Monday, October 18, 2010

"Satoyama" a Japanese model used in the Pacific

Pacific Voyage Media Team

18 October, Nagoya, Japan - A key achievement has already been made at the CBD COP10 meeting in Nagoya, Japan. This is the Japanese government's launching of the Satoyama Initiative that promotes the ancient practice of balancing human needs with nature.

Now, with the Japanese government at the forefront of pushing towards more sustainable use of the Planet’s biodiversity, it is hoped that the initiative will be adopted worldwide.

Satoyama is the ancient practice of balancing human needs with nature. This initiative promotes and supports socio-economic production landscapes, with the aim of realising societies living in harmony with nature, where both biodiversity and human well-being are maintained.

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An example of a Satoyama-like system in the Pacific is the idea of the shifting cultivation system. The system, commonly practiced in the Melanesian region, involves the traditional concept of making a garden in the forest and upon harvesting, moving to another site, thus letting the previously cleared landscape grow back.

Achim Steiner, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, congratulated the Japanese Government for the Satoyama initiative during the opening ceremony of the CBD COP10 held at the Nagoya Conference Centre.

Mr Steiner stated that Japan's ancient culture and legendary technological innovation has given the world many things and the initiative may prove to be among the most important exports of Japan to a world still searching for sustainability.

“I am pleased to know that a global Satoyama Initiative will be launched here. If proof were needed that sometimes we must go back to the future to re-define a better one that traditional knowledge as well as modern science has the answers” said Mr Steiner. 

Mr Steiner also said we need to rediscover principles such as fairness and equity as they relate to the conservation and sustainable use of our biodiversity. He added that that under Japan’s leadership, the decision taken over the next two weeks can be translated from ideas into solid and importantly, supported actions.

The Satoyama Initiative will be launched at one of the side events of COP10 at Shirotori Hall on the 19th.

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