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【Event Report】GIAHS Youth Summit and Excursions, a side event of the International Conference on GIAHS

As a side event of the International Conference on GIAHS held in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture, the United Nations University OUIK organised the GIAHS Youth Summit on 26 November and an excursion for Youth Summit participants on 27 November.
• Youth Summit Participating High Schools: Ishikawa Prefectural Iida High School, Ishikawa Prefectural Rokusei High School, Niigata Prefectural Sado General High School, Japan Aviation High School Ishikawa, Miyazaki Prefectural Gokase Secondary School (40 students in total)
Youth Summit participating ambassador countries: Senegal, Burkina Faso, Peru
Facilitators: University students from the prefecture and university students interning in Noto
Mikiko Nagai (UNU-IAS OUIK) gave the opening remark, followed by the briefing of the first and second sessions of the GIAHS Youth Summit Series.
– Session 1: “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) That You Don’t Actually Know Much About” – Sayako Koyama (UNU-IAS OUIK)
– Session 2: ““To think about and develop the future possibilities of rural communities with the next generation” – Shotaro Iimori (Youth Agricultural Study Group)

Session 1 “Letʼs Shape the Future of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems That We Want to Pass on” was divided into four themes: (1) Biodiversity in agriculture and environmental conservation at Satoyama-Satoumi, (2) Revitalization of the local economy, (3) Succession and development of the local culture and (4) Succession and dissemination of the knowledge about GIAHS, and group discussions were held. The students introduced the characteristics and activities of each region related to each theme, and discussed the value of these activities and why they should be passed on to the future. At first the high school students were a little nervous to be in a session with new friends from inside and outside of the prefecture, but they gradually got to know each other by introducing about each other.
At the end of the session, based on the opinions raised during the discussion, the students developed an action plan to protect the GIAHS in their own area and to pass on the local culture, which they compiled into the GIAHS Youth Declaration.







During the lunch time, the participants enjoyed the “GIAHS Experience Lunch Box” produced by the Home Economics Club of Ishikawa Prefectural Rokusei High School with a presentation by the members of the club. This GIAHS lunch box was thoughtfully created for the summit participants to experience GIAHS. More than 40 different ingredients produced and harvested locally in the Noto GIAHS were used in the lunch box. Local delicacies such as kabura-zushi and iwanori seaweed from the Noto sea were presented as well. The Senegalese ambassador to Japan was amazed by the fact that all the food was local and made from local ingredients and praised the high school students for their commitment, saying “You are ambassadors of GIAHS”.

In the afternoon, the ambassadors from countries with an interest in GIAHS joined the students in Session 2, “Letʼs Share the Future Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems That We Want to Pass on”, where they presented the results of Session 1 and the ambassadors gave presentations. Representatives from each group of high school students presented what actions they would like to take to ensure the values of GIAHS in their region to be passed on to future generations. They also told us with great enthusiasm how they would like the adults to help them.
Meanwhile, the participating ambassadors introduced their country’s local assets such as nature, landscape, agriculture, food and traditional culture. After the presentations, perhaps a little shy to ask questions in the audience, the high school students communicated with the ambassadors individually and asked them about the youth activities in their countries and their interest in the SDGs and climate change. In addition, Mr. Masanori Tanimoto (Governor, Ishikawa Prefecture), who came to the conference during this session, gave us an encouraging comment, “I have high expectations for the community activities at GIAHS, especially for the younger generation in the future”.

After Evonne Yu (UNU-IAS OUIK) gave the closing remarks of the summit, the students headed to the main venue to present the GIAHS Youth Declaration at the closing session of the conference.

The five high school students representing each school reported on the GIAHS Youth Summit and announced the GIAHS Youth Declaration, which was applauded by the audience.

On the following day, the 27th, an excursion tour for the summit participants was held in cooperation with the Noto DMC. 10 of the students from the Niigata Prefectural Sado General High School and the Miyazaki Prefectural Gokase Secondary School and their teachers joined the tour to expose the students to the key features of Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) so they may increase their knowledge about the GIAHS and recognize the value of agricultural heritage systems more broadly. This activity specifically built on one of the commitments the students made at the end of the Youth Summit: to “find opportunities for hands-on experiences and deepen [their] understanding of GIAHS.”

To that end, the tour consisted of site visits and experiences designed to illustrate for students the five key criteria of GIAHS: 1) food and livelihood security; 2) agro-biodiversity; 3) local and traditional knowledge systems; 4) cultures, value systems, and social organizations; and 4) landscapes and seascapes features. The tour kicked off with a visit to the Noto Satoyama and Satoumi Museum for an overview of the history, notable traditions and cultural practices, and key environmental features of Noto.
The students continued on to a local, family-owned oyster farm: Miyoshi Fisheries Oyster Farm, to experience life in the Satoumi—that is, a personal exposure to the industry through conversations with people who have been in the business for decades, hands-on experience in cleaning oysters, and a special lunch full of freshly harvested oysters provided by Hamayaki Noto Fudo.

Lunch was followed by a brief stop at Hosokawa Farm in Shika Town to learn about “Noto Shika Korogaki (dried persimmon)” making, which uses the bounty of the satoyama at this time of year. This industry also faces a serious succession problem like many other industries in rural areas. Mr Hosokawa, the owner of the business said “In GIAHS sites, there are many industries and products that have their own stories, and I hope that the young people like you will have many experiences and come back to your hometown in the future to make use of them”.







The students then moved to the Satoyama Marugoto Hotel where students enjoyed a relaxed conversation with the owner who had moved from Tokyo to Noto and started a restaurant business that uses local produce and ingredients. The high school students exchanged ideas and opinions, such as “I would like to run a restaurant using local ingredients as a school project”.
The students wrapped up the tour at the Shiroyone Senmaida, overlooking the thousand rice paddies of Shiroyone town in Wajima City that comprise a key landscape feature of the Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi GIAHS.

On the way back to their respective final destinations, the participants shared their impressions and discoveries of the past two days. The students said: “I had a precious opportunity to meet local people and deepen my knowledge about GIAHS”, “I found out that the most important thing for the GIAHS region is “people”. I would like to make use of this experience to contribute to the region in the future”, concluded the excursion.

ごっつぉ草紙 Red data cook book

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【Event Report】 International Conference on GIAHS 2021

The Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture and Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture were the first two Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) to be designated in a developed setting in 2011. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this designation, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability Ishikawa Kanazawa Operating Unit (UNU-IAS OUIK), together with Ishikawa Prefecture, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Noto Regional Association for GIAHS Promotion and Cooperation, organised the International Conference on GIAHS 2021 in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture. As a side event of the conference, UNU-IAS OUIK organised the GIAHS Youth Summit: GIAHS for the Future and the World – Connecting from Sado and Noto, held on November 26.

GIAHS is an initiative established by the FAO in 2002 with the aim of protecting and passing on to future generations the traditional agriculture, farming methods, land use and culture, nature and biodiversity of the land that have been cultivated for food supply and economic livelihood for generations, for hundreds of years in many of the sites.

The three-day conference featured keynote speeches by many reputable speakers, including Mr. Masanori Tanimoto, the governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, as well as high-level sessions and a variety of breakout sessions where representatives of GIAHS regions, policymakers and researchers from Japan and overseas discussed global issues, such as the impact of climate change on GIAHS, biodiversity conservation of GIAHS, and social programs required to conserve GIAHS. The conference also explored ways in which agricultural heritage systems can deepen links across sites and work together to address common challenges.

On the first day of the conference, Dr. Tsunao Watanabe (UNU-IAS OUIK) moderated Parallel Session 2 (Society) on the theme “Securing and Training People for the Dynamic Conservation of GIAHS.” Panellists included Mr. Naoyuki Kaneda (Noto Regional Association for GIAHS Promotion and Cooperation), Mr. Yosuke Mugishima (Amidaga Falls Tourism Co. Ltd), Dr. Hiroaki Hayashi (Kunisaki Peninsula Usa GIAHS Promotion Association), Ms. Eulalie D. Dulnuan (Ifugao State University in the Philippines), Mr. Pietro Clarici (Azienda Agraria Clarici), and Mr. Yoon-ho Park (Korea Rural Community Corporation & Korea Rural Heritage Association). The commentator was Dr. Koji Nakamura (Kanazawa University). The speakers introduced the human resource development and conservation activities in each GIAHS region and exchanged opinions. Dr. Evonne Yiu (UNU-IAS OUIK) highlighted the importance of M&E in conserving GIAHS and cooperation among GIAHS domestically and internationally in order to strengthen and scale GIAHS conservation efforts.

At the closing session on the second day of the conference, the Noto Communiqué 2021 was adopted. The communiqué cited the following commitments:

(1) Sharing the results of activities and information with domestic and international agricultural stakeholders and agricultural policymakers

(2) Harmonization with the ecosystem and environment of the certified area

(3) Creation of new economic activities using local resources.

Contribution to global issues such as climate change and biodiversity, and to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

5) Support for candidate regions in developing countries

(v) Supporting candidate regions in developing countries.

The closing session also included the GIAHS Youth Declaration, composed and presented by high school students representing the GIAHS sites in Ishikawa, Miyazaki, and Niigata prefectures. The declaration was developed by the students through a facilitated workshop and discussions during the GIAHS Youth Summit, a side even held by UNU-IAS OUIK on the same day.

Mr. Masanori Tanimoto (Governor of Ishikawa Prefecture), Mr. Tadayuki Akamatsu (Councillor (Deputy Director-General, Rural Development Bureau) MAFF), Mr. Yoshihide Endo (GIAHS Secretariat, FAO) and Dr. Tsunao Watanabe (Director, UNU-IAS OUIK) expression of  gratitude to all participants and stakeholders for their meaningful engagement, and formally closed the conference with a reminder that the conference is many of the milestones that will lead to achieving aspirations we collectively share for the future of GIAHS.



Please also check the posters we presented during the conference here:

GIAHS Biodiversity WG Poster Jp Eng

Introduction of Technologies on Characteristic Analysis


Education on GIAHS


【Event Report】RDA-UNU International Symposium: Conservation and Strengthening the Value of Agricultural Heritage Systems in the New Normal Era

The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability Operating Unit Ishikawa Kanazawa (UNU-IAS OUIK), in partnership with the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the Republic of Korea, held a symposium, Conservation and Strengthening the Value of Agricultural Heritage Systems in the New Normal Era, on 5 November 2021. With the transition into the post-COVID-19 ‘new normal’ as the main through-thread, the event aimed to: 1) find ways to sustainably conserve agricultural heritage and strengthen its value in accordance with the changing times; and 2) share best practices and directions for the conservation and management of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS).

Following the welcome remarks by Mr. Taewoong Hur, Administrator of the RDA, Dr. Tsunao Watanabe, Director of UNU-IAS OUIK, framed the event by reminding the audience of the very premise of GIAHS that was showcased again by the COVID-19 pandemic: humans and nature together constitute a single, unified system worthy of conservation and sustenance. Professor Nobuyuki Yagi from the University of Tokyo illustrated how this messaging is reinforced through the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) GIAHS application review process, which requires an explicit articulation of the ways in which people and the environment interdepend and thrive through their coexistence. In response to these introductory presentations, Mr. Jaerok Ahn from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) noted the agency’s ongoing efforts to conserve current agricultural heritage systems and identify more, as a way of strengthening the overall livelihood of agricultural communities and environmental protection measures.

Subsequent presentations and discussion elaborated on how GIAHS in the ‘new normal’ times could be more widely recognized for the multi-faceted value-add it brings to local communities, society, and humanity. Dr. Evonne Yiu from UNU-IAS OUIK and Dr. Daeyong Hwang from RDA emphasized the importance of monitoring and evaluating the conservation outcomes of GIAHS and shared the efforts to identify practical metrics and indicators unfolding under the ‘Introduction of Technologies on Characteristic Analysis and Conservation Management in Agricultural Heritage Systems’ project, a collaborative research between UNU-IAS OUIK and RDA. Dr. Myeongchul Jeong from RDA reiterated the importance of monitoring by presenting on the recently launched participatory monitoring initiative among agricultural heritage systems in Korea. Dr. Seok-young Hong from RDA and Dr. Tsunao Watanabe built on the presentations by pointing out the importance of ensuring that monitoring is made practical, to the extent that it can engage non-traditional stakeholders, such as young people in the community, as promoted by the GIAHS Youth Summit: GIAHS for the Future and to the World.

Grounding the conversation with real-life examples of current practices and future plans from their respective sites were Dr. Hiroyaki Hayashi (Chairman of the Kunisaki Peninsula Usa GIAHS Promotion Association), Naoki Takahashi (Head of Secretariat of the Osaki GIAHS Promotion Association), and Kilsik Hwang (Researcher at Myeongso IMC), who works closely with the communities of the Traditional Gudeuljang Irrigated Rice Terraces in Cheongsando. They stressed the importance of reviving the tourism industry and product sales that have been severely impacted by the pandemic, as well as educating younger generation about agricultural heritage systems, systematically documenting historical knowledge and cultural practices, and creating incentives that attract financial investment. In response, Dr. Osamu Saito from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Dr. Jong-hee Choi from Pai Chai University, and Dr. Junko Owada from Doshisha University praised the actions on the ground and shared more examples from the field, such as Japanese GIAHS’ proactive pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Conservation and Strengthening the Value of Agricultural Heritage Systems in the New Normal Era symposium was attended by nearly 120 participants through Zoom and YouTube Korean and Japanese channels.

The symposium closed with deep appreciation for and acknowledgement of the meaningful work to protect GIAHS, as a reminder of the challenges that remain, such as the decline in farming populations and collective dedication to protect the environment for long-term sustainability, beyond the pandemic and into the ‘new normal’ era.

The event was livestreamed on RDA’s YouTube channel in Korean and Japanese, and can be accessed here for Japanese and here for Korean. The full program, inclusive of all presentations, can be downloaded from here (also accessible through the aforementioned YouTube links).

A poster introducing the activities of the Biodiversity Working Group was created

The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa(UNU-IAS OUIK) is supporting the activities of the Biodiversity Working Group established within the Noto Regional Association for GIAHS Promotion and Cooperation this year. As part of its activities, UNU-IAS OUIK worked together with the expert members of the working group and created a poster summarizing the results of its activities to date and future prospective, which was displayed at the International Conference on GIAHS 2021 held in Nanao City in November 25-27, 2021.


The poster describes the efforts of the Working Group to create a system for monitoring biodiversity with citizen participation and to obtain funding for its activities. It also mentions its desire to work in a broad partnership, including other GIHAS-designated areas to achieve its goals.


Please have a look at the poster for more details.

GIAHS Biodiversity WG Poster Jp Eng

Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi “Passing down the Food Knowledge and Skills” video series is now available!

The Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, Japan is a region where the traditional knowledge of cultivating and preserving local produce has been passed down for many generations.  These traditional techniques are also highly efficient and leave very little to waste. This is important now more than ever with the world facing challenges around climate change and food sustainability. 

This film series explores this traditional knowledge from the Noto peninsula which is designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) – Noto’s Satoyama Satoumi.

We hope this video will give you insight into the traditional food knowledge and skills of the Noto Peninsula and help you think about the future of our food.

Here is the link for the playlist 

We would like to thank Mr. Takahiko Ikemori (Ishikawa Prefecture), Ms. Watae Sawatani (Satoyama Satoumi Restaurant “Henzai Mon”) and Ms. Yuki Hagino (Team Maruyama) for their cooperation in the production of this video series.

Official report of International Forum Series to Commemorate One-Year Anniversary of the 1st Asian Conference on Biocultural Diversity[Electronic Version]

After one year since the 1st Asian Conference on Biocultural Diversity, a series of 2 inernational forums were held to explore the measurements to further promote the Ishikawa Declaration with international initiatives and East Asian partner. 


International Forum Series 1 (4/10/2017)

Biocultural diversity & satoyama: Effort towards societies in harmony with nature around the world.


International Forum Series 2 (15/10/2017)

Preserving Biocultural Diversity for Future Generations:Partnarship of East Aisan Countries. 

Establishment of the Noto Biodiversity Society

Five years have passed since “Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi” was designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). OUIK has supported the revision of action plans and monitoring activities after the GIAHS designation.

Biodiversity monitoring activities in Noto, which are carried out in an area that encompasses four cities and five towns, focus on surveys of living creatures conducted independently by municipal governments and private organizations; a unified monitoring system to disseminate information related to biodiversity has not yet been developed.

In response to this situation, “Noto Biodiversity Society” was established by OUIK and Kanazawa University Satoyama-satoumi Project to contribute to Noto GIAHS through monitoring of biodiversity and related activities. The members of this society include people who belong to private organizations that promote the preservation of biodiversity and environmental education in the region, as well as researchers working in laboratories related to biodiversity in Noto.

On January 23, we announced the establishment at a meeting of Noto GIAHS Utilization Executive Committee and Noto GIAHS Promotion Council, in which OUIK participates as an observer. Through surveys of living creatures and related activities, the society will contribute to the preservation and monitoring of biodiversity and dissemination of information, in cooperation with the Council.

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems(GIAHS) Monitoring Workshop with Korea and Japan GIAHS sites

UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa Kanazawa (OUIK), in partnership with the Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea (RDA) held two online consultation workshops on monitoring of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) with practitioners and representatives from Korea GIAHS sites on 6 October 2021 @ 13:00-16:00 and with Japan GIAHS sites on 13 October 2021 @ 13:00-16:00.

UNU-IAS OUIK and the RDA has been collaborating since 2018 on a research project, “Introduction of Technologies on Characteristic Analysis and Conservation Management in Agricultural Heritage Systems.” The aim of the project is to develop indicators and guidelines for monitoring the sustainability of GIAHS based on the experiences in Korea and Japan.

To that end, UNU-IAS OUIK and RDA held consultation workshops with GIAHS stakeholders in both countries to receive their views on the monitoring criteria and indicators developed by the research project, mainly with the objective to 1) assess their feasibility, 2) discuss challenges and potential solutions to data collection and meaningful utilization, and 3) identify linkages between GIAHS and SDGs as a broader framework for sustainability.


(Left) GIAHS monitoring workshop, Korea on 6 October 2021 and (right) Japan on 13 October 2021


The following key learnings emerged from the two workshops.

  • Monitoring of GIAHS should be guided by key, basic principles. Chiefly among them are: 1) clearly defining the value and purpose of monitoring to ensure that the data collection is meaningful; 2) striking a balance between broader objectives and GIAHS-specific goals to track important changes without burdening the stakeholders; 3) setting realistic expectations around monitoring and understanding that it cannot detect all elements of GIAHS given the system’s complexity and gaps between cycles; 4) adequately staffing for and funding monitoring activities, inclusive of third-party assessments and capacity building of local residents for participatory monitoring; and 5) identifying strategic ways for sharing monitoring results, to properly leverage their potential to pave pathways to new ideas, determine strategic direction, and guide action plans.
  • Monitoring indicators need to be applicable, feasible, and relevant. There should be a set of standard indicators, while reserving a mechanism for contextualization, to accommodate to the diversity of needs, environmental features, and cultural practices across GIAHS sites, as well as data collection challenges due to sensitivities and hard-to-access physical landscapes. Unquantifiable data can be complemented with surveys to understand residents’ knowledge, attitude, and perception of GIAHS, as well as ongoing activities of local cooperatives and interest groups. Technical guidance of the GIAHS monitoring would help empower GIAHS sites with increased capacities, including monitoring process design and connecting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with GIAHS conservation. Specifically, SDGs could be used as a platform to raise public awareness of GIAHS and to strengthen the messaging around GIAHS’ potential in contributing to the sustainability of society, environment, culture, and way of life.

Building on this rich conversation, UNU-IAS OUIK and the RDA will jointly host the Conservation and Strengthening the Value of Agricultural Heritage in the New Normal Era Symposium on 5 November 2021 at 14:00-17:00 JST. Specifically, the symposium will aim to 1) discuss ways to sustainably conserve agricultural heritage and strengthen its value during times of change under the COVID-19 pandemic; and 2) share best practices to date and potential directions for the conservation and management of GIAHS. For the further information, please click here.


2021年度 能登×イフガオ中学生国際交流プログラム①

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