The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), one of the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organizations, has published “Living Planet Index 2020: Bending the Curve of Biodiversity Loss”. The report which uses the Living Planet Index (LPI), a measure of the state of the world’s biodiversity, showed that the population of vertebrate species has decreased by as much as 68% between 1970 and 2016. In order to recover from this decline in biodiversity, the report is proposing efforts that combine measures for environmental conservation with measures for sustainable production and consumption.
131. The Future(s) of Digital Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems: An Analysis of High-level Policy Documents
The paper "The Future(s) of Digital Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems: Analysis of High-Level Policy Documents" was published in the journal Ecosystem Services. Many researchers and policy makers look forward to the potential to bring about a paradigm shift in the current food production through data-based decision making. However, the fact remains that there is no clear vision yet on what the future of digital agriculture will look like, and the article pointed out the need to include ecosystem researchers to contribute to the evaluation of the environmental impacts of digital agriculture.
130. Science Advances – A “Global Safety Net” to Reverse Biodiversity Loss and Stabilize Earth’s Climate
On September 4, 2020, a research article entitled - A “Global Safety Net” to Reverse Biodiversity Loss and Stabilize Earth’s Climate - was published in Science Advances. Conserving areas indicated on global safety nets can be expected to prevent further biodiversity loss and reduce the potential for zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19 from emerging in the future.
On September 9, 2020, a group of key global partner organizations of the United Nations led by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) jointly announced “United in Science 2020”, a multi-organization high-level compilation of the latest climate science information. With the spread of COVID-19, there is no sign that the progress of climate change has stopped, and the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue to increase.
On July 9, 2020, a commentary article entitled "Reset Sustainable Development Goals for the Pandemic World" by Robin Naidoo and Brendan Fisher was published in the international journal Nature. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, two-thirds of the 169 targets under SDGs are unlikely to be met by 2030, more so, 10% of the SDG targets could worsen the impact of future pandemics.
One of the solutions to combat the deficiencies of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals is biofortification. Biofortification, unlike supplement intake and nutrient addition to foods, is an effort to promote intake of micronutrients by making crops with a high content of micronutrients that tend to be deficient in the area. HarvestPlus, one of the pioneers of biofortification, released a updated global map of biofortified staple crops showing that 63 countries have released or tested biofortified varieties as of the end of 2019.
In the fall 2020 issue of Finance & Development magazine of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Professor and 2001 Nobel laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz shared his views on COVID-19 pandemic in an article entitled “Conquering the Great Divide”.
On August 21, 2020, Visual Capitalist, an online publisher on topics such as markets, technology, energy and the global economy, introduced 3D mapping of the largest population density centers. The maps visualize population density in squares, with the height of each bar representing the number of people living in that specific square.
On September 1, 2020, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), non-profit organizations EAT and Climate Focus published a report “Enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions for Food Systems” providing measures that each country should adopt so as not to miss opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In developed countries such as the G20, more ambitious targets should be set in the food consumption and disposal sector, whereas in developing countries with food security challenges, it is necessary to support the establishment of sustainable and robust food systems.
123. Lancet Planet Health: COVID-19 and the future of food systems at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
In the August 2020 issue, the Lancet Planet Health published an article entitled " COVID-19 and the future of food systems at the UNFCCC”. The two crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, both impact the most vulnerable societies, highlighting the need for a global food systems transformation.
122. CIFOR – Meeting the Food Security Challenge for 9 Billion People in 2050: What Impact on Forests?
Researchers from the International Center for Forestry Research (CIFOR) researchers published a paper in Global Environmental Change entitled “Meeting the Food Security Challenge for 9 Billion People in 2050: What Impact on Forests?”. This study reviewed the global agricultural, forestry and land use models, and summarized the impact of increasing food demand with increasing population on forest area.
On August 27, 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Blog posted an article entitled,“COVID-19: Without Help, Low-Income Developing Countries Risk a Lost Decade”. The support from the international community is key to prevent the pandemic from “creating a COVID generation who loses out on schooling and whose opportunities are permanently damaged”.
120. The Conversation: Africa Has a Growing Food Security Problem – Why it can’t be fixed without proper data
On August 27, 2020, researchers at the Centre for Competition Regulation and Economic Development of the University of Johannesburg published an article entitled “Africa has a growing food security problem: why it can’t be fixed without proper data” in the online forum, The Conversation. As the pandemic continues to spread, the article emphasized the need for access to accurate and timely information about market markets, food production and prices in establishing a resilient and integrated regional agricultural system over the medium to long term.
JIRCAS was founded in 1970 as the Tropical Agriculture Research Center (TARF) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). This year 2020, JIRCAS is celebrating its 50th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, an international symposium with the theme “The role of international collaboration in agricultural research to address challenges in the post-COVID-19 global food system” will be held in a webinar format on November 10th, 2020. Details of the program and registration procedure will be announced later in this website.
On 20 August 2020, the United Nations released the UN Climate Change Annual Report, summarizing the key achievements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) intergovernmental process and the activities of the Secretariat. The report declares climate change as a planetary emergency, and that before it’s too late, there is an urgent need for global cooperation to make drastic changes in the way we produce, consume and procure energy in order to protect our ecosystems and strengthen resilience to climatic stresses.
The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international indicator of multidimensional poverty that covers more than 100 developing countries, and complements traditional monetary poverty measures by capturing the rapid deterioration of health, education and living standards. The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2020 is jointly published by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The Earth Overshoot Day is defined as the day when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds the Earth's renewable supply capacity. This year, the Earth Overshoot Day for 2020 was moved to the 22nd of August, three weeks later than 2019, as a direct consequence of COVID-19 pandemic and reduction of humanity’s ecological footprint.
On August 12, 2020, the Biofuture Platform, an international initiative with 20 member states aimed at promoting the bioeconomy, in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP), launched the five principles that governments should adopt as post-COVID-19 economic recovery measures.
An international workshop entitled “Applicable Solutions Against Rice Blast in Asia” will be jointly organized by JIRCAS and the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC) as online conference at 10:00-17:30 (Japan time) on September 18, 2020.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank has released a brief providing information and updates on the ever-changing agriculture and food situation, links to World Bank and other resources, and call for collective action to keep food trade flowing between countries.