Information Analysis

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385. UN Food Systems Summit: For People, Planet, and Prosperity

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.

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384. Sudden Increase of Migration Caused by Climate Change

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.

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

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”.

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382. United in Science 2021 

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.

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381. Towards Building Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems in Africa

According to a report released at the African Green Revolution Forum Summit on September 7, 2021, 75% of the factors driving the impressive growth in agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa since 2000 were due to the expansion of arable land, with crop yield improvement contributing only 25%. As the region's population is projected to continue to grow, increasing productivity on existing farmland is one of the most important measures to increase the resilience and sustainability of the food system. The JIRCAS Food Program is developing technologies that can contribute to regional and global food and nutrition security through two projects: “African rice farming system” and “African upland farming system”.
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380. Toward the Realization of a Shift to the Planetary Health Diet

The UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) is just one week away, to be held on September 23.  Transforming food systems to serve for planetary and human health is the most important agenda of the summit. An article, titled ‘How to realize the planetary health diet’, is just out in the 2021 September edition of ‘Global Net’, an information magazine published by the Global Environment Forum.
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379. Ambitious Actions from the International Community to Protect Biodiversity

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.

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378. Urgent Need for International Cooperation to Control Temperature, Restore Biodiversity and Protect Health

In early September 2021, the editors of more than 200 health journals around the world published a joint editorial urging world leaders to recognize climate change as the greatest crisis for global public health and the need for urgent action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health. In addition to the direct health impacts, rising global temperatures will reduce yields of major crops. The joint editorial stressed the urgent need for international cooperation, as neglecting the negative impacts on vulnerable groups will eventually affect all countries.
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377. Food Systems Transformation: Seven Priorities to Improve Nutrition and Save the Planet

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.

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376. Relationship Between Arctic Warming and the Cold Waves in the Northern Hemisphere

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.

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375. STI for Food Systems Transformation

2021 is the year in which food systems transformation as a global agenda has attracted special attention with the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit. With these opportunities in mind, the Advisory Board for Promoting Science and Technology Diplomacy to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan compiled the recommendation, “Planetary health: STI for food systems transformation”.    
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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.

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373. Global Research Alliance (GRA) - Livestock Research Group (LRG) Domestic Network Meeting

The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is held every year to discuss the framework for international cooperation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are considered to be the cause of the climate change problem. The Global Research Alliance (GRA) was established as a framework to contribute to international cooperation in the field of research related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and the response to climate change. In order to enhance the presence of Japan's research capabilities in the field of livestock production, a domestic network meeting is scheduled to be held online on September 16, 2021, bringing together relevant government departments and domestic researchers in the field to share the current situation and formulate future policies.
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372. Successful Development of Planetary Friendly, Nitrogen Efficient “Super” Wheat

With the world's population expected to grow to nearly 10 billion by 2050, there is a need for innovation that minimizes the environmental impact without sacrificing the productivity of the food system, which is essential for food security. In order to achieve this, technologies that efficiently utilize the potential power of crops while scientifically understanding the interaction between crops, soil and soil microflora in the global material cycle are required. JIRCAS, in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the University of the Basque Country, and Nihon University, has developed BNI (Biological Nitrification Inhibition)-enabled wheat that has high productivity with less nitrogen fertilizer.
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371. About 30% of the World’s Trees are Threatened with Extinction

Trees determine the distribution and composition of forests and are important components of biodiversity and carbon sinks. A research project called the Global Tree Assessment compiled information on the risk of extinction for 58,497 tree species worldwide, and reported that about a third of the world's tree species are threatened with extinction. Threats to trees include deforestation, loss of habitat, overfishing for timber, and the spread of invasive alien and diseases.
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370. More Extreme Weather Over Past 50 Years, Fewer Casualties due to Early Warnings

On August 31, 2021, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released the Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970 – 2019). During this period, the number of disasters has increased fivefold, not only because of the effects of climate change, but also because of improved reporting on them, while at the same time, thanks to early warning systems and disaster management, the number of casualties has dropped significantly to less than a third. According to the recently released State of the Climate in 2020, despite the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, greenhouse gases reached an all-time high and 102 hurricanes and typhoons were named.
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369. Explaining Climate Change Terminology to the General Public

In October 2020, the Japanese government declared its intention to decarbonize the country by 2050, and the way we deal with climate change is about to change the way we live, with many news reports on the subject about it. On the other hand, there is a major concern that the words used by climate change experts are often unfamiliar to the general public. A study conducted by the University of Southern California in coordination with the United Nations Foundation found that the terms used by researchers to describe climate change are too complex, and that in order to gain widespread support for action, it is necessary to communicate the climate crisis in a more understandable way, using everyday language that the general public can easily understand.
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368. ACSAC10: The 10th Asian Crop Science Association Conference

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.

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367. Climate Change Policies Should Focus on the Social Cost of Carbon

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.

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366. Investing in Resilient Food Systems in the Most Vulnerable Regions

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.