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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD)

Chair’s Summary

Sixth Dialogue on Environmental Education
“Education on Biodiversity~ mainly measures for conservation of ecosystems in farming mountains and villages~”

On 10th and 11th June, the Sixth Dialogue on Environmental Education, Japan’s prime mover project within the framework of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), was held in Nagano City under the theme of “Education on Biodiversity -measures for conservation of ecosystems in farming and mountain villages- .” Co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Nagano Prefecture, and United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), the dialogue was composed of two parts. On the first day, site visits to the relevant facilities and institutions in Nagano area, Green Hills School and Afan Woodland, were organized; on the second day, the workshop was held which attracted some 50 participants and observers from 14 ACD countries, Nagano Prefecture, Nagano City, UNU-IAS, other relevant governmental and local institutes, and NGOs .

On 10th June, participants visited the following biodiversity related facilities and institutions in Nagano Prefecture: Nagano Environmental Conservation Research Institute, Green Hills Elementary School and C.W. Nicole Afan Woodland.

On 11th June, a workshop was conducted at Hotel Metropolitan Nagano. At the opening session, the participants were welcomed by H.E. Kuniko Ozaki, Ambassador for COP10 of the Convention on Biodiversity, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, followed by an opening speech by Mr. Yoshimasa Koshihara, Vice Governor of Nagano Prefecture.
Session 1, entitled “Introducing Each Country’s Measures and Activities on Conservation of Biodiversity in industry and/or Agriculture,” started with a presentation by a representative from Nagano City on the efforts and initiatives undertaken at municipal level. The Director of UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa made a presentation on “Satoyama” and their engagement in preserving SATOYAMA. Participants from China and India then presented their countries’ efforts.

Session 2, entitled “Introducing Each Country’s Measures and Activities in preserving Biodiversity at community level,” began with a presentation on the efforts and initiatives undertaken by a representative of Nagano Nature Conservation Office, Ministry of the Environment, on its efforts in conserving the biodiversity through management of National Parks. A representative of Nagano Environmental Conservation Research Institute made a presentation on the challenges for the conservation of biodiversity in rural areas. A representative of UNU-IAS introduced its projects on biodiversity at Regional Canters of Expertise (RCE). Following these presentations, participants from Indonesia and Mongolia then presented their countries’ undertakings. Having shared information on the efforts and initiatives they had undertaken in the field of biodiversity as well as environmental education on biodiversity, participants engaged in a discussion of ways and means of promoting effective preservation of biodiversity, which was moderated by Ms. Suneetha Subramanian, Research Associate of UNU-IAS.

At the conclusion of the workshop, the Chair, Ms. Kikuko Kato, Principal Deputy Director of the Global Environment Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, summarized the discussion as follows:

Having heard presentations with concrete examples where human activities harmoniously contribute to the conservation of nature, while bringing good ecological services to humans in turn, the Participants acknowledged the importance of co-existence of humans and nature as exemplified in Satoyama and similar initiatives.

The Participants discussed, in particular:

l Issues related to biological diversity such as:
Ø Urbanization and its impact on biodiversity;
Ø Economic problems and its impact on biodiversity;
Ø What measures can be taken to address those problems;

l Issues related to education on biological diversity such as:
Ø Education for whom;
Ø What kind of tools and methodologies can be used for an effective education on biological diversity;

l Suggestions for good entry points on education on biological diversity included
Ø Flagship species, and endemic and threatened species;
Ø Biocultural landscape such as Satoyama as learning ground;
Ø Issue wise approach such as
² Business of biodiversity or products from biodiversity
² Certification (e.g. a certificate of harvest in an environmentally sound manner)
² Links between climate change and biodiversity
² Scientific research, property rights, ABS

As for way forward, it was proposed to create a loose network among the ACD Member Countries to continue to share information and expertise related to measures to preserve biodiversity as well as education on biodiversity. This proposal was welcomed by the Participants.

Next step towards making it effective would be done through follow-up correspondence among the Participants under the lead of the Chair. This would pave a small but practical step towards achieving 2010 Biodiversity Target and adopting post 2010 Biodiversity Target at COP 10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in Japan in 2010.

The Chair also announced that it was her intention to follow up this year’s dialogue by sending participants questionnaires in several months’ time, as had been done in the past, with a view to conducting the second round of dialogue on education on biological diversity within the framework of ACD sometime in the next year.

The Chair concluded this year’s dialogue by thanking all participants, co-organizers, and host city for their cooperation and announcing that the successful outcome would be reported to ACD Foreign Ministers this year.

Source: Asia Cooperation dialogue (ACD)

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