The United Nations University-Institute of Advanced Studies Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) was established in April 2008 as the first UNU operating unit in Asia and the sixth globally. It is a strategic think tank whose mission is to provide local and regional inputs into UN challenges on sustainable development and international cooperation. Within Japan, UNU-IAS OUIK works with a wide network of stakeholders, initiating Satoyama and Satoumi related sustainable development policy-oriented research dialogues and ecosystem assessment projects with academic institutions, government offices and other stakeholders.
UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa Activities
A) Satoyama/Satoumi Initiative (SSI)
SSI explores and analyzes the linkages between ecosystem services and human well-being in addressing increasing threats to ecosystems; overuse and underuse analysis inclusive. OUIK is, in cooperation with UNU-IAS Japan SGA Secretariat, working on the first nation-wide ecosystem assessment project in Japan, the Satoyama Satoumi Sub-Global Assessment (Japan SGA). OUIK has taken an active role in this project as the coordinating office for the work of the Hoku-Shinetsu Cluster. The SSI aims at effectively linking the research findings of the Hoku-Shinetsu Cluster and national report to policy-making formulation both within the Hokuriku area and beyond national borders with potential stakeholders overseas.
Current Research Projects:
- Ecosystem Assessment in Satoyama Landscapes of Noto Peninsula Working with a team of researchers led by Dr. Nakamura at Kanazawa University, and researchers and the Ishikawa government forestry and agriculture field research centers in Noto Peninsula to complete a comprehensive assessment of ecosystems and ecosystems services on the Peninsula as a basis for policy options to be designed and explored based on the findings of this research.
- Satoumi Pilot Project We are one of four pilot research teams and sites chosen for the first satoumi pilot research project initiated by Ministry of Environment (MoEJ), a pilot project aimed to be the basis for MoEJ’s Satoumi Manual. This manual is intended to be the basis for MoEJ led ecosystem assessment and resource management in marine coastal areas of Japan defined as satoumi areas.
- Socioeconomic Monitoring (SocMonc) in Satoumi:Critical Tools for Balancing Biodiversity and Human Activities This is a two year research project led by OIUK post-doctoral fellow Dr. Edpalina. SocMon is based on a 6 step process beginning with advance preparation, continuing with 4 steps of data collection (including secondary source, key informant, household interviews and observation), and ending with data analysis and communication. This research project is intended to provide guidance on what indicators are important to monitor. To do so 7 purposes of socioeconomic information are identified ranging from “identifying threats, problems, solutions and opportunities” to “establishing baseline household and community profile”. These purposes will then be linked to the indicators so that by identifying why they want socioeconomic information, the socioeconomic monitoring team can select the most appropriate indicators.
- Biodiversity and Human-Made Wetlands (Rice Paddies) Conservation and Management in Asia Working with researchers in Ishikawa and Miyagi prefectures at Ramsar Sites in Japan and wetland researchers in Korea and China, this team aims to explore the issues of food security, biological diversity in agriculture and wetland conservation in Asia. (refer to OUIK Side Event held at Ramsar COP10 in Korea October 2008)
B) Urban Ecology Activities
Urban Ecology related research is dedicated to furthering knowledge of human-environment interactions in urban contexts. Focal points of these research include investigating the functioning of urban ecosystems, analyzing and assessing the importance and relevance of green space for urban dwellers, effects of human-induced activities, development and application of biodiversity indicators for cities, and integration of urban-ecological and biodiversity research into urban policy and planning for sustainable biodiversity conservation in cities.
Current Research Projects:
- Biological Diversity Indicators and Index Project Working with the environmental division research team in Kanazawa City, the aim of this project is to explore and select indicators by 2010 Cop10 Nagoya City Summit for the city of Kanazawa. Members of this research team will attend the CBD related meetings on indicators for urban environments in Singapore February 2009.
- Ecosystem Service of Urban Landscapes Working with ecological landscape and plant ecology researchers from Kyoto University, this project focuses on the ecosystem services in urban traditional Japanese gardens in Kanazawa City. Kanazawa City has one of the three most famous traditional gardens in Japan. Cultural services and economic assessments of ecosystem services within traditional Japanese gardens will also be explored in this 2 year research project. The finding of this project will be completed by the fall of 2010 in time for the Nagoya City Summit held concurrently for 2010.
C) Education for Sustainable Development (EfSD) Hokuriku Activities
As a member of the Ishikawa University Consortium, we are working with the Hokuriku EfSD committee led by Kanazawa University on capacity development activities for the integration of education for sustainable development components into regional development planning; specifically promoting community-based research activities/projects within the Satoyama Satoumi context.
D) Satoyama/Satoumi Visualization Project (SSV)
SSV is an innovative endeavour to investigate Japanese Satoyama/Satoumi ecosystems, focusing on the human communities residing in Satoyama/Satoumi. Researchers and media professionals work together to visually record Satoyama/Satoumi fields, employing various visualizing techniques including anthropological methods. The SSV project team is currently involved in anthropological documentary projects of Satoyama/Satoumi communities in Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa prefecture. The focus of OUIK is, however, not limited to Ishikawa. Taking multi-scale approaches, Hokuriku region (or Hoku-Shinetsu Japan SGA Cluster region) as a whole and beyond is our research site for this field-oriented activities. SSI projects are reflected and incorporated in the SSV, for research purposes as well as outreach activities aiming at communicating research related activities to stakeholders within Japan and beyond.
- Human-Nature Relationships Explored in Satoyama Satoumi Landscapes In collaboration with anthropologist from the National Museum of Ethnology and Research Institute (Osaka, Japan) this project explores the relationships between human society and nature in the traditional satoyama landscapes of Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa prefecture. This project aims to explore the question of cultural diversity and biological diversity.
- Satoyama/Satoumi Documentation A collaborative project with UNU Media Studio, webcasts designed to explain and explore Satoyama and Satoumi in Japan to a global audience. The first of a series of four webcasts will be coming out in December 2007. The intent of the collaboration is to create global awareness of ecosystem assessment and biodiversity related research activities in Japan in moving towards COP10 Nagoya and the UN International Year of Biodiversity 2010.
E) Linking Research Findings to Policy Options related Activities
- Biodiversity Vision Team in Ishikawa. Chaired by Ishikawa prefecture Governor Tanimoto, OUIK is an official member of the policy option designing team which includes Dr. Nakamura, Co-Chair of Nippon Science Assessment Panel for the UNU-IAS led Satoyama Satoumi Ecosystem Assessment (Japan SGA) and Dr. Washitani from Tokyo University, also Board Member for the Japan SGA. A 3 year vision has been designed and will be announced in April 2009. This is intended to be the first stage of a long-term policy initiative that works closely with researchers and local communities to ensure the most effective policies are designed based on the finding of sound science. Director Anne McDonald is also a committee member of the Ministry of Environment’s (MoEJ) national committee for SatochiSatoyama in Japan, a committee working in collaboration with MoEJ’s Satoyama Initiative, which is to be a showcase of the Japanese government’s at COP10 Nagoya.
- Satoyama Management and Conservation Policy Development in Ishikawa Scoping 10 sites in Ishikawa to design as models for satoyama management and conservation in Ishikawa. The model scoping will be based in part on the research findings of the Japan SGA Hoku-Shinetsu Cluster Report.
- Biological Diversity and Agriculture Working informally with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and Ishikawa prefecture government to explore indicators for agriculture in Ishikawa prefecture. The results of this will be incorporated in the work of the Biodiversity Vision for Ishikawa Prefecture. (Director Anne McDonald was a member of MAFF’s first national committee on biological diversity in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.)
- Japan Sea Satoumi Policy Initiatives Working with local municipalities, prefectural and regional government officials as one of 4 official sites chosen for the Ministry of Environment’s Satoumi Pilot Project, researchers aim to link their findings to local, regional and national policy. OIUK also hopes to take this work to potential partners in Asia.
- Governor’s Roundtable Sessions: Linking Research Findings to Effective Policy Making Working together with the Ishikawa government, this project is planned for 2009-2010 to bring together researchers and policy makers involved in ecosystem assessment on the regional level in Japan. This aim of these sessions to engage active discussion between researchers and policy makers in regional areas in Japan, but to also raise public awareness on ecosystem assessment research efforts. Further, these sessions aim to raise public awareness about biological diversity to increase public support and interest in COP10 Nagoya.
Faculty & Staff
Operating Unit Ishikawa / Kanazawa Kazuhiko Takemoto
Interim Director, Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa Raquel Moreno-Penaranda
Research Fellow Bixia Chen
Research Associate Atsuko Hasegawa
Programme Associate Kozue Suto
Programme Support Assistant
The Ishikiawa International Cooperation Research Centre (IICRC)