STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR KENZO OSHIMA
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL OPEN DEBATE
ON ENERGY, SECURITY AND CLIMATE
17 APRIL 2007
I would like to begin by thanking you and the delegation of the UK for the important initiative you have taken of organizing this timely debate on the security implications of climate change and global warming, and I thank you as well for the excellent concept paper that was presented.
We are aware that this is the first time that the Security Council has held a thematic debate on this topic. Scientists and economists around the world have once again -- more clearly and convincingly than ever before -- drawn our attention to what is, without a doubt, one of the most imminent, serious, and multifaceted risks and challenges confronting all of humanity. With the rapid advances that have been made in research on climate change and its impact on the global ecosystem, and with the facts and prognosis that have been presented to us by the IPCC, the Stern Review team, and many others, not only would it be foolhardy but also highly irresponsible if we failed to move on from discussing science to practical planning, strategizing and taking action.
It is clear that climate change can pose threats to national security, including those discussed in the UK concept paper. National security has been threatened by conflicts over claims to land and natural resources since ancient times. In the foreseeable future climate change in all its manifestations may well create conditions or induce circumstances that could precipitate or aggravate international conflicts, and therefore it has serious potential national and international security implications.
Also, as noted in the recent IPCC report and other authoritative studies, global warming will generate conditions and circumstances that can impact negatively on development and poverty reduction strategies in a variety of ways. Food production may be affected, natural disasters increased in number and intensified, the supply of fresh water diminished, and infectious diseases become more rampant, and so forth. Clearly, the implications for human security would also be quite serious.
As projected, it is the poor and the weakest of countries and societies that are most vulnerable to the onslaught. The projected rises in sea levels pose an immediate threat to the survival of small island developing states and lowland areas. We must acknowledge the linkages between the new emerging global phenomenon, sustainable development, and poverty reduction strategies.
Climate change is a global challenge, and meeting it will require a global response: the concerted efforts of the international community on a number of fronts. And in this, the UN not only should continue to play a leading role but also a stronger one, by involving all relevant organs and bodies in the system, including the Security Council, as relevant to their respective mandates, because doing so is essential for system-wide coherence on the issue.
Among the many challenges and issues we face, I would like to note here without going into detail, three that require our urgent attention -- that in fact require that we mobilize.
The first is the overriding importance of controlling greenhouse gas emissions and creating an effective post-Kyoto framework. It is of the utmost importance that the maximum number of countries responsible for any significant emissions linked to global warming participate in this effort -- and I am speaking of developed and developing countries alike. Currently, only about 30 percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions are covered by the parties to the Kyoto protocol. This is grossly and dangerously inadequate. According to an International Energy Agency report, emissions of CO2 by developing countries reached 40 percent of global emissions of the total in 2004, and if the current trend continues, by around 2015 the overall total of emissions from developing countries will overtake that of OECD countries. In our view, any new post-Kyoto arrangement must seek to enable all countries to cut emissions according to their ability and thus maximize emission controls on a truly global basis, the goal being to halve the level of total emissions as soon as possible. In doing so, we must acknowledge the close linkages that exist between development strategy and climate change strategy.
In this connection, let me mention that on the occasion of the visit by the Premier of China, Mr. Wen Jiabao, to Japan last week, Japan and China issued a statement on the further enhancement of cooperation in the area of environmental protection. In it, they shared the view to work together on the issue under discussion:
"Under the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, both sides reaffirm their political resolve to engage in efforts towards the resolution of climate change issues through international cooperation, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities."
"Both sides will actively participate in the process towards the construction of an effective beyond 2012 framework, based on the principles and regulations set forth in the above mentioned Convention and Protocol...."
The second challenge is supporting the development and use of clean energy, including nuclear or renewable energy and new, effective energy-saving technology. This is obviously an essential part of any effort to reduce the level of greenhouse gases. Cooperation and exchanges on such technology at all levels -- bilateral, regional and international -- should be strengthened. And UN agencies have an important role to play here, including facilitation of the transfer of advanced clean energy and energy-saving technology to developing countries, which should be encouraged in any way possible.
The third challenge, related but no less important, is the issues regarding "adaptation", namely, preventing, mitigating and adapting to the negative effects of climate change, especially those arising from natural disasters. The Stern Review says "The benefits of strong, early action considerably outweigh the costs." Such action needs to be taken now, because we cannot ignore the fact that global warming, with all its potential harmful consequences, is here to stay and will get worse before it can get better. Governments have set out what needs to be done to reduce vulnerabilities and disaster risks in the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, agreed at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Hyogo, Japan, in January 2005. Governments need to take urgent action to simultaneously reduce the emissions causing climate change and adapt to the changes that are unavoidable by implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action.
In order to deal with these and other issues surrounding climate change and global warming, it is time that Member States take a look at how comprehensively -- or how inadequately -- the UN system is equipped. We welcome the intention of Secretary-General Ban to make climate change one of his priorities. Indeed we shall welcome any initiative that he takes that helps to strengthen the UN's role and enhance its agenda in this area. To that end, I would like to propose that the Secretary-General be requested, perhaps not by this Council but more appropriately by the General Assembly, to make a report with recommendations at the earliest possible date on how best the UN system as a whole can organize itself to strengthen its capacity so that it will be able to address this matter more effectively and coherently. The report should address such questions as the role and function of the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), which is responsible for coordination of disaster prevention and mitigation.
Before concluding, I would like to state that Japan is strongly resolved to continue its active engagement in all international efforts on climate change-related issues, both in the UN and outside it, including negotiations for a new, post-Kyoto greenhouse gas emissions regime.
Climate change will be one of the main themes at this year's G8 summit to be held in Germany, and it is expected to remain high on the agenda next year, when Japan will be hosting the G8 summit in 2008.
In its bilateral and multilateral development cooperation and partnership arrangements with countries of Asia-Pacific, including the Pacific Island Forum (PIF), Africa, CARICOM, and others, Japan has given high priority to projects and programs aimed at preventing, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change. In the future, it will give them even more attention. Allow me to say a few words about the form such cooperation and partnership has taken, or will take in the future:
- Japan established the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, together with the US, China, India, the Republic of Korea, and Australia;
- At the 2nd East Asia Summit at Cebu in Philippines, Prime Minister Abe announced Japan's cooperation initiative for clean energy and sustainable growth for East Asia region.
- Japan has promoted the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process, which has given greater attention to issues of energy and environment as well as adaptation to the effects of global warming, in the context of sustainable development in Africa by holding a Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in March;
- Japan attaches high priority to disaster prevention, especially the steps proposed in the Hyogo Framework of Action, and it supports the ISDR;
- It also contributes to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank through the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).
- Finally, we continue to be closely involved in programs that focus on water and sanitation, including through our participation in bilateral aid programs and the UN Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation.
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