The Regional Center for Future Earth in Asia works to coordinate and support sustainability research in Asia and the Pacific, fostering knowledge that builds solutions to the challenges facing the region.
Asia is of global significance, particularly when considering future pathways towards sustainability. The Asian monsoon and the Himalayan Tibetan Plateau drive a unique climate which, through traditional cultures and practices, have supported a range of sustainable natural ecosystems and human societies for millennia.
More than 60% of the global population is concentrated in Asia, and the total GDP of Asian countries is equal to about one-third of the global GDP. Asia’s geographical extent and demographic and economic weight mean that development in the region will inevitably influence global sustainability.
The region as a whole is characterized by rapid economic and population growth, intensive urbanization, and great disparities of wealth both within and between countries. Social and ecological vulnerability to the potential impacts of climate change is high and the region is most disaster-prone in the world.
The region is also a huge hotspot for greenhouse gas emissions and air and water pollution. The biodiversity loss of the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of this region is increasing most rapidly in the world driven by many climatic and human-related factors.
At the same time, Asia contains a complex mosaic of social and ecological diversity developed through a long history of human interaction with nature. This has enabled many traditional systems of agriculture and livelihood to support large number of people through time. The region embraces many opportunities to inspire new pathways to sustainability through more active recognition of the wisdom embedded in traditional thought and patterns of livelihood.
The Regional Center for Future Earth in Asia addresses these unique challenges and opportunities for sustainable innovation in Asia.
The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature
The Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) in Kyoto, Japan, hosts the Regional Center for Asia. It provides a conduit for communication between the region and the Future Earth Global Hub Secretariat, helping to articulate priorities for sustainability research throughout Asia and facilitating the formation of regionally relevant and credible governance structures for the initiative.
Among other key roles, the Regional Center for Asia works in the following areas:
- To facilitate and coordinate the establishment of sub-regional and national structures emerging throughout Asia, which help to implement and adapt the vision of Future Earth
- To support development of strategic research agenda setting for Asia
- To provide networking opportunities for researchers and societal partners in Asia by organizing workshops and other events and providing platforms for the sustainability community to interact and collaborate
- To identify and share information on developments of and resources for sustainability research in Asia.
Recent and Current Activities
Establishing and supporting a Regional Advisory Committee for Asia, a precursor to a Future Earth Regional Committee for Asia, which will guide Future Earth’s activities in the region.
Facilitating the Future Earth Regional Office for South Asia and several emerging National Networks.
Supporting the establishment and development of a Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production.
Facilitating the continuing work of the Monsoon Asia Integrated Research for Sustainability – Future Earth (MAIRS-FE), a Future Earth Global Research Project focusing on Asia.
Organising and participating in priority-setting workshops, including a series of annual Future Earth in Asia Workshops.
Facilitating a Strategic Research Agenda for Japan.
Presenting sustainability research and priorities for the region at scientific conferences.