Center for Global Commons

Overview

Humanity now stands at the critical juncture in its history. Since mid-20th century when the Anthropocene, a geologic epoch for the human to dominate the global environment started, we have been putting huge pressure on the earth to transgress the Planetary Boundaries here and there. As its serious consequences, we witness more extreme climate events or zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 now. Unless we change the way of our life, the earth system that have been stable enough to nurture our civilization for the past 10,000 years is going to lose its balance for good and bring our society to the crisis.

We must find the way to secure the earth as the human’s common property (Global Commons), agree on it, and act for it. It means we have to transform fundamentally the socio-economic systems of energy, food, resource circulation, and urbanization that are significant for the earth system in order to secure the sustainable future for the human and the planet. In this effort, we can accelerate such transformations by utilizing the fast developing digital technologies and data (cyberspace) properly.

Based on such reality we perceive, the Center will develop the framework of Global Commons Stewardship as an globally shared intellectual property. It will be translated into the integrated scenario pathways to achieve sustainable development within the Planetary Boundaries by mid-century as well as the indices to guide policymakers and businesses.

The Center also promote transformation of key socio-economic systems in energy, food, resource circulation, and urbanization through the multi-stakeholder coalition involving variety of partners.

The University of Tokyo seeks to play a key role in catalyzing society transformation by mobilizing decision-makers across a broad spectrum—far beyond academia— in search for fundamental solutions to challenges to humanity. The center wishes to play an important part of it.

Research Outlines

In the initial phase for the first three years, the Center will focus on the following two pillars in tandem with related departments of IFI and UTokyo as well as overseas organizations.

  1. Development of Global Commons Stewardship Framework with Index: It consists of the in-depth study on the Global Commons concept, the science-based scenario pathways to the sustainable human society within the Planetary Boundaries through the key socio-economic system transformations, and the index to measure contributions to the Global Commons Stewardship at the country level. It is expected to spur international policy debate through performance comparison among countries. The impact of cyberspace governance to the Global Commons Stewardship will be also examined.
  2. Study and promotion of the system transformations in two areas, circular economy and food system: It will be pursued by facilitating the collaboration between domestic and foreign various stakeholders through multi-stakeholder coalitions, which brings actors across business, policy-making and civil society together under shared goals and agreed action plans with accountability.
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