On 24 January 2019, the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) and Wetlands International Japan co-organised a symposium to call attention to World Wetlands Day (WWD), which is celebrated annually to mark the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971. At the symposium, six speakers gave presentations on the WWD 2019 theme of “Wetlands and Climate Change”, based on their own research/projects and experiences.
UNU-IAS Programme Coordinator Hiromi Masuda explained global trends regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by introducing international discussions regarding development and the environment, and presented a report highlighting the critical role of wetlands in relation to each SDG.
Daigo Ichikawa of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) discussed the impacts of climate change on global plant and animal life, noting that the number of species included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has been continuously growing, and reported on the Talanoa Dialogue and the adoption of the Paris Rulebook at the COP24 climate talks.
Naoki Kumagai from the Center for Climate Change Adaptation, National Institute for Environmental Studies, disclosed that his research indicates that climate change has led to coral beaching and seaweed withering in summer, and stressed the importance of conserving seaweed.
Hokkaido University Professor Toshio Iwakuma introduced a comprehensive survey of the Oze National Park (Japan) and data analysis of the Yubara and Oze Observation Points, highlighting the change of rainfall patterns that is affecting the local environment.
Hiroko Matsushima from MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, Inc., reported that 2018 was one of the worst years for storm and flood damage inside and outside Japan. She also introduced a new service to prevent risks by sending a warning message to customers regarding extreme weather and providing a map of flood assessment, and mentioned an ecosystem service-related (coral reef insurance) initiative in Mexico.
Yuki Mori from the Reconstruction Policy Department of Higashimatsushima city (Miyagi Pref.) talked about the reconstruction of Miyanomori Elementary School with support from the C.W. Nicol Afan Woodland Trust. He also introduced an ongoing project to rebuild the surrounding area, which was affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, into an environmentally symbiotic community.
For more, see the event report on the UNU-IAS website.