Director of The REDD-plus and Forest-DRR Research and Development Center
The Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was scheduled to be held in November 2020 to confirm the full-scale launch of the Paris Agreement, an international framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, has been postponed for one year due to the global spread of novel coronavirus infections, COVID-19. As a result, the world's attention seems to be focused on the fight against COVID-19 and relatively less on the fight against climate change. However, even during this period, the importance of climate change countermeasures has been increasing due to the outbreak of large-scale forest fires in the Amazon and other regions, as well as the increasing severity of wind, flood and storm surge damages caused by giant typhoons and hurricanes.
The global spread of COVID-19 has caused a stagnation of economic activities, and greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be significantly reduced in 2020. However, a reduction for only one year will have little impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, so continuous reduction is required. However, there are concerns that as the new coronavirus infection comes to an end, economic activity will pick up again and greenhouse gas emissions will start to increase again. In the after-corona period, we need to promote green recovery to achieve both economic recovery and decarbonized society.
In terms of climate change countermeasures, it is necessary to address both mitigation and adaptation measures. As for mitigation measures, the Paris Agreement has confirmed the importance of REDD-plus, a framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and to conserve forests, as one of the climate change mitigation measures. In addition, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted at the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015, emphasizes the need to address climate change adaptation, and the role of forests in mitigating weather-related disasters is increasingly in demand.
Since its establishment in July 2010, REDD Research and Development Center at Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) has been working to solve the technical challenges for realizing REDD-plus. In particular, the center has been developing the methods and accumulating the knowledge needed to implement REDD-plus, with particular emphasis on the senses and data from the field. In recent years, there have been reports of an increase in the intensity and frequency of torrential rains and an increase in the frequency of extremely low pressured cyclones and typhoons on a global scale. In order to apply Japan's accumulated disaster prevention and mitigation technologies that utilize forest functions to these problems in developing countries, there is a need to investigate the issues and develop technologies and human resources for overseas deployment. On 1st September 2020, FFPRI established REDD-plus and Forest-based Disaster Risk Reduction (F-DRR) Research and Development Center, an extension of the REDD Research and Development Center, to address climate change adaptation through the enhancement of disaster mitigation and disaster prevention functions using forests in developing countries.
We will continue to play a role as a "bridge" between research and the field, and strive to provide the technology and knowledge needed by those working on REDD-plus and disaster prevention and mitigation using forest functions in Japan as well as developing countries.