Remarks by Minister Katsuhiko Takahashi,
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Side Event on Biodiversity and Development
During the Eighth OWG of the SDGs
3 February 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to deliver opening remarks, on behalf of the Government of Japan, as one of the organizers of today’s meeting “Why Biodiversity is Essential for Social and Economic aspects of Sustainable Development: Perspectives and Country experiences from developing and developed countries” here in New York during 8th Open Working Group of the SDGs.
First of all, I would like to express my great appreciation to our co-organizers, the Government of the Republic of Korea and IUCN. I also thank Mr. Dias, CBD Executive Secretary and its Secretariat for helping us to organize this event.
(Importance of Biodiversity in the Context of Sustainable Development)
Biodiversity plays a crucial role in our efforts to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication through ecosystem services such as the provision of food and water and disaster risk reduction. Biodiversity is a safeguard and insurance for the lives of the current and future generations.
The people of Japan rely greatly on the blessings of nature. The Great East Japan Earthquake, which struck Japan in 2011, reminded us of the massive power of nature, but at the same time, it reaffirmed how vital the blessings of forests and oceans are in our lives. I had the opportunity to talk with a Mr. Hatakeyama, an oyster fisherman in the region devastated by the earthquake and tsunami, who was recognized as a forest hero by the United Nations two years ago. He has been planting trees in the forest surrounding Kesennuma bay, where he cultivates oysters, to protect their natural habitat since twenty years ago. The bay was washed away by the tsunami that followed the earthquake, and his oyster farm was lost, but the tsunami also brought back with it fertile soil that accumulated in the sea in the past rapidly revived both the coastal forest on the land and oyster farming in the bay.
In the outcome document of the Rio+20 conference, The Future We Want, governments at the highest-level reaffirmed the “intrinsic value of biological diversity as well as the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic values of biological diversity and its critical role in maintaining ecosystems that provide essential services which are critical foundations for sustainable development and human well-being.”
They also recognized that the global loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems affect the overall well-being of people worldwide, including the present and future generations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
(Outcomes of COP10)
I am sure that all participants of today’s event share a common desire to achieve the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Our efforts towards these objectives have proceeded through the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the CBD, which was held in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010. I strongly believe that COP10 was a historical event, which produced several significant outcomes for the future of biodiversity.
One of the major achievements of COP10 was the adoption of the “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020”, or the so-called the “Aichi Biodiversity Targets”. The States Parties are expected to take action to achieve these targets.
In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution encouraging member countries to consider incorporating the Aichi Biodiversity Targets into both the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the process of establishing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are certain that the achievement of these targets will greatly contribute to sustainable development.
(Japan Biodiversity Fund)
Regarding the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Government of Japan reiterates its commitment to assist CBD Parties in adopting or revising their own national strategies and implementing them in the most effective manner. I am confident that the steady implementation of the decisions of COP10 will be ensured by capacity-building, the improvement of investigatory capabilities and the accumulation of scientific knowledge. Therefore, during COP10, the Environment Minister of Japan announced the “Japan Biodiversity Fund” amounting to 50 billion Japanese yen, which was established under the Secretariat of the CBD to support capacity building activities in developing countries in order to achieve the Aichi BiodiversityTargets. We believe that activities such as this will also contribute to sustainable development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Japan affirms that achieving sustainable development toward food security and inclusive green growth requires better integration of the management of land, forests, and water resources, while protecting biodiversity. In this context, Japan advocates the Satoyama Initiative, which promotes an ecosystem-centered approach to resource and ecosystem management, in collaboration with United Nations University. The International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative was launched at COP10 by a diverse coalition of 51 different organizations, and since then the partnership has grown to include 155 organizations around the world.
We believe biodiversity is one of the key components of achieving poverty eradication and sustainable development. CBD COP12, which will be held in Pyeong-chang, in the Republic of Korea in this October, will be an important milestone in our continuing discussion on this issue.
Last but not least, I sincerely hope that we will have a useful and productive discussion today.
Thank you very much for your attention.