Mr. HIDETOSHI UKITA
Representative of the Japanese Delegation
World Summit on Sustainable Development, Second Preparatory Session
31 January 2002
It is my pleasure to have this opportunity to share with you Japan's basic position on what the international community can hope to achieve in the area of sustainable development. My delegation would of course be happy to make a detailed intervention at a later stage on the report of the Secretary-General entitled "Implementing Agenda 21".
New challenge in the 21st century and a new vision
Japan succeeded in raising itself from the rubble of World War II within half a century. However, it has also experienced serious environmental pollution problems such as the destruction of air, land, and waterways caused by mass production, mass consumption, and mass disposal of waste. We have yet to completely overcome these problems, but with the benefit of the knowledge we have gained in tackling them, we can say that the environmental conservation and economic development are not mutually exclusive; they can be mutually reinforcing. Japan believes that the entire international community, while promoting sustainable development as its ultimate goal, should immediately strengthen its efforts, with both developed and developing countries taking on important responsibilities, with a view to realizing "the co-existence of environmental conservation and economic development" through the pursuit and application of innovative systems, technologies and ideas in the 21st century.
Proposals for future measures for sustainable development
In this connection, my delegation wishes to propose the following measures to create a society in which people can enjoy the benefits of sustainable development:
- (i) Expansion of economic activities that harmonize with nature
The mass production-and-consumption-oriented society has been imposing a huge burden on the environment. Therefore, first, we propose that countries strive to create a society that is energy-efficient and based on recycling. A recycling-based society can be realized by means of appropriate policy measures including maximum utilization of market mechanisms and creation of environment-related business.
- (ii) The utilization of scientific knowledge and technologies
Second, Japan encourages the full utilization of scientific knowledge and technologies. Innovative technologies would reduce environmental impact as well as production costs and would greatly improve the international competitiveness of industries and enterprises. In this connection, my Government intends to promote international joint research and development of such innovative technologies. My government also intends to promote international cooperation for joint observation and research on such themes as global climate change and the water cycle; as well as for dissemination of scientific knowledge for purposes of mitigating natural disasters and managing natural resources better.
- (iii) Measures for mega-city management
Third, measures to manage mega-city issues such as air pollution, traffic jams, and lack of water resources should be strengthened. Japan experienced rapid population growth in the 1960s and 1970s and has accumulated experience in this area. Early drafting of effective city plans and dispersing population through the development and promotion of local economies is of vital importance and, in cooperation with local governments, Japan intends to continue supporting the efforts of developing countries aimed at resolving mega-city issues.
- (iv) Assistance to developing countries
Fourth, it is important that the international community support the self-help efforts of developing countries toward sustainable development. Japan intends to continue its assistance to developing countries making efforts to this end. It has been carrying out environmental cooperation based on the "Initiative for Sustainable Development toward the 21st Century(ISD)," and it will continue providing support for technology transfer and capacity building in developing countries. Mutual cooperation among developing countries in the region expands the range of partnership in the development field and leads to the sharing experience among those facing similar problems. Efforts to share the experience of Asian countries with African countries should also be encouraged. My Government supports such South-South cooperation by supporting facilities that contribute to that end.
- (v) Environmental education
Fifth, environmental education for future generations is particularly important, and therefore programmes at school and in the private sector should be improved. In-situ experience-oriented education is especially effective. Through UNESCO and other international organizations, Japan continues to promote exchange of information on the content and means of providing education in the region.
- (vi) Sustainable management of natural resources
Sixth, sustainable resource management should be further promoted to realize sustainable utilization and preservation of natural and mineral resources as well as to solve food issues. In particular, the wisdom of Asia, which attaches importance to adaptation to the regional environment, should be utilized on a global scale.
Because of its concern that forest crimes such as inter alia, illegal logging threaten sustainable forest management, Japan welcomes the recent Ministerial declaration issued at the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance: East Asia Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, and also the decision taken by the recent Council of the ITTO to tackle these issues. Taking into account these new developments, Japan calls for all countries and relevant international organizations to take immediate action to tackle these problems.
In addition, bearing in mind that marine products are finite and renewable natural resources that can be of great benefit to humankind, we should appropriately manage and control them, taking into account the surrounding ecosystem and preventing marine pollution in all coastal areas. We should also take action to promote international cooperation to realize sustainable use of these resources in a manner consistent with the WTO agreement.
- (vii) Social issues
Seventh, we should deal appropriately with issues relating to water resources, food, disasters, and infectious disease. Sustainable water resources are indispensable to human existence, health, food production, and the preservation of ecological systems. It is clear that the time has come to discuss seriously, on the global level, effective use of our limited water resources and water-related disaster prevention. Japan intends to contribute to this end by hosting the Third Water Forum in 2003 to deal with the full range of water issues.
Infectious disease is not only a public health issue that poses a continuing threat to the people of developing countries; it also creates serious obstacles to the economic and social development of developing countries. In this regard, Japan intends to engage in cooperation with developing countries based on the Okinawa Initiative for Measures against Infectious Diseases, which was agreed upon at the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit held in 2000. Japan announced that it would contribute $200 million to help prepare for the establishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in January 2002.
As for the occurrence of disasters that deeply affect the environment, it is important to further strengthen cooperation among countries and to carry out measures for damage reduction and their prevention. Japan intends to support international cooperation in this field through joint research projects and the provision of various kinds of information including satellite and other observational data.
While it has been pointed out that over the medium and long term the food supply might become tight as the world population increases, it is of vital importance to practice sustainable agriculture to secure a stable supply of food and, at the same time, both to promote effective utilization of food-related resources and control food waste.
- (viii) Measures taken under global environment agreements
Eighth, many environmental agreements concering global warming, preservation of biodiversity, marine pollution, destruction of the ozone layer, desertification, transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, and POPs have been established and measures in these fields have been strengthened in the past decade.
In particular, Japan welcomes the agreement that was reached on detailed rules for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol at COP7 in Marrakech in November 2001. We should aim at the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. In order to ensure the effectiveness of measures taken against global warming, it is important that all countries act under a single regime, and Japan will continue its maximum efforts to that end.
In putting environmental agreements into effect, their relation to trade rules should be fully discussed. Policy on trade and environment and on promoting sustainable development should be mutually supportive. Furthermore we should utilize the experience and analytical products of international organizations such as OECD and World Bank as we strive to promote global cooperation under environmental agreements.
- (ix) Strengthened measures in regions and sub-regions
Ninth, every country in every region and sub-region should cooperate in its efforts to strengthen measures against problems that go beyond national borders such as air and marine pollution. Since problems such as air and marine pollution not only impede the development of every country concerned but also adversely affect other countries in the region, it is essential that measures be worked out at the regional and sub-regional level. Finally, it would be useful to extend measures that have already been agreed upon and implemented at various levels within a given region and sub-region to global issues.
- (x) Strengthened collaboration with enterprises and NGOs
Last of all, Japan welcomes the strengthening of the partnership with NGOs and enterprises. It is important that all stakeholders, including governments at both the national and local level, enterprises, and civil society cooperate closely to achieve sustainable development. In particular, since many business enterprises and NGOs possess professional and practical technology and know-how, they will play an important role in promoting positive changes in society by effectively combining their activities with those of national and local government.
Japan's determination for the future and its appeal to the international community
The realization of sustainable development and sustainable utilization and management of resources is a matter of life or death for Japan, which has few of its own resources that it can use and thus is heavily dependent upon other countries. Japan is determined to make every effort to contribute to the realization of sustainable development in collaboration with all its partners around the world.