Erle Frayne D. Argonza

11 developing countries, including emerging markets, have just taken off with their respective programs as impetus for biodiversity conservation.

It has been a daunting task, since the advent of modernity, to return to biodiversity in farming practices. Modern food production celebrated the specialized land-use and high-yield mono-crop varieties at the expense of natural soil fertility offered by biodiversity.

A return to time-honored traditional practices in farming and eco-management is today’s sine qua non to effective environmental balancing acts. Incidentally, there are models around the world to emulate concerning biodiversity in food production.

Below is a report on the joint initiative of Japan and the UNDP concerning biodiversity conservation.

[Philippines, 10 July 2011]
Japan, UNDP team up for local biodiversity conservation
27 June 2011
Communities in 11 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe are to receive small grants to put into practice biodiversity-friendly natural resource management and farming systems.

Rural communities in Brazil, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Fiji, India, Malawi, Nepal, Slovakia and Turkey will recapture and apply time-honoured agro-ecological practices, learn new techniques and exchange knowledge on traditional farming systems and the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources.

The Satoyama Initiative, adopted at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), is named after the traditional landscape resulting from application of a suite of traditional, sustainable resource management practices perfected over centuries by communities in Japan. This mosaic of mixed forests, rice paddies, upland rice fields, grasslands, streams and ponds is called “satoyama”. The variety of habitats ensures higher numbers of species, and the farming systems themselves conserve crop diversity, water and soil fertility, while stabilizing income and food security.

Today, the Government of Japan and UNDP launched the partnership agreement to promote the Satoyama vision and practices in selected countries.

“Working in 176 countries and territories, we learned that local communities have developed often unique ways of farming and use of resources that provide food and livelihood without damaging the environment,” said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.

“We’re grateful to the Government of Japan for their continued support to the interlinked challenges of poverty, biodiversity, and climate change at the time of their own recovery from the devastating tsunami.”

This five-year partnership programme for Satoyama Initiative provides US$2 million through the Convention’s Japan Biodiversity Fund to support communities during the first year to implement best practices and share knowledge.

“Japan recognizes the significance of local knowledge for resource management and farming in the international effort to ensure environmental sustainability. This collaboration is the flagship programme of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative,” said Ryu Matsumoto, Minister of Environment of Japan.

Small grants for community-based projects will be disbursed through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme and other UNDP-supported small grants schemes.

The CBD Secretariat will work with UNDP to analyze the impacts of Satoyama activities and use this knowledge to feed the current international policy debate with respect to the Biodiversity Convention. UNDP, with the United Nations University, will use the lessons from this programme to replicate and upscale successful experiences to other communities around the world.

Prior to collaborating on the Satoyama Initiative, Japan and UNDP have partnered on a number of initiatives, for example, the Africa Adaptation Programme, which supports 20 African countries to adapt to climate change and embark on low-emission, climate-resilient development paths.

UNDP will continue to advocate the use of sustainability strategies in the fight against biodiversity loss, climate change and poverty at next year’s major international conferences, including Rio+20, to be held in Brazil in June and Biodiversity COP11 in India.

Contact Information
Stanislav Saling
+1 212 9065296
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