On 9 July 2021 UNU-IAS co-organised an online side event of the 2021 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) that explored the role of the Satoyama Initiative in building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers emphasised the need for a green and blue recovery, underlining that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected every aspect of life and that solutions were all around us, in nature.
David Cooper (Deputy Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity) stressed that diminishing biodiversity would make it difficult to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In working toward the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework we must consider how our experiences can help us overcome challenges to reach the ultimate goal of living in harmony with nature. Adriana Dinu (Deputy Assistant Administrator, UNDP) stated that the pandemic crisis had been a wake-up call to review our fractured relationship with nature, placing great emphasis on the value of the Satoyama Initiative and the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) in promoting multi-stakeholder engagement and community-based approaches.
Key lessons were presented from the network’s programmes, including Community Development & Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative (COMDEKS), for institutionalising landscape and seascape approaches in national and sub-national policies. Experiences from Ecuador, Fiji, Niger, Turkey, and Viet Nam were shared during the event and created a space for beneficial knowledge sharing and exchanges of localised best practices for applying landscape and seascape approaches to living in harmony with nature.
Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) summarised the lessons learned from these case studies, highlighting the importance of indigenous and local knowledge for innovative and transformative change toward a sustainable society. She reiterated that the relationship between people and nature was essential for building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic and that this transformation required local stakeholders to be empowered in managing their landscapes and seascapes, including indigenous peoples, local communities, women, and youth. She introduced UNU-IAS research and capacity development initiatives that are working to promote and scale up socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS) across the globe.
Kazuhiko Takeuchi (President, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan) shone the spotlight on the role of the Satoyama Initiative in supporting the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. H.E. Hiroyoshi Sasagawa (State Minister of the Environment, Japan) emphasised the significance of the Satoyama Initiative in providing a platform for a green and blue recovery and reaffirmed the support of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) for its activities. The session concluded with a strong message from Carlos Manuel Rodriguez (CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility) stating that the Satoyama Initiative was the best vaccine for the triple crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, and COVID-19.
The event was organised by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, and co-organised by MOEJ; UNDP; the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP); the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES); and UNU-IAS.