The wellbeing of our planet contributes directly and indirectly to human wellbeing in multiple ways. Our environment is a major source of food, materials and livelihoods to millions of people globally, while at the same time providing a habitat to millions of species, and regulating hydrological cycles and the global climate. However, ecosystems face multiple pressures including climate change, habitat loss, pollution and species overexploitation, many of which are often driven by economic growth, trade and urbanization. The combined effect of these pressures has important ramification for the sustainability of the planet, including human societies.
The interconnectivity between social and natural systems, also suggests the strong intersection between multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs*) such as SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 14 (Life below water) and SDG 15 (Life on land). Considering the important ramifications of ongoing climate and ecosystem change for sustainable development, there is an urgent need to generate interdisciplinary knowledge to understand these linkages and develop solutions at the interface of these SDGs.
Ultimately, achieving progress for the SDGs will require academia, business, policymakers and civil society to work together in a transdisciplinary manner. Nature, Nature Sustainability, Sustainability Science and its publisher, Springer Nature, play an important role in advancing the discovery and dissemination of evidence-based sustainability research. To highlight and strengthen these connections, on 26 March 2021 we are holding a symposium at the University of Tokyo. We wish to take this opportunity to invite some of Japan’s renowned researchers working at this interface to discuss with the editors the best ways for research to both explain these multi-faceted phenomena and develop effective solutions. We look forward to your participation in this event.
*SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals are the 17 Goals for sustainable development, ratified by the 193 member states of the United Nations in 2015, for delivery by 2030
Unraveling the sustainability trade-offs of commercial agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (Alexandros Gasparatos)
How do we reconcile a long-term climate goal and sustainable development? (Tomoko Hasegawa)
Makoto Gonokami is the President of the University of Tokyo. He received his BSc (Faculty of Science), MSc (Graduate School of Science) and PhD (Graduate School of Science) all at the University of Tokyo. His research has specialized in optical quantum physics. He has held many appointments within the University of Tokyo, including Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering (1998), Professor at the Graduate School of Science (2010), Vice President, (2012), Dean of the Graduate School of Science (2014), and President (from April 2015).
He has been a member in many committees including Council for Science and Technology and the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters. Books in Japanese include “Driving Innovation in Society: The University of Tokyo’s Vision 2020” (University of Tokyo Press) and “Map of the Future University: Creating a Knowledge-Intensive Society” (Chikuma Shinsho).
Philip has received a BSc in Aeronautical Engineering; MSc in Astrophysics; PhD and postdoctoral research in Upper Atmospheric Physics. Former: Physical Sciences Editor, Nature; Founding Editor, Physics World. 1995-2018 Editor-in-Chief, Nature and Nature Publishing Group, since 2018 Editor-in-Chief of Springer Nature. Philip has worked with UK government, the EU and the US National Institutes of Health on science and its impacts in society. Former Trustee, Cancer Research UK. Founding Trustee and former Chair, MQ: transforming mental health. Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society. Elected Fellow, Institute of Physics. Philip has been awarded knighthood 2015.
Taikan Oki is Special Advisor to the President and Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo. He is also the Senior Vice-Rector of the United Nations University and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. His research specializes in global hydrology, climate change and the sustainability of world water resources, including virtual water trade and water footprints. He was one of the Coordinating Lead Authors for the chapter “Freshwater Resources” of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
He obtained his BEng and PhD degrees at the University of Tokyo, along with qualification as a weather forecaster. He became a Professor at the University of Tokyo in 2006, and a full member of The Club of Rome and a full member of the Science Council of Japan since October 2020. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Biwako Prize for Ecology (2011), and the Japan Academy Medal (2008). He is the first Japanese Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in its Hydrology Section (2014).
Hiroyasu Hasumi studies the climate and its change, primarily from the viewpoint of physical oceanography. He develops and applies numerical models of the ocean, specializing in global scale oceanic deep circulation and associated polar ocean processes. He has also engaged in future projections of the climate since the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, and has investigated possible changes in the ocean and the climate over the Pacific region. In recent years, he has been leading research teams in national research projects focusing on climate change on the Arctic environment. He has also been conducting precise simulations of the seas around Japan, and intends to apply these findings to explore how the oceanic environment is influenced by land-based human activities through riverine discharges of dissolved and suspended matter.
Alexandros Gasparatos is Associate Professor at The Institute of Future Initiatives (IFI) at the University of Tokyo. As an ecological economist he is interested in the development, refinement and application of sustainability assessment and ecosystem services valuation tools. He has applied such tools in different topics such as food security, energy policy, green economy, and urban sustainability in many developing countries of Africa and Asia. Before joining IFI he conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford and the United Nations University. He is an Editor for Sustainability Science, People and Nature, and Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, and has served as a Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) for the Asia-Pacific Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Tomoko Hasegawa is an Associate Professor at Ritsumeikan University’s College of Science and Engineering, having joined it in April 2019. Her main research focuses on food- and land-related topics in global integrated assessment modeling, including food system, land use change and dynamics, greenhouse gases emissions, climate mitigation options, climate impacts and adaptation for agriculture and food security. Her research attempts to inform global and national environmental policy on emission reduction targets and mitigation options in the agricultural and land use sectors. She is involved in the development and application of the integrated assessment model AIM (Asian-Pacific Integrated Model). Through its application she has been involved in many international projects and interdisciplinary activities related to the above-mentioned topics. She has been selected as a highly cited researcher 2019 and a Lead Author of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
B.A. in International Relations and Economics Brown University
1989－1993 Anchor for Nightly News, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)Satellite TV Channel
1993-2016 Host of Close-Up Gendai, a daily current affairs program on NHK-TV General Service. Anchored many Special programs on NHK-TV
Independent Journalist, focusing on coverage of the Sustainable Development Goals .
Member of the Board of Trustees to the Tokyo University of the Arts
Project Professor at Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance
FAO National Goodwill Ambassador for Japan
Board Member, Renewable Energy Institute
Awarded ‘Broadcasting Women Award’ (1998), the 50th Kan KIKUCHI Award (2002), The Japan National Press Club Award (2011), and the Galaxy Award Special Prize (2016).