Satoyama Initiative Launched at CBD

Konichiwa! Greetings from Japan!

As many of you know, a large delegation from Conservation International (CI) is here at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya at what is probably the most important gathering of world leaders in the past decade to determine a plan of action to avert the current global biodiversity crisis.

Today at a CBD side event, the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies launched the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative, an effort to conserve biodiversity in productive landscapes. The initiative stands out from many other conservation efforts by focusing on the sustainable management of human-influenced landscapes—areas like farmland and secondary forest, where people have been living and using natural resources for centuries. Satoyama is a combination of two Japanese words: sato, which means villages, and yama, which means mountains, woodlands, or grasslands.

At CI, we often speak of protecting the Earth’s remaining patches of pristine forest and remote coral atolls. There is no doubt that protecting those regions is of great importance; however, the sustainable use of productive landscapes also plays a significant role. By reducing agricultural and other pressures on more intact natural areas, conservation work in human –influenced landscapes can be an integral part of expanding protected areas.

CI is a founding partner of the Satoyama Initiative, along with 49 other institutions from all over the world. Our president, Russ Mittermeier, was on stage with representatives from the other organizations at the launch. After the event, he said: “We at CI are delighted to be founding members of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative. We believe that this exciting and innovative concept, building on a strong historic Japanese tradition, has great relevance for the world at large, and will make a very significant contribution to both biodiversity and human well-being.”

Among other benefits, sustainable management under the Satoyama Initiative will help improve conditions in these landscapes by promoting food security, sustainable livelihoods, poverty reduction and the empowerment of local communities.

The launch of this initiative at the CBD aims to establish an international platform to accelerate global efforts to protect our planet’s incredible variety of life—what scientists call biodiversity. The Satoyama Initiative is expected to contribute significantly to achieving the overall objective of the CBD: to encourage actions which will lead to a sustainable future.

Yoji Natori is the program coordinator for CI-Japan. To advocate for expanded protected areas worldwide, sign our 25/15 petition.

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