On 12 July 2023, UNU-IAS co-organised a side event of the 2023 UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) that discussed practical implementation of the Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Adopted in December 2022, the GBF is a landmark agreement to address biodiversity loss, restore ecosystems, and protect indigenous rights.
The online event focused on a programme that promotes sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources within local communities through small-scale project financing, known as the Community Development and Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative. COMDEKS is a flagship programme of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI).
Experts and local practitioners shared experiences and lessons learned, including those on spatial planning and restoration; protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs); and productivity, sustainability, and resilience of biodiversity in agricultural and other managed ecosystems. The event was organised by the Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation (KCNC); the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ); the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD); UNU-IAS; the GEF Small Grants Programme; and UNDP.
Opening the session, Haoliang Xu (Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator, UNDP) highlighted the urgent need to restore the relationship between humans and nature. He pointed out that the integrated crises of nature loss, climate change, poverty, and inequality required integrated solutions such as nature-based solutions promoted by IPSI.
Isato Kunisada (Parliamentary Vice Minister, MOEJ) reiterated the commitment by the Government of Japan to provide concrete contributions to implementing the GBF, including Target 3 on expanding biodiversity conservation by 30 per cent globally; Target 2 on restoration of at least 30 per cent of degraded lands; and Target 10 on sustainable use of biodiversity in agriculture, forestry, and other production sectors.
Introducing IPSI, Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) explained the mission of the partnership to promote and support socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS), which are deeply connected to local cultures and the well-being of communities. She provided an example of a SEPLS project in Argentina funded by COMDEKS, which established a sustainable llama management system. Using traditional techniques of gently corralling, shearing, and releasing llamas back into the wild, the project not only contributed to biodiversity conservation, but also advanced progress on several SDGs by promoting sustainable livelihoods, income generation, and poverty reduction.
Rissa Edoo (COMDEKS Project Manager & SGP Partnerships Specialist, GEF SGP, UNDP) highlighted that the current Phase 4 of COMDEKS will support relevant community-based initiatives and upscale the initiative to 20 developing countries during 2023–2028.
Local practitioners from Cameroon, Nepal, and Türkiye discussed their experiences of managing SEPLS, and explored means of upscaling and mainstreaming landscape approaches into global and national policy through National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPS) and other mechanisms.
Since 2011, COMDEKS has been contributing toward the realisation of societies in harmony with nature, as defined by the vision of the Satoyama Initiative. Active in 20 countries around the world, the programme has been providing small grants to local organisations to help maintain and rebuild socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS), areas where people have a symbiotic relationship with ecosystems. More information is available on the COMDEKS website.