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169. Biodiversity and Pandemics

A report of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Workshop on Biodiversity and Pandemics stated that pandemics have their origins in diverse microbes carried by animal reservoirs, but their emergence is entirely driven by human activities. The report also pointed out that the root cause of a pandemic is the same as the global environmental changes that cause biodiversity loss and climate change, such as land-use change, agricultural expansion and intensification, and wildlife trade and consumption.

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168. Global Divide in Data-driven Farming

On November 2, 2020, an article entitled "The Global Divide in Data-driven Farming" was published in Nature Sustainability. The article asserted that big data and mobile technology can bring about global agricultural transformation that benefits small-scale farmers. However, there are still challenges in accessing the internet among smallholders. The authors recommended that governments, developers and the private sector strive to create an environment that makes data-driven agriculture available to all farmers in the world.

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167. COVID-19 and Global Food System

It's been almost a year since the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was first confirmed in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019. Since then, the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has rapidly spread around the world due to movement of people and economic activities. The impact of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis has swept the globe, particularly impacting vulnerable societies with limited access to the social insurance system, rapidly widening poverty and inequality, and the likelihood of a hunger pandemic has also become a serious concern. With the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about global food security have increased, and the global food system has come to the fore as a channel of transmission. In discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the food system, distribution, consumption and production are of particular interest. On November 10, 2020, JIRCAS will hold a symposium on the theme of COVID-19 and the global food system to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding. The registration deadline is on November 4th until 5:00 PM. Please register and join us.

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166. WFP: The Cost of a Plate of Food

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) published the "Cost of a Plate of Food 2020" report this month. The report, formerly known as "Counting the beans," has been renamed and is now in its third edition.

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165. Fifty Years of International Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research

It has been 50 years since the Tropical Agriculture Research Center (TARC), the predecessor of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), was established in 1970. At this turning point, we have published a commemorative magazine of our 50th foundation anniversary in order to summarize the history of organizational changes and activities so far as we aim to further leap toward a new era.

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164. Impact of Climate Change in Africa

On October 26, 2020, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released the "State of the Climate in Africa 2019", a multi-agency report that highlights the current and future state of the climate in Africa. According to the report, increasing temperatures and sea levels, changes in precipitation patterns, and more extreme weather are threatening human health, food and water security and socio-economic development in Africa.

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163. JIRCAS 50th Anniversary International Symposium 2020 Program ― Introduction of Speakers and Panelists

On November 10, 2020 (Tue), JIRCAS will hold an international symposium on “The role of international collaboration in agricultural research to address challenges in the post-COVID-19 global food system” to commemorate its 50th founding anniversary. We are pleased to announce the program with a brief introduction of the speakers and panelists.

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162. World Bank Report Addresses Food Loss and Waste

On September 28, the World Bank published a report “Addressing Food Loss and Waste: A Global Problem with Local Solutions." The report states that reduction in food loss and waste may contribute in reducing the environmental impact of food systems while meeting the nutritional needs of a growing population, which is expected to increase by 3 billion within the next 30 years.

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161. Actions to Reconfigure Food Systems

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research (CCAFS), an international network of agricultural research institutes, has published "Perspective aricle: Actions to reconfigure food systems" in the journal Global Food Security. According to the article, reconfiguration of the food systems must include rerouting trajectories and appropriate intervention targeting must take into account the diversity of farmers and agricultural systems.

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160. Returns from International Agricultural Research

The CGIAR, an international research network in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, is working closely with the national agricultural research systems in low- and middle-income countries, and plays a critical role in developing agricultural technologies that would help avoid a global food crisis. According to an estimate by researchers from American universities, CGIAR research investments over the last 50 years have yielded about 10-fold returns, including contributions to improving the yield of staple food crops.

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159. Update on Bill Gates’ New Climate Book

On October 19th, Bill Gates updated his blog with details on his current book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need”, and announced that the book will be published on February 16, 2021. The book aims to explain the science of climate change, propose a plan to build the tools that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero, and suggest concrete steps that governments, companies, and individuals can take to make it happen.

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158. World Bank: Africa’s Pulse - Charting the Road to Recovery

On October 8, 2020, the World Bank released “Africa’s Pulse : Charting the Road to Recovery”, an analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future. The report predicted that Sub-Saharan Africa's would enter a recessionary phase for the first time in 25 years due to the economic downturn caused by the global epidemic of coronavirus infection. The report also pointed out that the recovery of the region's economy requires large-scale investment by countries in the region and financial support from the international community, and proposed a structural reform agenda to accelerate fiscal reserves and job creation.

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157. Human cost of disasters

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) published the report "Human Costs of Disasters: An overview of the last 20 years 2000-2019" to mark the "International Day for Disaster Reduction" on October 13, 2020. The report emphasized that extreme weather events such as floods and storms have come to dominate the disaster landscape in the 21st century.

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156. Preventing planthopper outbreaks which cause yield loss in rice production

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), brown planthopper outbreak alarm has been issued in 28 prefectures and outbreak warning in 11 prefectures. Due to the low temperature and lack of sunshine in July, the damage caused by typhoons and brown planthoppers has led to the decline of cropping index in some areas. JIRCAS has been conducting research aimed at establishing a comprehensive control system for planthoppers with a research institute in Vietnam which is the source of planthoppers.

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155. Nature ー Sustainable Solutions to End Hunger

In October 2020, Nature magazine featured a collection of articles and perspectives with the theme "Sustainable solutions to end hunger” and published an editorial "Ending hunger: science must stop neglecting smallholder farmers”. Policy makers noted that many agricultural research publications that they assessed have not fully addressed the challenges faced by smallholder farmers, despite the urgent need for interventions to tackle hunger.

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154. World Food Day

Today October 16th is World Food Day. The theme for 2020 is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions are our future”. World Food Day was designated by the United Nations in 1981 as an international day around the world to commemorate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on October 16, 1945.

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153. Flooding in the Sahel Region of Africa

The Sahel region of Africa which has a recurring problem of drought is now experiencing catastrophic levels of flooding. Indiscriminate and extreme violence has occurred throughout the Sahel, forcing more than 3.5 million people to evacuate domestically or across national borders. This is the worst and fastest-growing humanitarian crisis in the world, but the flooding has further exacerbated the crisis to a threatening level.

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152. World Bank: Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020 ― Reversals of Fortune

In October 2020, the World Bank published the report “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020 - Reversals of Fortune”. According to the report, although extreme poverty was steadily declining, this is the first time in 20 years that the number of extremely poor people will increase due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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151. United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Wins 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

In October 2020, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. The award recognizes its efforts to combat hunger and contribute to bettering conditions for peace conditions in conflict areas. The impact of climate change and the economic crisis has exacerbated people's plight in recent years, and agricultural research that supports the dietary habits of people in climate- and socio-economically vulnerable areas is essential.

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150. Future Food Systems: For People, Our Planet, and Prosperity

The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition published its new report, “Food Systems of the Future: Humanity, Our Earth, and Prosperity” on September 29, 2020. This report reveals that the underlying challenges are deep and that the current food systems fail to produce the foods essential for healthy diets in sufficient quantity and at affordable prices. In addition, food production is also driving the degradation of the natural environment and can have a profound impact on future generations. Although the report was commissioned in 2018, COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerabilities and fragility of the global food systems.