○Research Subject and Objectives
Future Earth Division hosts and operates the Regional Centre of Future Earth in Asia. Its main role is to provide secretariat functions and coordination for the network of Future Earth in the region while facilitating linkages between RIHN and Future Earth. It provides a forum for broad information exchange and discussion of research on global environmental problems. Based on the results of RIHN research projects, FE Bumon further fosters active engagement with the international research agenda setting. Furthermore, in order to promote global environmental research and capacity building in Japan and the Asia region, it supports the development and mobilization of capacity for inter- and trans-disciplinary research with researchers and societal stakeholders in Japan and Asia with a focus on early career researchers.
○Progress and Results in 2019
1. Research Enabling
Our division aims to promote, facilitate and enable transdisciplinary research addressing global environmental sustainability through hosting of symposia, workshops, writeshops and convening on imperative research themes with a focus on Asia.
◇ This year, we supported the launch and establishment of a new regional research initiative called Health Investigation and Air Sensing for Asian Pollution (HI-ASAP). This is a new initiative developed under the umbrella of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry project-Moonsoon Asia and Oceania Networking Group (IGAC-MANGO).
◇ The division continues to support the Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SSCP KAN). A governance structure for the network comprising of a Management Team, Steering Committee and working groups has been functional; and a research and engagement plan was developed. The SSCP KAN has been active and delivered various research outputs such as journal articles, research proposals, white papers etc.
◇ FE Division is supporting and rolling out Future Earth’s Science Based Pathways Initiative to the Asian region. This Future Earth initiative is aimed at knowledge-based decision making that supports achievement of the SDGs. The FE Division led the development of a national workshop in the Philippines intended for March 2020 (this has been postponed due to covid19). The workshop was intended to also build capacity to implement the Initiative in India and Mongolia.
◇ Organized symposia, seminars and workshops
○ Seminar: “Why Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production is essential to achieving the SDGs”, (RIHN, February 20, 2020) 30 participants including
virtual participants from Germany and Denmark
○ Online Open Forum: “COVID-19 Can Help Prepare for a Sustainability Transition” March 26, 2020 (online, via zoom webinar) over 300 participants
ー The following events were planned but cancelled/postpoined due to coronavirus
○ Symposium: Approaching Planetary Boundaries: An Urgent Agenda for Asia , Science Innovation Building, Kyoto Universitｙ
organized by Future Earth, RIHN, Kyoto University and NIES (scheduled for March 5, 2020)
○ “National Workshop on Futures-Informed Knowledge-into-Action Innovations and Initiatives” a Science-Based Pathways for SDGs workshop
in Manila, Philippines (Scheduled for March 25-26, 2020)
2. Regional Networking:
Another objective of the Division is to contribute to the enhancement and progress of global environmental and sustainability research in the Asian region through the formation of community networks in Asia.
FE Division members also participated in various conferences and committee meetings related to Future Earth as the representatives of the Regional Centre for Future Earth in Asia to collect relevant information and to enhance collaboration in Japan and abroad:
· Future Earth Governing Council/Advisory Committee meetings and Future Earth Regional meeting (2-4 April, Stockholm, Sweden)
· Moonsoon Asia Integrated Research for Sustainability Scientific Steering Committee Meeting in Nanjing, China (May 21-22, 2019)
· Science Council of Japan Future Earth Promotion and Collaboration Committee meeting (February 27, 2019 and December 26, 2019, Science Council of Japan）
· Future Earth National Committee for Japan meeting (Science Council of Japan, 2 February 2019, The University of Tokyo)
· Future Earth Japan Summit (Fuji Soft Akiba Plaza Tokyo, December 19, 2019)
The following planned activities were cancelled or postponed in the light of the coronavirus epidemic:
· Future Earth Advisory Committee and Governing Council Meeting for 50 members to be hosted at RIHN, Kyoto (scheduled for March 4-6, 2020).
3. Communications and Outreach
As host of the Regional Center for Future Earth in Asia, maintains the Future Earth Asia website, social media facebook page and the publication of regular newsletters. Various content for these publications such as research synthesis, updates and feature articles are regularly being developed and posted.
The FE Division also manages the mailing lists and social media accounts for the SSCP KAN and TERRA School.
4. Capacity Building
This year, the Future Earth Division spearheaded an introductory course on transdisciplinary research for young researchers and practitioners in the Asian region under the title TERRA SCHOOL (Transdisciplinarity for Early careeR Researchers in Asia School). The objective of this initiative is to build capacity for transdisciplinary research. It is envisioned to be a cultivation encounter, aimed at creating awareness of what transdisciplinarity can offer and the challenges involved in its implementation leveraging on RIHN research experience, results and methods.
Sixteen (16) early career researchers from various natural and social backgrounds from 11 countries all over Asia attended the 5-day course on December 9-13, 2020. The course provided theoretical and practical advice and planted seeds for development of transdisciplinary project proposals. The aim is to build a network of young researchers and stakeholders in the region and linking them to the RIHN and Future Earth community.