On 21 May 2016, the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) hosted a symposium to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity. UNU-IAS organised the symposium in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and the Global Environmental Outreach Center (GEOC).
Opening remarks by UNU-IAS Director Dr. Kazuhiko Takemoto highlighted the contributions that UNU-IAS has made towards mainstreaming biodiversity through involvement in scientific research projects and partnerships with local communities.
In a keynote speech, UNU Senior Vice-Rector Kazuhiko Takeuchi discussed national development underpinned by mori (forests), sato (the countryside), kawa (rivers), and umi (the sea). He stressed that realising a sustainable nation in harmony with nature requires rebuilding the relationship between people and nature at a community level.
The symposium included a dialogue on sustainable lifestyles, featuring Daisuke Yosumi (CEO, Lake Edge Nomad Inc.), who leads a natural lifestyle in New Zealand, and Arisa Kamada, a model who also works as an ethical fashion planner; case reports on sustaining biodiversity; and panel discussions. Speakers emphasised the importance of building a framework to link consumers and producers in harmony with mori, sato, kawa, and umi, and stressed the need for consumers to make informed choices with a view to protecting biodiversity. The panel discussion concluded with a call for all stakeholders to collaborate, and continue the commitment to protecting biodiversity.
In parallel with the symposium, GEOC organised an exhibition on biodiversity actions and local projects certified by the Japan Committee for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNDB-J).
The United Nations proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity to promote greater understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme for 2016 was “Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Sustaining People and their Livelihoods”.