Tottori University held the Tokyo International Symposium "Combating Desertification" at the U Thant International Conference Hall of the United Nations University (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo) in collaboration with Ministry of the Environment and the Secretariat of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on 7 February 2017.
The aim of this symposium was to review the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, one of the three Rio Conventions which marks its 20 year anniversary this year, and discuss the future course of action for combating desertification and achievement of a "land degradation neutral (LDN) world" from various perspectives such as policies, research and international cooperation.
Mr. Yoshihiro Seki, the State Minister of the Environment, and Ms. Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD spared their precious time to make opening remarks explaining the significance of this symposium and their own efforts and initiatives in combating desertification.
Following the opening remarks, keynote lectures were delivered by Dr. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, the Director of IR3S Platform at the University of Tokyo, Dr. Uriel Safriel of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, former Chair of the Committee of Science and Technology, UNCCD, and Dr. Majig Tungalag, Director of Department of Forest Policy and Coordination, Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, Mongolia.
Panel discussions were held to further explore the current situations and issues presented by three keynote lecturers. The first panel discussion "International Cooperation for Combating Desertification" was moderated by an anchor Ms. Hiroko Kuniya. Mr. Kenichi Shishido, Senior Deputy Director General for Forest and Nature Conservation, Global Environment Department, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other panelists who have extensive experiences in international cooperation discussed challenges in improving the international awareness of combating desertification and effectiveness of international cooperation.
The second panel discussion titled "The Frontier of Dryland Science", organized by Tottori University, was moderated by Dr. Theib Oweis, Distinguished Guest Professor. Dr. Atsushi Tsunekawa, Professor of Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Dr. Masa Iwanaga, President of Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Dr. Tao Wang, Director General of Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Aly Abousabaa, Director General of International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) presented research and initiatives of their institutions. After that they had active discussion involving the floor on roles of science and technology in combating desertification and achievement of the "land degradation neutral (LDN) world."
Finally, on behalf of the symposium organizers, President of Tottori University Ryota Teshima, also Director of International Platform of Dryland Research and Education (IPDRE), Tottori University, made the closing remarks to extend his gratitude to more than 220 participants who led this event to a resounding success with passionate discussion.