The United Nations Food Systems Summit, an international discussion on food system transformation, was held on September 23, 2021. This summit, positioned as the “People's Summit”, is the first time that a UN summit has been held so openly. The Chair's Summary Statement of Aactions listed five key areas on how to make global progress on the SDGs and ensure basic human rights, namely, (1) Nourish all people, (2) Boost nature-based solutions, (3) Advance equitable livelihoods, decent work and empowered communities, (4) Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stresses, and (5) Support means of implementation.
In September 2021, the World Bank released a report on population movements caused by climate change. The report predicts that by 2050, there could be 2.16 million population movements caused by climate change in six regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, North Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Basically, people will move from areas with low water access and crop productivity, and areas susceptible to sea level rise, to cities and areas suitable for agriculture. The report states that up to 80% of internal migration due to climate change can be avoided through global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and through environmentally friendly, inclusive and resilient development.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) formulated the "Green Food System Strategy" in May 2021, emphasizing the importance of innovations that can reduce environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions without affecting food productivity. While there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all innovation, sharing knowledge on promoting social implementation among regions that share similar environmental and social conditions is expected to ensure food and nutrition security and accelerate climate change response. For Japan, which is located in the Asian monsoon region, it is extremely important to promote innovation in the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors through networking with agricultural research and development institutions active in the region. JIRCAS will hold an international symposium online on November 17 with the theme “The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in Achieving Sustainable Food Systems in the Asia Monsoon Region - A Platform for International Collaboration”.
On September 16, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other UN agencies released "United in Science 2021," a compilation of the latest climate science information, calling for all nations to commit to climate change action. The following day, on September 17, the UN released a report summarizing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to be submitted to the UN by each of the 191 member states of the Paris Agreement, welcoming the countries that had set ambitious targets but calling for further reduction targets.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) held its 7th World Conservation Congress from September 3 to 11, 2021. The IUCN has been publishing the Red List of Threatened Species since 1964 as comprehensive information on the global conservation status of animals, plants and fungi. Currently, 28% of the species assessed, or more than 38,500 species, are reported to be threatened with extinction. The conference adopted a resolution that includes protecting 80% of the Amazon by 2025, targeting 30% of terrestrial and marine areas for conservation, stopping deep-sea mining in the ocean, and the international community adopting an ambitious 'One Health' approach.
378. Urgent Need for International Cooperation to Control Temperature, Restore Biodiversity and Protect Health
In advance of the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) to be held on September 23, 2021, Professor von Braun, Chair of the UNFSS Scientific Group, and his colleagues have published an article in Nature that proposes seven priorities for building a sustainable, just, and resilient food system.
The climate change debate is concerned with the rise in temperatures and the increase in extreme events since the Industrial Revolution. In particular, temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than anywhere else in the world. On the other hand, a paper published in Science in September 2021 suggested that Arctic warming could lead to stratospheric polar vortex (SPV) disruption, which could lead to extreme cold waves in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Climate change is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed on a global scale, as it involves a lot of uncertainties and has implications for food security through its impact on agriculture.
374. International Workshop of Southeast Asia Research-based Network on Climate Change Adaptation Science (SARNCCAS)
The Ibaraki University Global and Regional Environmental Co-creation Institute (GLEC) was established in 2020 as a center for research and education to promote cross-disciplinary research based on field surveys in various fields and to disseminate high academic results in order to realize a sustainable society in response to global environmental changes. So far, GLEC has formed a solid network with institutions in Southeast Asia such as the Vietnam-Japan University (VJU) and Vietnam Institute for Economics and Research Policy (VIE) by promoting human resource development and joint research on climate change. The International Workshop of Southeast Asia Research-based Network on Climate Change Adaptation Science (SARNCCAS) will be held online on September 16-17, 2021, with the participation of the JIRCAS as co-organizer.
The 10th Asian Crop Science Association Conference (ACSAC10), organized by the Crop Science Society of Japan and other organizations, will be held online on September 8-10, 2021. The conference will be attended by leading researchers and engineers in crop production-related fields from all over Asia, and the latest research results related to sustainable production of crops in Asia will be discussed. JIRCAS is supporting this conference with a keynote lecture from Pres. KOYAMA Osamu and sponsoring a session on temperature stress.
As countries around the world work to develop policies to address climate change, guidance on the economic valuation of greenhouse gas emissions will be important in determining the scale of climate change action. In the August 20 issue of Science on the social cost of carbon (SCC) for climate policy, Joseph E. Aldy of Harvard University and colleagues argue that climate change measures should explicitly incorporate the benefits of avoiding climate change damage.
In August 2021, Nature Food published an article on the critical need to invest in resilient food systems, especially in the most vulnerable regions. Reversing the growing food security crisis will require deliberate targeting of vulnerable areas and a shift to equitable, sustainable and healthy food systems.