The Symposium, an activity of the World EXPO 2005 in Aïchi, Japan has opened today at the United Nations University, Tokyo, and will continue until 2 June. It aims to highlight the interrelationship between the natural and cultural diversity of our planet. Bringing culture and nature closer together in a comprehensive approach, the symposium will present case studies on sacred natural sites and associative cultural landscapes from the world over.

Conservation and water experts, anthropologists, ecologists and government officials, representatives of indigenous and local communities will exchange information and views on how to conserve and manage sites which often have highly symbolic and cultural significance and scenic beauty, and on how to prevent adverse impacts on the traditional knowledge and lifestyles of indigenous and local communities concerned. Guidelines on the conservation and management of such sites will then be elaborated.

The Symposium was organized by UNESCO and UNU, in partnership with IUCN, the Secretariat of the CBD, the Secretariat of the UN permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (SPFII) and FAO.