Workshop announcement

Capacity Building Workshop on Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Conservation in Asia and the Pacific

Dates: 18 – 30 September 2016
Place: University of Tsukuba, Japan

View of the Ogimachi village, Historical villages of Shirakawa-go and Okayama World Heritage site

Organized by the World Heritage Studies and the Certificate Programme on Nature Conservation (CPNC) at the University of Tsukuba, in cooperation with UNESCO World Heritage Centre, IUCN, ICCROM and ICOMOS.

The purpose of the Capacity Building Workshops on Nature-Culture Linkages in Asia and the Pacific (CBWNCL) is to contribute to the World Heritage Capacity Building Programme led by ICCROM and IUCN, in consultation with ICOMOS and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, in developing new approaches towards integrated conservation of cultural and natural heritage. These workshops will explore nature-culture linkages with focus on theory and practice in Asia and the Pacific Region.

Each year, from 2016 to 2019, the series of workshops aims to deal with the general topic of Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Conservation. Heritage Conservation is an evolving practice, and one of the current debates focuses on identifying and recovering the connections between nature and culture sectors. This exchange has become instrumental for the interpretation, conservation and sustainable management of both natural and cultural heritage sites.

Visiting Japanese heritage sites will form a core component of the programme where participants will conduct practical work. Participants will be able to understand issues and explore approaches being adopted in the field.

Theme of CBWNCL 2016: Agricultural Landscapes
Agricultural landscapes have been defined in the context of the World Heritage List as testimonies of humanity’s interaction with the land, and as unique examples of coexistence and interaction between people and nature. These heritage landscapes are seen as representative of a rich cultural diversity, and in some cases of sustainable land-use systems and the evidence of human communities struggle for survival in extreme climatic and environmental conditions. However, agricultural landscapes, from the present and the past, only started to be recognized as holding Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) when the categories of organically evolved Cultural Landscapes were introduced in the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention in 1992.

Agricultural landscapes are areas where cultural and natural values are present and interrelated. Industrialization of agriculture has progressively transformed traditional agricultural systems replacing them with monoculture and large scale production. Nevertheless, according to research, traditional systems that have been continued show higher biological and cultural diversity. Agricultural landscapes are expressions of the interrelations between cultural and natural heritage.

Currently, there are several national and international initiatives for protecting or promoting the sustainable development of agricultural landscapes. Besides the World Heritage Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has favoured the initiation of a diversity of programmes for the conservation of biodiversity relating to agricultural landscapes. For example, the Satoyama Initiative launched by the Ministry of Environment of Japan and the United Nations University in 2010 focuses on these as socio-ecological systems, whose importance for the sustainable development of communities is in close relation to natural resources management. The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), a global initiative started by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2002, is concerned with the dynamic conservation of biodiversity through the preservation of traditional rural systems around the world. Furthermore, the European Landscape Convention adopted by the Council of Europe in 2000 promotes landscape management and planning at all levels, giving value to everyday landscapes due to their importance for local communities. Each of these initiatives approaches agricultural landscapes from diverse perspectives and value systems. Added to these diverse value systems, there is also the value system held by the human communities inhabiting these places, which maintain these landscapes.

In this first workshop, the interest lies in exploring the nature-culture linkages in agricultural landscapes and their implication in conservation approaches, specifically in the context of Asia and the Pacific region, where we address adequate regional management systems that integrate culture, nature and indigenous and local knowledge.


  • To strengthen theoretical knowledge on agricultural landscapes and their relevance in connecting conservation practices between natural and cultural heritage professionals.
  • To visit and exchange experiences with local managers and residents in areas/sites where agricultural landscapes are protected and conserved with different approaches, initiatives and governance systems.
  • To reflect on nature-culture linkages, natural values and cultural values in agricultural landscapes in general, and in their own sites/case studies in particular.
  • To establish networks among heritage practitioners in the region.

The workshop is an intensive programme combining theory and practice, through lectures, presentations and roundtables in Tsukuba at the University Campus, and a field trip to the World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in Gifu and Toyama prefectures, and to GIAHS and Satoyama Initiative projects in the Noto Peninsula, where participants will be in contact with local managers and local communities.

The workshop is open to 15 young professionals from Asia and the Pacific region involved in the management of cultural or natural heritage sites, or agricultural landscapes more specifically. Mid-career heritage practitioners with minimum 5 years experience in both natural and cultural heritage sectors who are currently engaged in managing or working with agricultural landscapes in particular, as well as natural heritage sites with cultural values and vice versa, are eligible to apply.

International and Japanese professionals and academics in the field of heritage conservation (nature and culture sectors).

Working language: English

Course Fee: Free

Travel, accommodation and living expenses
Organizers will cover the cost of accommodation and living expenses for the selected participants, and a limited number of scholarships will be available to cover the travel costs.

A certificate of attendance given by the University will be awarded to participants who satisfactorily complete the workshop.

Application Requirements
Guidelines for Applications (pdf)
Application Form

To apply
Applications should be e-mailed to
Please see the Guidelines for Application for more details.