United Nations University, Tokyo Japan, 23-25 January 2012
By: Akio Takemoto
“Satoyama” is a Japanese term for traditional rural production landscapes characterized by a mosaic of different types of ecosystems such as secondary forests, farmlands, irrigation ponds and grasslands, along with human settlements which are managed to produce bundles of ecosystem services for human well-being.
The loss of collective management of satoyama landscapes (and satoumi – a similar concept for marine-coastal ecosystems) may be termed as a loss of the “commons”. It is essential to create a new “commons” for the success of a more integrated and holistic approach to ecosystem management. The new “commons” is understood both as a system of co-management of ecosystem services and biodiversity within private, communal, and public land, and as a single system to produce a bundle of ecosystem services which exhibit both public and private properties and for direct and indirect use by society within a long-term perspective.
Ecosystem management is closely related to communities’ resilience to climate change. It is vital to enhance the resilience in rural areas by conducting sustainable ecosystem management in order to adapt to climate change impacts such as flooding, landslides, drought and sea level rise.
In this regard, the First Workshop on Building Resilience with Common Capital was held at the United Nations University (UNU), Tokyo, Japan, from 23–25 January 2012, co-organized by the APN, DIVERSITAS, Hyogo Prefectural Government, International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP).
The objective of the workshops is to identify new governance systems to manage the new Commons, regulate ecosystem services and enhance socioecological resilience against climate and ecosystem changes in an efficient and equitable manner across a range of stakeholders. The co-organizers plan to hold three workshops under this project.
Workshop and outcomes
More than 20 scientists and policymakers participated in the workshop. Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Vice Rector of UNU, Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Executive Director of IHDP, and Dr. Akio Takemoto, Director of APN Secretariat, chaired the workshop and made welcome remarks. In subsequent sessions on Day 1, a multinational and multidisciplinary team of experts, and policymakers from Japan and Thailand made presentations on their work related to managing shared resources and meeting the combined challenges climate and ecosystem changes.
Dr. Hiroaki Ishida, Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo Prefecture, introduced the Satoyama forests in Kurokawa, Hyogo Prefecture, where local communities have kept secondary forests sustainably managed for over 800 years through kiku-zumi” charcoal production. However, it is likely that the forest will deteriorate in the near future, because the number of charcoal producers is drastically decreasing recently, which makes it difficult to maintain the forest in the region.
In Day 2 and Day 3, breakout sessions were held to facilitate intensive discussions for outlining outputs (publications) based on the objective of the project. For example, one group had very intensive discussion on how to bridge institutions among different levels (i.e., community, local, provincial, national, regional and international levels), and what kind of drivers should be used to enhance or revitalize satoyama activities (i.e., market size of the products produced by satoyama activities).
The second workshop is scheduled to be held in another APN member country in May 2012.