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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.
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:
OUIK Biocultural Diversity Series #5 Restoring Kinship with Nature through Japanese Gardens -The Challenge to Achieve a Sustainable Commons in Kanazawa
The book introduces unique roles and teachings of Japanese Gardens in Kanazawa City in a relation with human society and it is breaking new ground for Kanazawa’s sustainable future.
OUIK is mapping information for understanding the relationship between regional nature and culture. We have published the booklets “Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi Maps” and “Kanazawa Nature and Culture Maps”.
We are collecting map information at different levels of prefectures and municipalities in the Hokuriku Region. With a focus on the keywords of biological diversity, cultural diversity and ecosystem service, we are creating tools for learning and information dissemination that meet regional needs.
【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 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).
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.