Urgent Appeal to Conserve Biodiversity

We the Participants of the Emergency ForumgCatastrophic Disaster and Biodiversityh on 10th of July 2011, urge for the adoption of prudent measures in drafting policy for post-earthquake reconstruction to ensure that reconstruction shall not undermine conservation of the natural environment, particularly the biodiversity of the Japanese Archipelago.

We welcome and support the report gToward Construction - Hope beyond the Disasterh (hereinafter gReconstruction Reporth), which was prepared by the Reconstruction Design Council in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and submitted to the Prime Minister on the 25th of June 2011. The Reconstruction Report, based on the understanding that genvironmental issues are common problems faced by countries around the worldh, declares that: gthrough the reconstruction, Japan is anticipated to move to the forefront of those countries tackling environmental issues. Japan will achieve this through its efforts to turn the Tohoku region into a sustainable, environmentally advanced region that is the first of its kind in the world.h

Moreover, we share the Reconstruction Reportfs view that gby facilitating the recovery of naturefs disaster prevention functions and the linkages between the ecosystems of forests, Sato (countryside) and sea, as well as the utilization of wonderful scenery as tourism resources, Japan shall achieve an economic society that is in harmony with the natural environment. The community-rooted wisdom of coexisting harmoniously with natural environments will thus hold great significance.
We truly anticipate that Japan will take advantage of gthe reconstruction as an opportunity to take the lead in tackling environmental issuesh and urge the implementation of these ideas into practical policy.

Embracing the aforementioned common understandings, we the participants of the emergency forum gCatastrophic Disaster and Biodiversityh on 10th of July 2011 propose the following recommendations:

1. Recognizing how biodiversity (fauna, flora, microorganisms, etc.) in the region is making an indispensible contribution to the fundamental cycles-such as the hydrological cycle, formation of soil, costal biological services, and flow of energy-on which not only the agricultural and fishing sectors, but the local community as a whole are dependent;

Acknowledging that harmonious coexistence with nature in the forest, Sato (countryside), and the ocean is the minimum standard for human survival;

We recommend that long-term and geographically broad measures be taken during the course of reconstruction to guarantee swift recovery of the ecosystem and regeneration of the biological services that support the subsistence of the local inhabitants.

2. Bearing in mind that Japan is the Chair of the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention of Biological Diversity until 2012, successfully led the COP at Nagoya in October 2011, and holds continuing responsibility to conserve biodiversity;

Recognizing that Japan is expected by the global community to facilitate sustainable use of biological resources even in post-catastrophic situations;

We strongly recommend observing the following steps in reconstruction:

(A) Taking advantage of the increasing solidarity amongst the network of NGO/NPOs, mutual cooperation between citizen groups shall be strengthened. Construction of a society where stainable use of biodiversity is actively pursued by every layer of citizens shall be supported.
(B) Enhancement of national policies relating to the National Biodiversity Strategy shall be facilitated.
(C) Conservation of biodiversity shall be pursed not only on a national, but also on the global scale, to take the lead in tackling environmental issues.

3. To tackle the issues revealed by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the following point needs to be recognized and addressed:

(A) Sustainable use and restoration of Japanfs unique biodiversity: Satoyama and the coastal areasf threatened environment are important since such biodiversity has formed Japanfs culture by providing resources for the people.

(B) In course of reconstruction, it is important to utilize the bond amongst the people living in harmony with nature, reaffirming the significance of sustainable subsistence, and promoting opportunities for the younger generation to enrich and cherish their souls by interacting with nature.

We anticipate active involvement of natural history museums in recording changes in biodiversity by continuous observation and record keeping. We also anticipate the museumsf role as a think-tank in policymaking. We recommend setting high-level standards for safeguarding specimens of natural history - which are the basis of museums. Moreover, such facilities shall be supported to become hubs for life-long learning to promote enrichment of life.

(C) To reconstruct the damaged local society and infrastructure, due consideration to the conservation of regionally unique biotas is necessary. Prudent measures shall be taken in procurement of reconstruction materials. Measures shall also be taken to avoid destruction of biodiversity in the developing nations through indiscreet procurement of reconstruction materials.


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