The Japan Times Features UNU-IAS Researcher Championing Biodiversity

  • 2021•01•25     Tokyo     The Japan Times

    In a recent article published on Sustainable Japan by The Japan Times, UNU-IAS researcher Evonne Yiu, discusses her passion for sustainability, focusing on her work championing the concepts of “satoyama” and “satoumi”.

    The article highlights her work with the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI), and the UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK), emphasising that satoyama and satoumi are fundamentally connected — what happens on land has potential (detrimental) effects on the oceans. Evonne offers ideas and inspiration for better management of activities on land and ideas to support local communities.

    Evonne Yiu is a Singaporean researcher with the United Nations Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability living in Tokyo. Her mission: to apply the U.N.’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and maintain Japan’s satoyama (village forests) and satoumi (coastal seas). As a researcher with the U.N.-affiliated International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI), she is dedicated to a distinctly Japanese approach to conservation and biodiversity.

    Yiu speaks passionately about her organization’s Japanese origins. “The terms ‘satoyama’ and ‘satoumi’ mean ‘forest’ or ‘sea,’ but not as unspoiled, untouched places. The two terms also imply productivity and usefulness to humans. There are modern English terms that do this now, like ‘ecosystem’ or ‘sustainable development,’ but the Japanese language included such ideas long ago.” Unfortunately, the satoyama and satoumi are facing a crisis of multiple causes. “When I first lived in Japan and drove by the forests, I thought they were these picture-perfect places. Now I understand so many are dying from the inside out.”

    To read the full article published on The Japan Times, please click here.