systems in the Asia Monsoon Region: A Platform for International Collaboration” and proposed the roles and mechanisms of collaboration among research, policy, and extension stakeholders necessary for the social implementation of innovation.

At the beginning of 2021, ‘Build back better’ was the topic of discussion. However, at the end of the year, COVID-19 is still not under control, and despite the implementation of vaccination, the uncertainty of the effectiveness of the vaccine against the Omicron variant, which is considered to be highly infectious, has put the brakes on the free movement of people. 

Today, as global trends such as climate change and food system countermeasures drastically change the nature of society, and at the same time, economic shocks and other uncertainties increase, the importance of providing timely information and analyzing medium- to long-term trends is greater than ever. In April 2021, JIRCAS launched a new five-year plan, and its core mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate information on scientific and technological trends related to international agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and global-scale issues. We will resume Pick Up on January 4, 2022.

Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Director, Information Program)

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