On 11 December 2014, UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) organized its bi-annual public seminar, on the topic CBD COP12 Report Meeting – Global Movements towards Biodiversity Conservation, and Activities of Ishikawa Prefecture. With approximately 80 participants, it reported on developments at the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP12) held in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, on 6–17 October 2014, with a focus on the efforts of Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan towards achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (ABTs) and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020.
Tsunao Watanabe (Director, OUIK) opened the seminar with an update on global and local efforts for biodiversity conservation, citing international forums that were gaining momentum to contribute to the global post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. OUIK is also working towards these goals through research projects aimed at understanding local perspectives by addressing the needs of communities in Ishikawa, including conservation of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in Noto peninsula and a review of the expansion of Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme for the biosphere reserve of Mt. Hakusan. OUIK will also promote biodiversity and cultural diversity at the UNESCO Creative Cities Network Conference to be held in Kanazawa City in May 2015.
In the keynote presentation, Naoki Nakayama (Ministry of the Environment, Japan) reported that about 3,000 participants from 163 countries and regions participated in CBD COP12, with discussions focusing mainly on the midterm progress report of the ABTs. According to Global Biodiversity Outlook 4, a review of inputs from national assessments and action plans submitted by the parties shows general improvement in biodiversity conservation, but it concludes that the convention is still far from achieving the ABTs, and calls for additional mechanisms. Japan will continue to commit to achieving the ABTs and integrating biodiversity into the post-2015 development agenda through efforts including enhancing business engagement in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, to accelerate progress before CBD COP13 in Mexico in 2016.
Masao Shimizu (Ishikawa Prefecture) reported on Ishikawa’s activities at COP12, Akira Nagata (UNU-IAS) summarized the outcomes of OUIK’s COP12 side event Role of Traditional Agriculture in Biodiversity Conservation, and Yoshihiko Iida (UNU-IAS) detailed discussions held at the International Network Urban Biodiversity and Design meeting, which was also held in Incheon in conjunction with CBD COP12. Yuki Hagino (Team Maruyama) introduced the award-winning efforts of Team Maruyama in conserving biodiversity through the revival of traditional knowledge and farming practices in the communities of Mii Town, Wajima City of Ishikawa.
Closing the seminar after an active Q&A session, Prof. Koji Nakamura (Kanazawa University) urged municipalities and local communities to step up their biodiversity conservation monitoring capabilities and coordinate their efforts. He highlighted the value of OUIK, as part of an international organization based in Ishikawa, to bring together various stakeholders, and called upon municipalities and local groups to explore possible collaborations with OUIK.