Statement by Ambassador Takahiro Shinyo
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
On Agenda Item 54: Sustainable Development

30 October 2007

Madam Chair,

The idea of sustainable development has increased in importance as we have striven to promote both environmental protection and economic growth. Today I would like to briefly touch upon several issues on which Japan places emphasis.

Climate change is an imminent and multifaceted challenge to life on this planet, and if we are to meet it, concerted action is needed. Japan accordingly appreciates the initiative taken by the Secretary-General in holding the High-Level Event on Climate Change. I believe all Member States were encouraged by the political will expressed there as the Bali meeting in December draws closer. Japan is also pleased that the President of the General Assembly has chosen to focus on climate change as one of the key issues to be addressed by the General Assembly at the current session. Japan will strongly support his initiative to try to find a way for the UN system and Member States to move forward and address our common challenge.

I would like to mention a few key points to keep in mind as we address the subject of climate change.

First of all, to be effective, a post-2012 framework must have the participation of all major emitters. To that end, it needs to be a flexible and diverse framework, one that takes into consideration the circumstances of each country. It must also promote both environmental protection and economic growth.

Second, we must begin immediately to adapt to climate change because it is posing serious impacts on this planet and humankind right now. It is especially important that we take action in the areas of disaster risk reduction and preparedness. We simply must increase the resilience of communities as they are increasingly exposed to extreme weather. In this regard, the Hyogo Framework for Action, which was adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe in 2005, provides us with useful guidelines. We should all align our activities with it. Japan is also encouraged by the establishment of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which had been convened in June of this year in order to strengthen the mechanism for promoting the implementation of the HFA.

Third, we must support vulnerable countries, particularly the small island developing states and least developing countries, which have contributed least to climate change but are vulnerable and the most seriously affected. To that end, Japan will create a new financial mechanism to extend support to those developing countries that stand ready to coordinate their policies actively in response to Japan's proposal. Japan will pay special attention to developing countries, and in particular, those are exposed to dangers such as submersion of land and desertification as a result of emissions by other countries.

Fourth, minimizing emissions from deforestation is vitally important for mitigation. Adequate land-use management should be promoted, and in this regard, initiatives such as the Non Legally Binding Instrument on Forests, agreed at UNFF7 in April, need to be implemented appropriately. We are also willing to cooperate in the fight against illegal logging that has been discussed in meetings of the G8 and other fora, and we are prepared to address the issue of deforestation at the upcoming COP13 in Bali.

Madam Chair,

International Environmental Governance (IEG) is crucial to our efforts to effectively address the growing environmental problems we face. Japan appreciates all the work that is being done by the Co-Chairs for the Informal Consultations on IEG, Ambassador Heller of Mexico and Ambassador Maurer of Switzerland. We will continue to join in constructive discussions on how to find the most effective mechanism for advancing UN environmental activities. Japan would also like to express its appreciation to the Government of Brazil for having convened the Ministerial Meeting on International Governance for Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in September.

As it made clear in the previous informal consultation, Japan is in total agreement on the need for closer coordination among international environmental actors to ensure that all relevant UN programmes have their full effect. We need to take action in earnest to ensure the rationalization and streamlining of UN functions and increase the effectiveness and coherence of UN environmental activities.

Madam Chair,

Let me take this opportunity to express my delegation's gratitude for the support and cooperation extended to Japan by Member States at the sixty-first session of the General Assembly in connection with the decision to declare 2008 the International Year of Sanitation.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide that by 2015 the nations of the world should halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Progress towards meeting that target has been slow and, frankly, inadequate. More action, concerted and global, is urgently needed. In 2008, we will be at a critical juncture in our efforts to make headway in this area. To help determine how dire our situation is, the 16th session of Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD16) will conduct a comprehensive review of the progress made in implementing policy decisions on water and sanitation. For its part, Japan would like to encourage all Member States, relevant organizations, and stakeholders to take advantage of the Year to increase awareness and promote action at all levels.

Madam Chair,

Promoting education, public awareness, and training is vitally important to achieving sustainable development. At its fifty-seventh session, the General Assembly decided to proclaim the years 2005-2014 the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UN/DESD), and it invited governments to consider the inclusion of measures to implement the Decade in their respective educational strategies and action plans. In March 2006, Japan announced its own Action Plan for DESD, and the projects that are based on it are now under way all over the country. Here too, Japan would like to encourage Member States to take advantage of the Decade to promote education and public awareness for sustainable development.

Before concluding, I would like to mention that Japan has already declared its intention to host the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010, in the city of Nagoya. We hope that it will be formally endorsed at COP 9 next year. We will make every effort to ensure its success.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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