Conference Considers the Role of Traditional Knowledge in Cultural Landscapes

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  • 2014•05•21     Komatsu City

    On 1–3 May 2014, an international conference on local knowledge of traditional satochi and satoyama (socio-ecological production landscapes; SEPLS) was held in Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture.

    Local wisdom, traditional knowledge and the culture of satoyama and other SEPLS — which play a major role in the sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation — have been gaining increasing international attention. This conference aimed to connect policy and science with traditional knowledge by highlighting the possibilities of synergies and exchanges between scientific and traditional knowledge, through sociological, agricultural, and forestry-oriented approaches.

    The conference was held as part of the UNU-IAS research project Tradeoff Analysis and Local Governance Model of Satoyama Ecosystem Services, which is supported by the Japan Ministry of the Environment through its Environment Research and Technology Development Fund.

    In his keynote address, “Building a Sustainable and Resilient Society through the Use of Traditional Knowledge in Socio-Ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes”, UNU Senior Vice-Rector Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi emphasized the important role that traditional knowledge plays in sustainable development and the management of SEPLS.

    He spoke about UNU’s research on traditional knowledge in the management of SEPLS conducted through projects that aim to explore and promote global interest in the use of traditional knowledge — such as the International Satoyama Initiative and Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Assessments and Capacity Building — and research on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) under the Developing a Comprehensive Assessment Method for Ingenious “Agri-Cultural” Systems in Japan (ACS) project.

    The conference, which had 120 participants over the first two days, included four public sessions: “Traditional Knowledge and Science-Policy Interface”, “Agricultural Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge”, “Forest Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge” and “Governance of SEPLS”. These sessions brought together some 20 international and local researchers, policymakers and officials of international organizations who shared research findings from case studies in Canada, Europe, Oceania and Asia (including the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture).

    The final day included closed session to draft policy recommendations by researchers and scientists, the outcomes of which are expected to be reflected in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), IPBES, and International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), and contribute to their decision-making processes on the use of traditional knowledge in the management of SEPLS.

    The conference was supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); organized by the Kanazawa University School of Regional Development Studies, College of Human and Social Sciences, and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan); sponsored by the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan Ministry of the Environment, Ishikawa Prefecture and Komatsu City; and held in cooperation with UNU-IAS and the UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa, the Kyoto University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, and the University of Tsukuba’s Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences International Bioindustrial Sciences Course.