About SRIREP

Research Background

M
ercury (Hg) is a toxic metal that seriously threatens human embryonic and early-childhood development, and is extremely toxic to the human body. Mercury pollution is a serious environmental issue requiring global action. Recent investigation by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has highlighted the enormity of Hg pollution in developing countries and the associated harmful effects on human health and ecosystems. One of the main causes of Hg pollution is ASGM, in which Hg is used as the traditional method of amalgamation to extract gold from the ore rock. This activity is responsible for 37% of global anthropogenic Hg environmental emissions. This method of amalgamation is quicker, simpler, and more cost-effective than alternative methods, and is widely used in many ASGM communities.

According to data from the UNEP, ASGM produces 15-20 % of the global gold market. Almost 15 million people, including about 4-5 million women and children, participate in ASGM activities in more than 70 countries. The Hg pollution generated during ASGM indirectly affects more than 100 million people worldwide. ASGM activities are also sources of social problems, such as land tenure issues, social instability such as migration, and conflict between residents. The vicious cycle related to poverty and environmental degradation in developing countries is well known. Even though the Minamata Convention was established to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of Hg, mercury emissions are still increasing rather than decreasing. The global mercury-related environmental pollution from ASGM, which is caused by poverty, cannot be solved by the ratification of international treaties or NGO activities alone.

SRIREP Project

U
nder the supervision of Professor Masayuki Sakakibara, a group of scientists, researchers, and specialists from different disciplines in this SRIREP project have been conducting transdisciplinary approach research and practice of various studies in collaboration with different stakeholders to co-create the sustainable regional innovation for reducing the risk of high-impact environmental pollution and poverty problem as well as the wellbeing of the ASGM communities in Indonesia and Myanmar.

Research Objects

The objectives of our research project are to

  • understand the link between poverty reduction and environmental management in ASGM areas;

  • establish a process for constructing sustainable societies through regional innovations in ASGM areas; and

  • strengthen environmental governance in ASEAN countries.

Methodology and Research Process

Our project members have been conducting transdisciplinary research and practice in collaboration with mining communities, local residents, key stakeholders of public and private organizations and associations such as senior officials and staff of local and central government, key persons of companies, researchers of local universities, members of NGO, NPO, and others. This work emphasizes:

  • Case studies on reduction of Hg pollution using a future scenario of ASGM in Indonesia and Myanmar which includes:

    1) environmental impact assessments;

    2) studies of living conditions, cultures, history, and regional sociology;

    3) cultivation or organization of transdisciplinary communities of practice (TDCOPs) used by transdisciplinary boundary object (TBO);

    4) co-creation of future scenarios;

    5) co-design and co-production with TDCOP members and other stakeholders; and

    6) evaluation of the progress of regional innovation through social and economic studies.

  • Study on interregional networks that aim to generate Hg-free societies in Indonesia and Myanmar.

    Study of interregional networks will be conducted in three steps:

    1) construction of an exchange platform for information and collaboration on the management of Hg;

    2) improvement of organizational and communication capacities; and

    3) strengthening the communication policy with local and central governments.

  • Study on improvements in environmental governance in ASEAN countries.

    Project members will study the principles and processes used for multilayer and cooperative environmental governance. They will also investigate to strengthen environmental governance of the ASEAN countries.

  • Theoretical and practical studies of the design, practical use, and evaluation of TBO, and cultivation, the development process, and roles of TDCOP.

    Project members will design TBOs and then use and evaluate them in order to cultivate the development processes of TDCOPs with the collaboration of key stakeholders in the study areas.

Expected Goals of the Project

Regional innovation will arise as a consequence of environmental and industrial innovations introduced with a transdisciplinary approach, including the development of a future scenario for a Hg-free society, the co-creation and practical application of TBOs, and the mobilization of TDCOPs. By strengthening environmental governance, which consists of multiple layers of co-operative organizations, we will also develop a route via which the problem of global environmental Hg pollution can be resolved.

Fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the UN’s blueprint for a more sustainable future for all of us and the entire ecosystem. Our projects’ objectives and participated stakeholders aim to achieve the reduction of environmental pollution and associated poverty problems because they fulfill some of the SDGs as shown below.

Project Members

A group of scientists, researchers, and specialists from different disciplines have been conducting transdisciplinary approach research and practice of various studies in collaboration with different stakeholders to co-create the sustainable regional innovation for reducing the risk of high-impact environmental pollution and poverty problem as well as the wellbeing of the ASGM communities in Indonesia and Myanmar.

Studiy Areas

We are conducting the project’s case studies on the reduction of Hg pollution using a future scenario of ASGM areas in the following areas in Indonesia for the past years and recently initiating the same studies in Myanmar in collaboration with various key stakeholders.

Academic Achievements

The outcomes of various research studies related to environmental impact assessments, socioeconomic, cultures, history, and regional sociology, etc resulted as publications, presentations, lectures, etc. in International and local journals, seminars, conference for the past years.

For any inquiries call us: (+81) 075-707-2357 (Japanese) & 075-707-2344 (English)