On 28 May 2015, the UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) held the international symposium Ishikawa–Kanazawa Biocultural Region: A Model for Linkages between Biodiversity and Cultural Prosperity in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa, Japan. The symposium built upon OUIK research into how ecosystem services are associated with interrelated cultural and biological diversity, focusing on the cultural traditions that have developed in Kanazawa.
Keynote speeches were delivered by John Scott (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity — SCBD) and Ana Persic (UNESCO), who introduced the joint programme Linking Biological and Cultural Diversity, and explained the interrelationships between local culture and local natural settings through human activities. Dr. Persic emphasized that this comprehensive human-centered approach would be more important in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mauro Agnoletti (Associate Professor, University of Florence) then introduced the European Regional Conference on Biocultural Diversity and the Florence Declaration, which stipulates that richness of biological and cultural diversity contributes to human well-being in both urban and rural areas.
The symposium also explored local level linkages between Kanazawa City’s biological resources and traditional crafts, how Ishikawa’s food culture has been fostered by rich local biological resources and cultural policies, and a community preventive medicine project. Drawing on these cases, Asami Shikida (Hokkaido University) proposed an Ishikawa–Kanazawa Model for creating innovative cultural value, supported by local nature.
A panel discussion considered how to disseminate the Ishikawa–Kanazawa Model internationally, and the Kanazawa Message was unanimously approved by the symposium participants.
OUIK research in this area will be further developed, providing a local platform for sharing activities aimed at conserving the biocultural diversity of Ishikawa and Kanazawa with the international community.