On 12 March 2017, the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), together with the University of Tokyo Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science, organised an international symposium on Biodiversity and Sustainability: Linking People and Nature. Experts discussed the importance of building societies in harmony with nature, as well as the significance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advancing sustainability science.
Following the opening remarks by UNU Rector David M. Malone, keynote speeches were delivered by Kazuhiko Takeuchi (UNU-IAS), Gretchen C. Daily (Stanford University), and Mai Trọng Nhuận (Vietnam National University).
In the panel discussion that followed, the speakers — including Tohru Nakashizuka (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature; Tohoku University), Fabrice Renaud (UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security), and UNU Senior Vice-Rector Taikan Oki — discussed the need for holistic approaches to complex problems such as sustainability and biodiversity conservation. The panellists also considered the valuation of ecosystems, debating the drawbacks of purely monetary valuation that ignores cultural and social values, and the influence that such quantitative valuation can have on policymaking.
The symposium closed with brief remarks from Prof. Takeuchi, who emphasised the need for people to rethink their values and behaviours in relation to nature, with the goal of protecting natural capital and achieve sustainability.
For more information, see the news story on the UNU-IAS website.