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On launching a research partnership with the Stimson Center on "Climate Change and Ocean Risk"


The Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (Tokyo, President: Dr. Atsushi Sunami) is collaborating with the Stimson Center (Washington DC, US, President: Mr. David Lane) in a new approach to climate change and ocean risks. The first workshop was held in Washington DC on July 11, 2019. The Stimson Center (formally the Henry L. Stimson Center) is one of the most influential think tanks in the US with a 30-year track record of research and recommendations on security issues.

In recent years, with the aggravation of climate change, developing countries and cities around the world have seen increased economic, social and environmental vulnerability; in coastal areas especially, the necessity of people's relocation and damage to infrastructure have become more frequent due to sea level rise and weather disasters, etc. In addition, problems such as illegal, un-reported and un-regulated (IUU) fishing have also arisen, and risks and concerns related to food security and sound governance are increasing. To address this, the Ocean Policy Research Institute will conduct research on the theme of "climate change and ocean risk" in collaboration with the Stimson Center. While the research will target the four regions of the Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, East-Africa, and the Middle-East, the Ocean Policy Institute will be especially involved in selecting large cities in coastal regions from the Asia-Pacific region and creating a “risk forecast map” that will show disasters, sea level rise, migration, and impacts to industry from climate change, as well as security issues, and connect it to policy recommendations. Our analysis will be conducted using the Climate Change and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI) developed by the Stimson Center. In order to make our findings useful in the decision-making of local residents, policy makers, and businesses and investors, we will provide information and send out research results at various levels.

This research was previously presented as a new contribution in the field of oceans by the Ocean Policy Research Institute at the Our Ocean Conference held in Bali, Indonesia in October 2018*.

*Please see here for President Sunami's speech at the Our Ocean Conference in 2018.

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Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President, Ocean Policy Research Institute (front row, center right) and Ms. Sally Yozell, Stimson Center-Head of Environmental Security Group (front row, center) and workshop participants

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Introduction of the research project by the Stimson Center (Please see here for more information)

At the first workshop on July 11, 2019, a total of 12 people, including Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President of the Ocean Policy Research Institute, and Ms. Sally Yozell, Director of the Environmental Security Group of the Stimson Center, participated and discussed the research methodology, the focus of research areas, and policy needs of the sites. From the Ocean Policy Research Institute, Dr. Miko Maekawa and Dr. Michael C. Huang introduced existing research activities related to ocean risk, mainly in the Pacific Islands, and Mr. Hajime Tanaka and Ms. Nagisa Yoshioka presented on the possibilities and prospects of ocean risk analysis using CORVI in Fiji. It was a meaningful workshop, as the challenges and directions for conducting research were significantly clarified. In the future, we will promote research activities in cooperation with relevant organizations, allowing the research results to be disseminated at the Our Ocean Conference in 2019 and the UN Ocean Conference in 2020.

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Highlights from the workshop

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(From left) Mr. Bryan Finlay, CEO of the Stimson Center, Dr. Atsushi Sunami, President of the Ocean Policy Research Institute, and Ms. Sally Yozell, Director of the Environmental Security Group at the Stimson Center

(Hajime Tanaka, Research Fellow, and Nagisa Yoshioka, Research Fellow, OPRI-SPF)