Operating Unit (OUIK)

Kanazawa , Japan

  • The UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) implements research on the sustainable utilization of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It was established in April 2008 with strong support from the governments of Ishikawa prefecture and Kanazawa city in Japan. OUIK provides local and regional input into the sustainable development and international cooperation efforts of UNU, in collaboration with other organizations including UN agencies, academic institutes and local partners. OUIK also aims at developing communication and networks with local stakeholders through public outreach and capacity building, while sharing information about international trends.

    The research activities of OUIK are focused on the following specific areas:

    Satoyama and Satoumi (SAS)

    These terms refer to traditional rural landscapes in Japan. The concepts of satoyama and satoumi focus on human–nature interactions in these rural areas, where rich biodiversity supports people and contributes to their well-being. The overall goal of this OUIK research stream is to provide scientifically credible and policy-relevant information about the significance of biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by satoyama and satoumi landscapes in Ishikawa prefecture and their contribution to economic and human development. A research group on SAS has organized expert meetings bringing together key stakeholders, including scholars, local scientists and governmental officials, to discuss ongoing initiatives on ecosystem services assessments and natural resource use and management. The discussions have centred on achievements marked by the Japan Satoyama Satoumi Assessment (JSSA) and the knowledge gaps it identified, as well as a research agenda for a future satoyama–satoumi assessment focused on the Noto Region of Ishikawa prefecture. The research findings will be shared with both the local and international communities through workshops, conferences, and publications.

    Sustainable Primary Industries (SPI)

    OUIK has implemented research aiming to identify appropriate policies at the local level for effective rural regeneration strategies involving a wide range of stakeholders in the Noto region of Japan. Noto was designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) site by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in June 2011, and can be examined as a sustainable agricultural system considering new business models and value-added products. Research outcomes will be disseminated at international conferences and seminars, and delivered as research papers.

    Cities and Biodiversity (CAB)

    This research initiative aims to examine the relationship between cities and rural areas from the perspective of “biocultural diversity”, which evaluates both creative activities in cities and traditional culture in rural areas. It has considered a new relationship between cities and rural areas, with the concepts of bio-cultural diversity and bio-cultural interaction systems important issues for urban planning. The research group has held meetings to examine case studies of biodiversity and cultural diversity of local communities and has discussed how the concept of biocultural diversity can be applied to the environmental policies of local governments. Creative solutions will be developed to urbanization and its impacts on the environment, with these research outcomes disseminated through public events and publications.

    For more information, please visit the OUIK website.


    Shiinoki Cultural Complex, Ishikawa Prefecture 3F
    2-1-1 Hirosaka