27 June 2013

Africa: Ten More Countries Join Japan-UNDP Biodiversity Partnership

The Government of Japan and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) today launched the second phase of a major biodiversity and sustainable development partnership, and announced new projects in ten countries.

Communities in Bhutan, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Namibia, and Niger will join the Community Development and Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative (COMDEKS).

This brings to twenty the number of countries involved in the joint programme. It promotes inclusive, community-based approaches to the sustainable development of landscapes and seascapes, incorporating support for biodiversity conservation, human security - in particular food security, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation.

"With this programme, we are pursuing a resilience-based approach to sustainable development, encouraging collective action and learning-by-doing, and strengthening organizations to be effective decision makers in landscape management", UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said. "The programme has already helped to establish multi-stakeholder platforms to build the capacities of communities and local institutions to plan and act together".

Launched in 2011, COMDEKS is the flagship programme of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative, a global effort to promote the sustainable use and management of natural resources in socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes - a term describing the Satoyama concept of people in harmony with nature -pursuant to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Communities in Brazil, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Fiji, India, Malawi, Nepal, Slovakia, and Turkey are already involved in designing and implementing landscape strategies for the realization of "societies in harmony with nature", as defined in the vision of the Satoyama Initiative.

The landscapes and seascapes being targeted span diverse ecosystems, ranging from coastal areas, watersheds, and pastoral systems to lowlands and highlands areas.

The initiative, which works through UNDP's Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, provides small grants directly to local community organizations with a contribution of US$10 million from the Japan Biodiversity Fund.

The five-year programme is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environment of Japan, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS).

The Government of Japan (GoJ), with its significant financial contributions to biodiversity conservation, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation, is a strong partner in helping developing countries to strengthen their resilience. This partnership builds on continued collaboration between the GoJ and UNDP to promote knowledge sharing and expertise and strengthen capacities for sustainable development.

"It is our great pleasure that the Satoyama Initiative - which was jointly initiated by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies -

has been evolving with the strong support of UNDP. Now with the participation of ten new countries, we expect improvement in the conservation of socio-ecological production landscapes and in the livelihoods of people living there," said Japan's Minister of Environment Nobuteru Ishihara. "Through COMDEKS, we hope to make strides toward achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the realization of societies in harmony with nature in keeping with the Satoyama concept."

During the second phase, UNDP, the Ministry of Environment of Japan, SCBD and UNU-IAS will join hands to scale-up the programme from its initial pilot phase, facilitating knowledge and policy communication based on lessons learned and good practices.

"We are grateful to the Government of Japan and partners for their continued collaboration in building resilient communities and landscapes", Helen Clark said.

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