Call for Papers: Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review volume 6


The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) are pleased to announce a call for papers for the sixth volume of the series “Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review”. The sixth volume will feature the theme “Transformative change through the multiple benefits of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS)”.  Authors from IPSI member organizations who have case studies relevant to this theme are highly encouraged to submit a manuscript following the guidance provided in this call for papers.

About the “Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review”:

The Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review is a compilation of case studies providing useful knowledge and lessons focusing on a specific theme related to “socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS)”. The overall aim is to collect practical experiences and relevant knowledge, taking advantage of on-the-ground activities by practitioners while contributing to policy recommendations. Each volume also includes a synthesis chapter clarifying its relevance to policy and academic discussion to encourage the application of lessons learned in the field.

See the past five volumes from the link below.

Vol.1: “Enhancing knowledge for better management of SEPLS”

Vol.2: “Mainstreaming concepts and approaches of SEPLS into policy and decision-making”

Vol.3: “Sustainable livelihoods in SEPLS”

Vol.4: “Sustainable use of biodiversity in SEPLS and its contribution to effective area-based conservation

Vol.5: “Understanding the multiple values associated with sustainable use in SEPLS


“Transformative change through the multiple benefits of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS)”

In this volume we seek to explore how SEPLS management relates to the idea of transformative change, considering that SEPLS approaches can result in multiple benefits beyond biodiversity conservation, including cultural ecosystem service provision, preservation of traditional knowledge and practices, climate change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystem restoration, and social equity and rights.



The idea of “transformative change” has been gaining more attention as something that is needed to deal with today’s environmental and developmental problems. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development determines taking “the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path” (UN 2015). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C urges “transformative systemic change, integrated with sustainable development” (de Coninck, et al. 2018). The Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report launched in May 2019[1] also cautions that goals for conserving and sustainably using nature and achieving sustainability cannot be met by ongoing trajectories, and urges transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors to achieve these goals for 2030 and beyond.

In early 2019, IPBES decided to conduct a thematic assessment of “the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and the determinants of transformative change and options for achieving the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity” (the so-called “assessment on transformative change”) as part of its rolling work programme.[2] In consideration of broader social and economic goals in the context of sustainable development, this assessment is aimed at “understanding and identifying factors in human society at both the individual and collective levels, including behavioural, social, cultural, economic, institutional, technical and technological dimensions, which can be leveraged to bring about transformative change for the conservation, restoration and wise use of biodiversity”. The scoping process for this assessment is being launched to start the three-year assessment work upon the eighth session of the IPBES Plenary to be held in February 2021.[3]

But what does “transformative change” mean? According to IPBES, it refers to fundamental, system-wide reorganization of technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values needed for humanity to achieve global goals related to nature. This means considering the relations and linkages between SDGs, targets towards the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, and the Paris Agreement on climate change, and between related conventions like the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The IPBES global assessment highlights that implementation of instruments through integrative, informed, inclusive and adaptive place-based governance interventions can enable global transformation. Furthermore, it points to a diversity of actors (e.g., intergovernmental organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities, the private sector) who can apply the levers (e.g., incentives and capacity building, cross-sectoral cooperation, environmental law and implementation). [4]

The Satoyama Initiative promotes integrated landscape and seascape approaches, with many case studies showing how these approaches contribute to global goals through local action by bringing together all of the different concerns and interests in the landscape/seascape – which can be seen as a real-world example of “transformative change”. SEPLS approaches could provide practical and experience-based insights for understanding and gauging transformative change and identifying determinants of such change. Exploring contributions of SEPLS to transformative change may have strong policy significance for the achievement of relevant global goals.

The Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review Vol. 6

This volume will focus particularly on the relevance of SEPLS to aspects of transformative change as explained above. Cases could highlight the roles, attitudes and actions of those responsible for management, including smallholders, indigenous peoples and local communities, and other stakeholders in conserving biodiversity while providing other benefits (e.g., food security, water quality, health, quality of life, enhanced carbon storage, reduced footprint of cities), and how those may have implications for national and global policymaking processes.

IPSI partners are invited to contribute case studies related to this theme, demonstrating experiences and insights on, among others:

  • How the management of SEPLS in your area has helped in pursuing transitions to sustainable pathways so as to achieve multiple benefits and what methods were used towards this achievement
  • If transformative change is yet to happen, what kind of seeds exist in SEPLS management to potentially lead to transformative change in the future
  • indicators are used to assess the achievements for transformative change (both in existing initiatives and for the future)
  • Values that underpin SEPLS management and how these contribute to improved sustainability

The volume is expected to provide insights on how SEPLS approaches on the ground can contribute to more sustainable management and achievement of global goals for biodiversity, sustainable development, and others. In addition, it is also intended to offer substantive inputs to the upcoming IPBES assessment on transformative change.


How to submit a manuscript and what happens after submission:


Authors are invited to submit a paper if at least one of the authors belongs to an IPSI member organization. (See http://satoyama-initiative.org/en/partnership/ipsi_members/)



Authors are requested to submit an abstract (400 words) to the IPSI Secretariat by email (isi@unu.edu) by 15 January 2020. Submission of a full manuscript should be made before 15 March, after receiving confirmation from the editorial team. Authors are requested to follow the Authors’ Guide and the reference style, and are encouraged to use the Template for Manuscripts. Case studies that have already been submitted to the IPSI Secretariat can be submitted after editing as needed to conform to the Author’s Guide. After screening, selected authors will be informed in early April and then invited to a Case Study Workshop planned to be held in Japan in early May 2020. This Case Study Workshop will offer an opportunity for getting feedback on manuscripts and discussion among participants for development of a synthesis paper to be included in the volume.


Timeline (dates are subject to change):

15 January 2020:               Deadline for submission of abstracts (400 words)

15 March 2020:                 Deadline for submission of full manuscripts

April 2020:                           Notification of selected authors

Early May 2020:                     Selected authors participate in Case Study Workshop (Japan)

July 2020:                             Submission of revised manuscripts

October 2020:                    Publication


Related documents:


For inquiries, please contact… Ms. Madoka Yoshino or Dr. Maiko Nishi at the IPSI Secretariat (isi@unu.edu).

[1] https://www.ipbes.net/global-assessment-report-biodiversity-ecosystem-services

[2] https://www.ipbes.net/system/tdf/decision_ipbes-7_1_en.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=35304

[3] https://www.ipbes.net/sites/default/files/inline/files/larigauderie_pre-scoping_tc_9oct2019_0.pdf

[4] https://www.ipbes.net/sites/default/files/inline/files/ipbes_transformative_change_as_system_change.pdf