Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences | JIRCAS

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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.
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149. A Global Scenario on Providing Decent Living with Minimal Energy

A paper entitled “Providing decent living with minimal energy: A global scenario” was published in Global Environmental Change”. In 2050, it is estimated that a practical minimal threshold for the final energy consumption required to provide decent material livings to the entire global population could be reduced to the level of the 1960s. This would require advanced technologies across all sectors and reductions in demand to sufficiency levels.
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148. International Cooperation Day

October 6th is designated as “International Cooperation Day". On this day in 1954, the Japanese government decided to join the Colombo Plan and started the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to developing countries. Since 1955, Japan has been promoting technical cooperation such as accepting trainees from overseas and dispatching experts. To commemorate this initiative, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) designated October 6 as "International Cooperation Day" in 1987 to promote public understanding and participation in international cooperation.
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147. Asymmetric changes on the impact of climate change during daytime and night-time

Biologically important organismal activities occur at specific times of the day, and asymmetric changes on the effects of climate change between the daytime and night-time can have a significant impact on nature. A paper published in Global Change Biology found that between 1983-2017, the area that experienced nighttime warming above 0.25°C was more than twice that of the area that experienced daytime warming in regions that showed warming asymmetry.
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146. JIRCAS 50th Year Anniversary International Symposium 2020 – Program is Now Open

Established in 1970 as the Tropical Agriculture Research Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, JIRCAS is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year (2020). An international symposium will be held on November 10 (Tue) to commemorate the 50th founding anniversary. We are organizing a webinar-style event under the theme “The role of international collaboration in agricultural research to address challenges in the post-COVID-19 global food system”. Please refer to the 50th Anniversary page for the program and other details. Online registration will start on October 8th.
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145. Economist Network for the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations: Shaping theTrends of Our Time

In September 2020, the United Nations Economists Network published the “Report of the UN Economist Network for the UN 75th Anniversary: Shaping theTrends of Our Time”. The report examined the five megatrends that shape the world, namely, climate change, demographic shifts (particularly population aging), urbanization, emergence of digital technologies, and inequalities that are affecting economic, social and environmental outcomes.
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144. Science: High-impact Marine Heatwaves Attributable to Human-induced Global Warming

On September 25, 2020, a report entitled “High-impact marine heatwaves attributable to human-induced global warming” was published in Science magazine. The report warns that anthropogenic climate change is causing unusually increased ocean temperatures, and the frequency of marine heatwaves has increased more than 10-fold which could have a tremendous impact on the marine ecosystem.
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143. Additional 0.5°C can have a significant impact on global aridity

The risks due to increased aridity and drought have become major global concerns. However, there have been few studies on risk assessment based on controlling levels of warming. According to an article in Environmental Research Letters published on September 15, 2020, it is possible to reduce the frequency extreme dry-year and mitigate aridification in some regions by controlling the temperature rise from the pre-industrial levels within 2°C or 1.5°C.
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142. World Bank Human Capital Index 2020 Update: Progress over the past decade may be compromised

The World Bank published the “The Human Capital Index 2020 Update: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19” on September 16, 2020. The Human Capital Index (HCI) is an international metric that measures the human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by the age of 18, taking into account the current health and education situation of the country. The impact of the new coronavirus could slow down the progress in improving human capital.
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141. One Earth: Change in Terrestrial Human Footprint Drives Continued Loss of Intact Ecosystems

On September 18, 2020, One Earth journal published an article “Change in Terrestrial Human Footprint Drives Continued Loss of Intact Ecosystems” with an analysis showing that between 2000 and 2013, a land area of pristine nature approximately the size of Mexico became highly modified by human activities.
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140. Global Biodiversity Outlook 5

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Montreal, Canada) released the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5) on September 15, 2020. This year marks the final year of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which include the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (Aichi Targets) around the strategic goals. However, assessment of the progress showed that none of the targets were completely achieved.
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139. FAO: The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2020

On September 23, 2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched the latest edition of The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO 2020) report with the underlying theme of “Agricultural markets and sustainable development: Global value chains, smallholder farmers and digital innovations”.
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138. World Meteorological Organization: Second Lowest Arctic Sea Minimum

The Arctic sea ice, which is an important climate change indicator, has reached its annual minimum extent after the summer melt season this year. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that this year the Arctic sea ice has shrunk to the second lowest extent in history. It is believed that the heat caused the sea ice to melt over a wide area from above and below due to the extremely high air and water temperatures.
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137. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers Report

On September 15, 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released the 2020 Goalkeepers Report with an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on progress being made around the globe on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the introduction, Bill and Melinda Gates noted that the spillover effect has become devastating and the vaccination rate has been set back about 25 years in about 25 weeks. CEO Mark Suzman calls for the world to unite more than ever to mark COVID-19 in history and rekindle progress towards the SDGs.
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136. IMF: Investing in a Green Recovery

In the Fall 2020 issue of Finance & Development magazine of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Professor Ulrich Volz contributed an article “Investing in a Green Recovery”, emphasizing the importance of enabling sustainable investment in preparing to a looming climate crisis as well as the return of the pandemic in the future.
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135. Africa’s Food Future at the Intersection of Agriculture and Conservation

On September 10, 2020, the article “Re-Imagining Africa’s Food Future at the Intersection of Agriculture and Conservation” was published on State of the Planet blog of the Earth Institute of Columbia University. The report emphasized the need to find a solution that balances improved food production, reduced climate footprint and conservation of natural capital to achieve resilience and sustainability.