» The First Asian Conference on Biocultural Diversity highlights the importance of the links between biological ...
02.11.2016 - Natural Sciences Sector

The First Asian Conference on Biocultural Diversity highlights the importance of the links between biological and cultural diversity for sustainable development

© UNESCO Adoption of the 2016 Ishikawa Declaration on Biocultural Diversity

Gathered in Nanao City, at the heart of the Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan, the participants of the First Asian Conference on Biocultural Diversity adopted the 2016 Ishikawa Declaration on Biocultural Diversity and recommended a number of actions to strengthen the links between biological and cultural diversity for a sustainable future living in harmony with Nature.

Under the umbrella of the UNESCO-SCBD Joint Programme on the Links between Biological and Cultural Diversity, the Conference was held from 27-29 October and gathered policy makers, practitioners, scientists and representatives of local communities and indigenous peoples from 15 Asian countries.  

Speaking at the opening of the Conference, Ms Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences, underlined the vital role UNESCO has played in recognizing the importance of the links between biological and cultural diversity and the need for a holistic approach in tackling the loss and erosion of diversity at the global level. ” Moving forward”, she said, “we have to make the connections between biocultural approaches and the implementation of the most recent internationally agreed agreements e.g. the Biodiversity Aichi Targets, Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Sendai Agreement on DRR, Samoa Pathway for SIDS and  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Mr Braulio de Ferreira de Souza Dias, the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD)and the Governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, Masanori Tanimoto also addressed the participants noting that both cultural and biological diversity are the common heritage of humanity and must be recognized as such and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.  Mr Tanimoto was presented a special recognition for his contribution to the promotion of biological and cultural diversity in Asia.

Organized by the United Nations UNESCO, CBD Secretariat, United Nations University, and the Ishikawa Prefectural Government, the conference highlighted that actions from local to international levels that value and protect biodiversity and cultural diversity can benefit people in many ways, including through better health, food security, access to clean water, and less poverty.

The participants also noted the importance of UNESCO sites, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, Geoparks and World Heritage sites in promoting diverse, local, sustainable and culturally appropriate development through dialogue, mutual exchange and learning. They committed to further exploring and implementing integrated approaches to conservation, sustainable use and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from Nature, through strengthening the resilience of local biocultural diversity, including by enhancing and supporting local and traditional knowledge systems, technologies and cultural practices.

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