Workshop Introduces Urban-Rural Sustainability Fellowship in the Asia-Pacific


On 23 July, the Secretariat of the Satoyama Initiative participated in the online workshop Integrated Nature-Culture Approaches to Rural Sustainability organised by the Centre for Civil Society and Governance of the University of Hong Kong. The event introduced the AIRI Fellowship Programme 2022-2023 and experts discussed sustainability and biodiversity conservation practices in rural communities.

Bruno Leles (Partnerships Associate, UNU-IAS) presented theoretical concepts related to the sustainable management of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes and the important role these areas play in facilitating the integration of urban and rural landscapes. Mr Leles noted that “the environmental dimension of urban-rural linkages is becoming increasingly important to attaining several SDGs. In this regard, landscape approaches, as promoted by the Satoyama Initiative, create the necessary framework to combine urban planning, green infrastructure, and sustainable agriculture in a way that favours the integration of urban and rural landscapes”.

Katie Chick (Assistant Director, Centre for Civil Society and Governance at the University of Hong Kong) presented the example of the Lai Chi Wo Rural Cultural Landscape in Hong Kong. “Lai Chi Wo shows how innovative approaches based on the principles of sustainable development can mutually reinforce the conservation of biodiversity and traditional knowledge in a rural landscape” she stressed.  

The workshop was part of the APAC Initiative for Regional Impact (AIRI) which aims to build a regional network of action-research institutions and leaders for enhancing rural sustainability in the Asia- Pacific region. The online workshop will be complemented by a field visit and in-person training on rural planning and management at the Lai Chi Wo, Mui Tsz Lam, and Kop Tong sites. The field visit will be held on 13 August 2022 for participants able to travel to Hong Kong. Fieldwork will be conducted in Cantonese supplemented with English. 

Tsunao Watanabe (Director, Secretariat of the Satoyama Initiative) noted that “the Satoyama Initiative is proud to be part of the AIRI Programme and contribute to strengthening an Asia-Pacific partnership for rural sustainability. We are glad to see our members flourishing and having an important impact on nature and culture conservation”. 

The AIRI programme  opened the application for the AIRI Urban-Rural Sustainability Fellowship 2022-23. The fellowship is a one-year incubation programme jointly organised by The University of Hong Kong, Tsinghua University, National Chengchi University, and Asian Institute of Technology. It aims to empower and connect graduate students, researchers, thought leaders and practitioners from across the Asia-Pacific region who aspire to be Change Fellows spearheading urban-rural integration and rural sustainability. 

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