MAIRS-FE Scientific Steering Committee 2019 Annual Meeting Successfully Held in Nanjing, China

On May 21-22, 2019, the annual meeting of the Future Earth- Monsoon Asia Integrated Research for Sustainability (MAIRS-FE, Monsoon Asia Integrated Research for Sustainability - Future Earth) Scientific Committee was successfully held at Nanjing, China.

Twenty representatives of the Scientific Steering Committee, Advisory Committee, working groups and Future Earth partners participated the meeting, sharing the progress on research activities and future plans for research and capacity building in the water-energy-food nexus, environmental health, natural disasters, models and observations fields.

Dr. Congbin Fu from Nanjing University highlighted that study on regional changes would contribute directly to the science for sustainability, and the global scientific community must assess the risks humanity faces from global change and mitigate effectively dangerous changes and cope with the change. The MAIRS program was initiated to address the regional environmental challenges in monsoon Asia. Dr. Michael Manton from Monash University shared the opportunities for implementing the MAIRS Science Plan under the framework of Future Earth and collaborating with Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO).

Dr. Tong Zhu from Peking University, the Chair of MAIRS-FE Scientific Steering Committee, introduced the progress of the project in terms of organization development, research outputs and activities. MAIRS-FE has renewed and expanded the scientific steering committee and advisory group in 2018 and has been officially recognized as a core international research project of Peking University. The participating scientists of MAIRS have developed and contributed in high quality publications and influential reports (see Publications). MAIRS-FE co-organized six international workshops themed on the WEF Nexus, urban floods, climate change and resilience and air quality (see Annual Progress Report). Dr. Ria A. Lambino from Regional Centre for Future Earth in Asia and Dr. Smriti Basnett South Asia Regional Office of Future Earth and MAIRS-FE introduced Future Earth regional activities and links with the Future Earth community, suggested that Future Earth needs stronger collaboration in Asia in order to identify regional agenda to be linked globally.

Dr. Jiaguo Qi from Michigan State University, Dr. Charlie Navanugraha from Nakhon Phanom University and Dr. Alim Pulatov from Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration joined the discussion of water-energy-food nexus area. Dr. Qi pointed out that WEF Nexus is good concept but implementation and quantification of nexus is challenging, thus development of practical theories and tools for designing, monitoring and assessing key elements of WEF Nexus is needed for this cluster. He reviewed the proposed activities and shared the progress made in the past year, the WEF Nexus working group demonstrated how the GRPs and KANs of Future Earth can be closely linked and achieved synergies and collaboratively made contributions to the Earth Targets of Future Earth initiative. The Water-Energy-Food Nexus working group meeting was organized in conjunction with the International Forum on Innovations in the Food, Land, Energy, and Water Systems (FLEW) in Asia during 23 – 25 May 2019. A proposal was under development to focus on the study of ridge, river and agriculture system. It aims to link local undertaking through shared issues, models and knowledge with regional scope covering China, Mekong countries and central Asia. Dr. Navanugraha from Nakhon Phanom University presented the WEF nexus research targets for Thailand in 2020 and Dr. Pulatov shared the water and land degeneration challenges in Uzbekistan.

Dr. Tong Zhu and Dr. Shiqiu Zhang from Peking University and Dr. Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh from Asian Institute of Technology discussed air pollution related health impacts and policy studies. Air pollution related health risk has become a public crisis in Asia and MAIRS-FE health working group currently focuses on this angle and aims to identify the health risk of air pollution, analyze the cost and benefits of air quality management and/or climate mitigation policies in Monsoon Asia, especially those countries with greatest health burden such as China and Indian. Besides the high-profile workshop themed on environmental health which was selected as a part of Beijing Forum 2019, this cluster proposed to develop a synthesis paper Assessment of the health effects of air pollution in Monsoon Asia in the next 2 years in collaboration with other GRPs such as IGAC. Dr. Oanh who is the co-chair of MANGO-IGAC responded to the collaboration ideas on regional synthesis paper and potential regional training activities for Asian countries. Dr. Zhang provided economic analysis perspectives for addressing the environmental challenges, she emphasized the important of effectiveness, efficiency and equity for policy making at the turning point of China. 

Dr. Guojie Wang, Lijuan Miao and Hanwei Liang from Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology introduced the disaster risk management research expertise of NUIST and its research topics. Dr. Tong Jiang, member of MAIRS-FE SSC and Chinese National Committee-FE was appointed as the Dean of Institute for Disaster Risk Management (iDRM), which was established in 2018 as an initiative under the framework of Future Earth. Disaster risk assessment and management is a key component of the Future Earth research plan, the studies in this field aiming to improve the adaptability of human society in the context of global climate and environmental change. NUIST proposed to conduct international research collaboration activities under the umbrella of Future Earth and MAIRS-FE and submitted nodal office establishment proposal, a short term plan will include organization of thematic workshops.

Dr. Lili Lei from Nanjing University, Dr. Balt Suvdantsetseg from National University of Mongolia, Dr. Shuyu Wang from Nanjing University, and Dr. Liew Ju Neng from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia discussed on the observation and modeling theme. Dr. Lei summarized the recent technical development and research priorities of modeling including high-resolution ensemble simulation and large eddy simulation, and the importance of providing input on climate related information for the other main themes of MAIRS-FE i.e. Water-Energy-Food nexus, Human Health, and Natural Disasters. Dr. Suvdantsetseg introduced the Future Earth activities and international cooperation progress of Mongolia. She proposed to design multi-agent systems, tools and modelling to collect, manage and distribute information on Land-Food-Water Nexus through animal husbandry systems for sustainability research in MAIRS-FE. Dr. Liew introduced the CORDEX Southeast Asia & the Southeast Asia Regional Climate Change Information System (SARCCIS), which provides global coordination of regional climate downscaling for improved regional climate change adaptation and impact assessment. Dr. Wang also shared the recent activities of modeling research and application, she invited MAIRS-FE and other Future Earth partners to co-organize a side event of WCRP-CORDEX Workshop in October, 2019.

The conference has facilitated the collaboration dialogue among the researchers and Future Earth partners, it identified MUST-DO items for working groups of MAIRS-FE including research, exchange and capacity building activities.