Japanese vision – the New Strategic Plan, a decade of biodiversity and raising awareness with origami

21 May 2010 | News story

After the scientific and technical discussions in Nairobi, the eyes of the conservation world will be moving towards Nagoya, Japan, where Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will meet in October this year to make binding decisions on the future of the world’s biodiversity. The Japan Committee for IUCN has been working to make every effort to ensure that this event, which is crucial for the future of our planet, has a high profile in Japan. Professor Masahito Yoshida is the Chair of the Japan Committee for IUCN. Here he answers questions about the Committee’s work, its role in the CBD conference and how the Japan Committee for IUCN uses origami to raise awareness of the need to conserve biodiversity, all life on earth.

During this International Year of Biodiversity, what are the most pressing issues for the Japan Committee for IUCN?

The New Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity is the most pressing issue of the International Year of Biodiversity, as it includes the post-2010 biodiversity targets. The Japan Committee for IUCN has held a series of discussions among relevant sectors including national and local governments, business sectors, overseas development aid agencies, scientists and NGOs, focusing on this issue. Together with the Japan Civil Network for CBD, the Japan Committee for IUCN is proposing the adoption of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity for 2011 – 2020, in order to implement the New Strategic Plan with full participation of relevant sectors.

The eyes of the world will be on Japan in the run-up to the Nagoya conference – does this put added pressure on the Japan Committee?

The Japan Committee for IUCN, together with the Japan Civil Network for CBD, are working together to ensure that there’s a warm welcome for participants at the conference in Nagoya, as they make important decisions on the future of the planet. We expect biodiversity issues to be given a high priority in Japan during this International Year of Biodiversity and leading up to the October conference.

How important is it for the Japan Committee for IUCN to raise general awareness about biodiversity during this International Year of Biodiversity?

A year ago, only 40% of people knew the word "Biodiversity" and there was an urgent need to raise general awareness about conservation. A growing number of newspaper and magazine articles and extensive media coverage of biodiversity issues in the lead up to the conference in Nagoya, have helped to address this alarming problem. The Japan Committee for IUCN has also seen this as an important objective. One of its awareness-raising campaigns has been the "Origami Project", inviting people of all ages and nationalities to recreate the official logo of the CBD conference in Japan - a ‘cartoon’ set of origami animals - using the ‘origami’ paper folding technique, and to write their own 2020 target on it.