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Stakeholders in Japan Fostered Collaboration at Future Earth Japan Summit

The Future Earth Japan Committee held a Summit on Dec. 19th, 2019 to strengthen ties between Committee members and connect with interested stakeholders. The summit invited more than 130 participants for a full day of discussions about co-design and co-production efforts and enhancing collaboration with science, innovation, and sustainability.

Kazuhiko Takeuchi, chair of the Future Earth Japan Steering Committee, held his opening remarks.

To date, 32 universities, research institutions, companies, NGOs, and government agencies in Japan have participated as members of the “Future Earth Japan Committee.” However, communication among the members had been limited, resulting in the organization of this summit. The following three points were specifically targeted at this summit:

  1. Networking among Future Earth Japan Committee member organizations
  2. Strengthening collaboration between Future Earth research community and stakeholders
  3. Connection between domestic and international Future Earth activities

Kazuhiko Takeuchi, chair of the Future Earth Japan Steering Committee, emphasized the need to address major UN framework/conventions in a holistic manner during his opening remarks. Seita Emori, National Institute for Environmental Studies, described the global climate crisis and urged the participants to address the issue. Next, Tetsuzo Yasunari, a member of Future Earth Advisory Committee, introduced the urgent message on Climate Change and Call for Action that was delivered as a message by the President of the Science Council of Japan to the Ministry of Environment of Japan (MOEJ) in September 2019.

To get a better picture of the various activities related to Future Earth in Japan, all Future Earth Japan Committee member organizations gave a two minute introduction of their organization’s activities. Topics varied from real time remote sensing activities with stakeholders, decision sciences, corporate sustainability initiatives, and global health. Yoshifumi Yasuoka, advisor to JST/RISTEX and a Future Earth Japan Steering Committee member, shared the discussions that were held at another symposium the previous day to report the results of Future Earth projects funded by JST/RISTEX. He also framed theories behind transdisciplinary research. Makoto Taniguchi, Research Institute of Humanity and Nature (RIHN) described the processes taken to select Japans’ Strategic Research Agenda.

Earth Commissioner Norichika Kanie describes the steps taken by the Earth Commission and formation of working groups.

The participants were also updated on the latest activities of Future Earth. This session was delivered by a team of speakers: Fumiko Kasuga, Global Hub Director Future Earth Japan shared ongoing activities on the global level; Hein Mallee, Director of the Regional Center for Future Earth for Asia, shared recent activities at the center and emphasized the call for Regional Committee members, encouraging applications; Peraphan Jittrapirom, Executive Director of the Global Carbon Project (GCP) Tsukuba International Office, introduced GCP activities and its communications regarding the Global Carbon Budget; Earth Commissioner Norichika Kanie, introduced the activities of the Earth Commission; furthermore, Science Officers Marcin Jarzebski, Future Earth Global Hub Japan and Ria Lambino, the Regional Center for Asia introduced the Science-Based Pathways Initiative and the progress of the initiative within the Future Earth Philippines Programmes.

To think about ways forward, three breakout groups were organized with a mixed representation from academic and non-academic communities: (A) climate change, ecosystem and health, (B) climate change and disaster prevention/reduction, and (C) biodiversity. The outcomes of the discussions were then brought back by the facilitators and presented to the plenary.

The day was closed by Yuriko Yamamoto, Secretary General from the AEON Environmental Foundation, who emphasized the need for actions ahead of the SDGs and state-of-the-art research together with all stakeholders if we are to move forward in harmony with nature.

Support for venue: The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)