Side event details
Agriculture has historically provided a stable food supply for people, however, changes in the use of land, modifications to farmland, and contamination derived from farmland have caused a significant negative impact on wetland ecosystems. This is no exception to rice paddies widely distributed in Asia and around the world. On the other hand, rice paddies, which are recognized as agricultural land with wetland functions, if properly managed, can become not only a place for food production, but also an important wetland ecosystem where a wide variety of living organisms including migratory and non-migratory birds could thrive.
Under these circumstances, Resolution X.31 “Enhancing biodiversity in rice paddies as wetland systems (the ‘Rice Paddy Resolution’)” jointly submitted by governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea was adopted at Ramsar COP10 in 2008. This helped to increase the international recognition and value of rice paddies as wetland ecosystems.
These human-made wetlands also serve the function of storing heavy rainfall for a short period of time, and the water covering the rice paddies is believed to curb the temperature rise in the region. Furthermore, in recent years, the Global Wetland Outlook (GWO) 2018 and 2021, as well as various other international frameworks have identified that strengthening policies and undertaking coordinated actions by agriculture, water, and wetland sectors are essential. A shift to sustainable and nature positive agriculture is needed.
Since July 2009, the government and NGOs based in Japan have held regular meetings called the ‘Informal Civil-Government Meetings for the Implementation of the Rice Paddy Resolution’ in the hope of enhancing biodiversity in rice paddies, contributing to the mainstreaming of biodiversity in agriculture.
As for recent initiatives by the government, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has promoted the implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and is to revise the Plan according to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) formulated the Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems, MeaDRI (Measures for achievement of Decarbonization and Resilience with Innovation) in May 2021, and enacted the Law to implement the strategy in July 2022. In accordance with the MeaDRI strategy, MAFF is reviewing its biodiversity strategy to promote the sustainable development of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and food industries, and encourage sound economic development with low impact on the natural environment.
Farmers and NGOs are engaged in agricultural land management in an environmentally friendly manner as indicated in the ‘Winter-flooded Rice Paddies’ initiative for instance, and the distribution of agricultural products with low chemical fertilizers and pesticides has also been promoted. Public-private partnership efforts relating to the ‘Rice Paddy Resolution’ have been further activated in the country.
The purpose of this side event is to introduce the challenges and accomplishments associated with sustainable agricultural practices in rice paddies in Japan. Referring to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)'s efforts to address biodiversity in agricultural wetlands, it aims to prevent the deterioration of rice paddy ecosystems, promote the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, and protect waterfowl, leading Contracting Parties and relevant organizations to the next wetland action.
Rice Paddy Resolution and Japan's National Biodiversity Strategy
- Ms. Kaoru SAKAI, Assistant Director, Wildlife Division, Nature Conservation Bureau, Ministry of the Environment, Japan
Green Food System Strategy - Ms. Satsuki_FURUBAYASHI, Assistant Director, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Ikimono mark Rice - Mr. Atsushi TANAKA, Chief Researcher, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Rice Paddy Management in Republic of Korea - Ms. Byounghun YU (Deputy Director) & Mr. Joon-woo SEO (International Cooperation Officer, presenter),
Nature and Ecology Policy Division, Ministry of Environment Republic of Korea
Rice-paddy Biocultural-diversity Enhancement Decade 2030 and Realization of the Rice Field Resolution
- Mr. Yutaka KANAI, Representative Director, Ramsar network Japan
About 10 years of efforts from registration - Mr. Masatomi ASANO, Watarase Reservoir Conservation and Utilization Council, Chairman (Mayor of Oyama City)
Enhancing multi-functional roles of paddy fields - Lessons leant from Sri Lanka and Zambia
- Dr. Lifeng LI, Director of Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)