21 July 2020
HLPF Event Focuses on Efforts to Realize Societies in Harmony with Nature
Photo by Nikita Birkbeck
story highlights

The Initiative is based on the concept of 'Satoyama,' a traditional rural landscape in Japan.

Speakers said the Satoyama Initiative is a crucial, viable pathway to expand partnerships with indigenous peoples and local communities, and has provided lessons for community development and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The Satoyama Initiative aims to protect the planet, build resilience, advance well-being, share nature’s benefits, and foster partnerships. Participants during a virtual event focused on the Initiative sought to break down how these objectives could help to drive a green post-COVID-19 recovery. 

During the event, which focused on the theme ‘Satoyama Initiative – Societies in Harmony with Nature: An inclusive approach for communities, landscapes and seascapes’ and took place on the sidelines of HLPF 2020, speakers discussed the role of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, including through integrated landscape and seascape approaches. Participants explored lessons learned through integrating the management of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS) into national and sub-national policies as a critical contribution to the SDGs and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Opening the event, Achim Steiner, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, described the Satoyama Initiative as a crucial pathway to expand partnerships with indigenous peoples and local communities.

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica, and incoming GEF CEO, spoke to the Initiative’s philosophical principles and redefinition of the relationship between humans and nature. He suggested developing these principles as a “vaccine” to overcome the threats posed by COVID-19.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), expressed hope that lessons learned from the Initiative’s community development and sustainable use of biodiversity will contribute to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and achieving the SDGs. 

Shinjiro Koizumi, Minister of the Environment, Japan, outlined ways to redesign socio-economic systems to recover from COVID-19 through decarbonization, circular economies, and decentralization.

The Initiative is based on the concept of ‘Satoyama,’ a traditional rural landscape in Japan. The International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) was established in 2010 to implement the Initiative. It currently consists of 267 members, including governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and private sector entities. The Initiative’s Community Development and Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative (COMDEKS) has supported over total 400 community-based projects in selected landscapes and seascapes in 20 developing countries through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP).

The event was organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, CBD Secretariat, UNDP – GEF SGP, and UN University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). Over 260 participants attended the 16 July event, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [ENB Coverage of the Side Event] [HLPF 2019 Side Event on the Satoyama Initiative]


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