Mr. Masashi Mizukami
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
On Item 95, "Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programmes for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and outcomes of the World Summit of Sustainable Development",
Item 96, "United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development", and
Item 94(d), "Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States"
20 October 2003
Japan puts great emphasis on taking concrete action to implement the outcome of the World Summit for Sustainable Development, not only its Plan of Implementation, but also Type-II and other individual initiatives.
At the Third World Water Forum held in Kyoto in March 2003, more than 2400 participants from 82 countries and regions came together to engage in a vigorous discussion of water issues. Of especial note was the adoption at the Ministerial Conference held on that occasion of an action-oriented Ministerial declaration called "Message from the Lake Biwa and Yodo River Basin," which was reported to the General Assembly as official document A/57/785. The ministerial conference also made public a "Portfolio of Water Actions," identifying 501 projects being tackled by 43 countries and 18 international organizations, and a network of websites established at the conference began operation in May under the provisional directorship of the Government of Japan, with the goal of accelerating the speed with which each water-related action was being pursued. Now the Government of Japan is discussing with relevant international organizations how to effect the full-fledged operation of the network.
Furthermore, this year Japan launched its own initiative, namely "Japan's ODA Initiative on Water" and took the leading role in formulating the "Plan of Action" at the G8 Summit in Evian, and participated actively in the Dushanbe International Fresh Water Forum. We will continue to make every effort together with other countries to ensure the success of the various activities aimed at following up the WSSD.
Regarding agenda item 96, I would like to call attention to the action taken by the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session last year, on the recommendation from the WSSD and adoption by consensus with overwhelming support of a resolution entitled "United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development," proposed by Japan with 45 co-sponsors.
In consequence, during the ten-year period extending from 1 January 2005 to the end of the year 2015 efforts will be made to promote the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, or DESD. The resolution also requested the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to serve as the lead-agency, and in that capacity to prepare a draft international implementation scheme. UNESCO accepted the request, and its Executive Committee adopted a biannual plan for preparations for DESD in April.
We are informed that the UNESCO Secretariat has already produced a draft of the implementation scheme, and it has been circulated among the various stakeholders as a step towards finalizing it. UNESCO also hosted the first inter-agency meeting in September, inviting ten international institutions active in the field to attend. We must express our appreciation to UNESCO, which has already begun working actively to send the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development off to a good start on 1 January 2005.
In order to maintain our momentum towards 2005, we would like to prepare another draft resolution this year in consultation with other delegations. The main section of this resolution again expresses our appreciation to UNESCO for its work as lead-agency, requests that it complete a draft international implementation scheme, reaffirms the elements that are to be included in the formulation of the goal of DESD, and invites governments to take measures conforming to local conditions and needs to implement the Decade.
My delegation strongly hopes that, as was the case last year, this resolution will be adopted by consensus with the understanding and broad support of both developing and developed countries, all regional groups, and an even greater number of international agencies in the field.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to report some initiatives taken by Japan and cooperative activity taking place in the Asia and Pacific region to follow up the work of the WSSD.
First, at the Third Japan-PIF Summit Meeting (PALM 2003) held in May in Okinawa, the "Okinawa Initiative," which consists of a regional development strategy for "a More Prosperous and Safer Pacific" and an action plan, was adopted. It is expected to contribute to further discussion on the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States next year.
Second, in July the Japanese Diet adopted legislation entitled "Act for promotion of efforts to preserve the environment and enhance environmental education." This law makes it possible to strengthen the basis for Japan to promote environmental education not only among national and regional governments, but also in the private sector and civil society.
Third, an Asian regional meeting to address environmental education will be held in Japan some time in the first half of next year as part of the "Prime Mover Project in the framework of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD)."