An official side event organized by UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) and the Republic of Korea National Academy of Agricultural Science Rural Development Administration (RDA) on the theme of Traditional Agriculture System and Biological Diversity was held at the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP12) on 7 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.
The side event brought together approximately 120 participants, and discussed how traditional agricultural systems could play an important role in promoting conservation of biodiversity and contribute to sustainable development. After the opening remarks by Dr. Ok-Sun Ahn, Director of Rural Environment & Resource Division of RDA, Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Senior Vice-Rector of UNU explained the importance of agricultural biodiversity and how traditional agricultural systems play a significant role in contributing to the conservation of agricultural biodiversity.
Following the opening, Ms. Jessica Sanders of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shared the FAO’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) initiative and its significance under the CBD framework. Dr. Sang-bum Kim (Department of Agricultural Environment, RDA) gave a comprehensive overview of Korea’s traditional agricultural systems and environmental conservation efforts. Next, Mr. Masazumi Horihata (Director General, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ishikawa Prefecture) and Dr. Seung-Jin Kang (Jeju Development Institute, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province) presented case studies of the biodiversity conservation activities of Japanese GIAHS sites “Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi” and the “Jeju Batdam Agricultural System” in Korea, respectively .
During the discussion session moderated by Ms. Evonne Yiu (UNU-IAS), participants asked questions and expressed interest regarding the GIAHS initiative and its potential in not only conserving biodiversity, but also in sustaining rural livelihoods and farming landscapes. Participants also called for more public understanding on how sustainable models of agriculture, such as the traditional agricultural systems discussed at the event, could play a significant role in biodiversity conservation.
This side event is a continuation of UNU’s efforts in promoting sustainable development in agriculture for biodiversity conservation. Side events based on the theme of traditional agricultural systems have been organized at CBD COP10 in Nagoya, Japan in 2010, and subsequently at CBD COP11 in Hyderabad, India in 2012.This side event was jointly organized with the support of co-organizers Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan and the FAO.