Establishing a Resource-Circulating Society in Asia

Challenges and Opportunities

image of Establishing a Resource-Circulating Society in Asia
This publication addresses the issues associated with sustainable resource-circulating societies. It focuses on Asia, where both population growth and economic growth are increasingly prominent in the global context. It covers topics related to technological or socioeconomic issues or a combination of both. It provides policymakers, business leaders and experts in the field with comprehensive knowledge concerning future visions, initiatives and practical applications in the promotion of a sustainable resource-circulating society in Asia.



Characterization and local practices of urban-rural symbiosis

National and local governments have begun constructing low-carbon societies by setting medium- and long-term goals for each sector of concern. Design of regional systems for circulating natural resources across urban and rural boundaries is a promising measure for decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as extending co-benefits, such as pollution prevention and social development, into rural areas. However, primary sectors with weak economic bases are exempt from requirements to set GHG emission reduction targets. In addition, resource exchange between rural and urban areas is insufficient. For example, in Japan, up to a century ago, considerable amounts of night soil generated in urban areas were collected and transported to rural areas for use as fertilizer. Then agricultural products such as rice and vegetables grown with this fertilizer were consumed by people in urban areas, later becoming night soil again. However, because of urbanization and the prevalence and effectiveness of chemical fertilizer etc., this resource-circulating system fell into disuse. Urban-rural issues are also becoming important outside Japan. For example, in China the income gap between urban and rural areas has been increasing simultaneously with rapid economic growth and urbanization. Therefore, as a measure for building low-carbon societies, we should reconsider the relationship between urban and rural areas and propose plausible forms of partnership between them. For this purpose, it is necessary to model and assess these partnerships, estimate the potential reduction of GHG emissions made possible by such partnerships and describe images and visions of the desired societies that would result from them.


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