Environmental Conservation Initiative for Sustainable Development

August 2002

1. Japan's Environmental ODA and EcoISD

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, the seriousness of environmental issues was globally recognized. Since then, many countries and institutions have tackled these problems through various projects. However, the global trend of environmental degradation is still continuing. i Global environmental issues have serious adverse effects on sustainable development, and it is beyond the reach of individual nations to resolve them by themselves. Thus, Japan affirms again that environmental conservation, especially at a global level, should be positively promoted through joint efforts by both developed and developing countries. Furthermore, Japan reaffirms that environmental problems should be solved steadily by implementing not only individual environmental measures but also comprehensive measures from a long-term standpoint of building such social systems so as to enable "sustainable development." Reviewing current socio-economic structures from the viewpoint of "sustainable development" is crucial for developing such social systems.

Environmental issues in developing countries are critical problems because they threaten to seriously damage not only developing countries themselves, but also the entire international community, including Japan. Recognizing this, Japan has placed importance on the promotion of environmental measures through its Official Development Assistance (ODA). At the UNCED, Japan announced its intention to substantially enhance and increase its ODA in the environmental field, in order to contribute to the realization of "sustainable development." This assistance was originally planned to be on a scale of 900 billion to 1 trillion yen during the five-year period from fiscal year 1992. Subsequently, Japan made considerable efforts in this field, which include holding more substantive environmental policy dialogues with developing countries. As a result, the total assistance provided by Japan from fiscal years 1992 to 1996 was about 1,440 billion yen, exceeding the initial target by more than 40 percent. Moreover, in order to further enhance its environmental cooperation mainly through ODA, Japan made public at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Environment and Development (UNGASS) in 1997, its "Initiatives for Sustainable Development towards the 21st Century (ISD)," which summed up the basic philosophy of Japan's environmental cooperation and program of action as pillars for Japan's cooperation. Since then, Japan has undertaken various activities based on this policy.

Japan supports developing countries in various fields in order to achieve three main targets related to environmental conservation: to deal with environmental pollution arising from economic growth; to eradicate poverty, which is one of main causes of environmental depletion; and to cope with global environmental issues. In order to achieve these targets, Japan supports developing countries, based on their ownership, to tackle various problems such as air and water pollution, waste management, energy saving, water supply and sewage systems, nature conservation, flood control, and system- and institution-building. Japan is convinced that these environmental ODA efforts will play an increasingly important role in resolving environmental issues.

Since the ISD was announced five years ago, the international environmental movement has continued to be active. For instance, the international community is devoting itself to ensuring the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol of UNFCCC, which would be a strong tool for coping with global warming. Also, there is growing concern over the "Water" issue. In addition, the situation surrounding Japan's ODA has been drastically changing due to Japan's current harsh economic and financial climate. Taking these into account, Japan will continue to positively extend environmental cooperation, mainly through its ODA, in order to support sustainable development in the world. For this purpose, Japan is issuing its Environmental Conservation Initiative for Sustainable Development (EcoISD), replacing the current ISD, so as to carry out more effective and efficient environmental cooperation.

2. Philosophy of EcoISD

(1) Human Security:

Environmental problems threaten the survival of human beings, so it is important to tackle them from the viewpoint of human security. ii

(2) Ownership & Partnership:

In order to resolve environmental problems in developing countries, it is vitally important that they assume primary responsibility and role for tackling such problems through their own ownership and that the various stakeholders in the international community work together in a spirit of partnership.

(3) Pursuit of Environmental Conservation & Development:

Promoting sustainable development through the pursuit of environmental conservation and development is a global concern. In order to facilitate the pursuit of environment conservation and development in developing countries, it is extremely important that developed countries provide support for the necessary environmental considerations iii in development, and extend cooperation for environmental protection, taking into account the different economic and social conditions of each country concerned.

3. Principles of Environmental Cooperation

Japan will carry out its cooperation in the environmental field in accordance with the basic principles described below, in addition to the above-mentioned philosophy of EcoISD as well as the principles governing Japan's ODA as a whole, such as the promotion of policy dialogues with developing countries, ensuring cooperation through a combination of "hard" cooperation (infrastructure building and equipment provision) and "soft" cooperation (human resources development) that are based on the development stage of each developing country, and support for South-South cooperation.

(1)Capacity development in environment iv

In order to enhance the comprehensive capacity of organizations and people to deal with problems concerning the environment, Japan will promote human resources development in developing countries, including building the capacities of technologies relating to environment, as well as provide cooperation for institution-building and equipment provision. To help developing countries develop their own capacities, Japan will select projects for its cooperation from a long-term perspective, and promote cooperation which attaches particular importance to the process of capacity building, such as the participation of stakeholders both in the decision making on priority-setting and on target projects as well as in the implementation of projects, joint efforts to enhance their implementing abilities, and the promotion of environmental education for raising peoples' awareness of environmental problems.

(2) Active integration of environmental considerations

Japan will make efforts to help promote the integration of poverty reduction and environmental conservation by incorporating environmental considerations into all development plans and programmes, and to address environmental problems in developing countries by supporting projects in which appropriate environmental considerations are fully taken into account.

(3) Japan's leading role

Even though developing countries have a substantial need for assistance in the environmental sector, they tend to put a higher priority on development projects, and therefore local needs in the environmental sector are not reflected in specific project proposals. For this reason, Japan will promote the giving of incentives for environmental conservation and the raising of environmental awareness, through policy dialogues, various forums, and other appropriate cooperation schemes.

(4) Cooperation under broad and comprehensive frameworks

In order to solve regional and global environmental problems, Japan will implement its cooperation in this field based on broad and comprehensive frameworks, which synthesize various cooperation methods effectively. One example is the combination of cooperation in which support measures are provided intensively in one particular place, such as the centre approach v and the model approach, vi and those that are provided for wider regions.

(5) Application of Japanese experience and scientific knowledge

Japan's post experiences in overcoming environmental problems as well as valuable know-how in coping with recent complex environmental issues, have been accumulated by a broad range of stakeholders, including local governments and private enterprises. Also, scientific knowledge on pollution monitoring, data-analysis, counter-approaches, etc., which Japan has accumulated to date, could play a large role in resolving environmental problems in developing countries. Based on this standpoint, Japan will positively promote collaboration between ODA and other cooperation in these fields carried out by international organizations, local governments, private sector, NGOs, and others.

4. Action Plans (Japan's International Environmental Cooperation mainly through ODA)

Based on the philosophy and principles mentioned above, Japan will implement the following cooperation actions in the four priority areas below:

(1) Efforts to Address Global Warming;
(2) Pollution Control;
(3) Fresh Water Issues; and
(4) Conservation of Natural Environment.

(1) Efforts to Address Global Warming

The problems presented by global warming affect all countries throughout the world, regardless of whether a country is developed or developing, and cannot be solved solely through the efforts of developed countries. In order to strengthen international efforts to address this issue, Japan ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in June 2002, prior to other major parties. Also, in March 2002, the cabinet revised the "Guideline of Measures to Prevent Global Warming." According to this new guideline, Japan will continuously and positively assist efforts by developing countries to tackle this issue, through the utilization of ODA and other means, including the implementation of the "Kyoto Initiative." vii

In order to encourage developing countries to address this issue, Japan will implement the following measures: to integrate the issue of global warming into sustainable development; to raise awareness that the problem of global warming can undermine the sustainable development of developing countries; to transfer and spread to other developing countries technologies related to countermeasures against global warming; and to enhance the capacity to address this issue from scientific, social, and systemic perspectives. A particular priority will be placed on pursuing measures in the Asian region, in which rapid economic development is expected over the short term.

Japan will:

  • continue support based on the "Kyoto Initiative;"
  • encourage experts in environmental fields, who are dispatched to developing countries where the rapid increase in the emission of greenhouse gases is expected, to engage in educational activities on global warming for raising public awareness on this issue;
  • ascertain the needs of developing countries regarding countermeasures against global warming through political dialogues and research, and strengthen project formulation capabilities on this issue, emphasizing policies and programmes;
  • build capacity and related means to encourage developing countries to participate in the clean development mechanism (CDM) viii of the Kyoto Protocol; and
  • implement ODA projects as CDM projects, on the premise of the agreement of recipient countries.

(2) Pollution Control

Japan will, by utilizing its past experiences, prioritize its support to measures to control pollution and improve living environment in urban areas, such as control on air & water pollution and waste management, mainly in the Asian region where economies are rapidly growing.
In order to increase the effectiveness of these measures, it is crucial to combine effective enforcement of regulation and technological and financial incentives. Thus, Japan will promote projects in this area, ensuring the effectiveness of enforcement by the recipient country through policy dialogues.

Japan will:

  • strengthen the capability of developing countries through environment centres (in Thailand, Indonesia, China, Egypt, Mexico, and Chilli). Enhance collaboration between these centres, and as required, support South-South cooperation, thereby strengthening the capacity of neighbouring countries;
  • support the promotion of the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia(EANET); ix
  • promote dissemination of technology and know-how through institution-building funded by the Green Aid Plan (GAP); x
  • by utilizing yen loans and other means, implement countermeasures to clean up sources of pollution like factories while introducing Win-Win approaches including Cleaner Production; xi
  • support the activities of local governments in these fields, taking into account the basic idea presented in the Kitakyushu Initiative; xii
  • develop and transfer low-cost and easy to handle technologies appropriate to the realities of developing countries, and support human resources development in developing countries necessary for technology transfer as well as the building of technical bases that are required for capacity building on engineering, waste management and recycling, among others; and
  • support the construction and improvement of environmentally friendly urban transportation systems xiii to reduce air pollution in large cities.

(3) Fresh Water Issues

In some developing countries, people do not have access to safe drinking water, so the resulting reliance on the use of contaminated groundwater leads to the spread of ill health. Moreover, the improper management of water for agricultural use, which constitutes a large share of the demand for water, causes salt accumulation that results in the reduction of the productivity of farmlands.

In many cases, causes of water pollution are the contamination of original sources by household and industrial drainage. The lack of water and sewerage systems causes the contamination of water sources by unprocessed sewage in developing countries. Solving these water problems requires the implementation of both water and sewage programs that take into account the characteristics of the recipient country's urban and rural areas. Providing safe drinking water can yield very substantial benefits for the protection of people's health, including the protection against infectious diseases. Reflecting strong demands of developing countries for support to this area, Japan will provide focused and efficient cooperation to this end.

Furthermore, aside from the provision of "hard" cooperation previously mentioned, Japan will promote "soft" cooperation for water resource management and water quality control, which is also important. Such support includes those in the areas of effective administration methods for improving and maintaining water quality, such as the enforcement of regulations for preventing water contamination, monitoring of water quality, development of countermeasures against groundwater contamination, including those for research on groundwater contamination and for purification, raising public awareness through environmental education, and the sharing of scientific knowledge.

In addition, as Japan will hold the 3rd World Water Forum in March 2003, and it would be of great significance for Japan to promote its cooperation in this field and thus to encourage the strengthening of efforts by the entire international community.

Japan will:

  • support the sustainable supply of safe drinking water and the development of sanitary sewerage systems, promote model projects on water resource development, including of groundwater supplies, and facilitate the dissemination of those models to neighbouring countries;
  • support capacity building for proper water resource management, including the promotion of maintenance and management in collaboration with NGOs, the establishment of operation systems by local residents, and the promotion of technical cooperation taking into account the important role of women;
  • with regard to water for agriculture, implement cooperation with the participation of local people by utilising Japan's experiences, based on the recognition that cooperation is required for the introduction of proper irrigation and drainage technology and maintenance methods, in order to increase food production and promote sustainable natural resource management;
  • promote cooperation in the area of water mentioned in the Tokyo Agenda for Action adopted at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development II (TICAD II); and
  • continue providing support, through UNESCO, for efforts to create databases on the estimated fresh water supplies by country and to build human capacities in developing countries, both of which are being undertaken through the implementation of the World Water Assessment Programme. xiv

(4) Conservation of Natural Environment

Many developing countries enjoy natural environments that have the world's richest biodiversity, many of which are quite important for maintaining the world ecosystem. However, not a few developing countries are unable to properly conserve their natural environments or manage their natural resources on their own, because of the severity of their social, economic, and technological conditions. In addition, many local residents depend on natural resources for their living, so it is important that conservation methods should be compatible with poverty reduction efforts. Moreover, Japan has newly begun international cooperation aiming at global biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources under the new national biodiversity strategy of Japan, which was approved by Japan's Council of Ministries for Global Environment Conservation in March 2002, based on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Japan will provide support to developing countries in the areas of nature reserves management, forest-related issues, prevention of desertification, and natural resources management.

Japan will:

  • support comprehensive programmes to strengthen various administrative functions, from research to conservation and the management of parks and nature reserves where wild life is present, in order to conserve natural environments which have rich biodiversity;
  • extend technology transfers for research and education at the Palau International Coral Reef Centre, which is the base for coral reef conservation in the Pacific Ocean area, in order to promote research, conservation activities, as well as education on coral reefs and surrounding ecosystems, under the International Coral Reef Initiative;
  • promote sustainable forest management in cooperation with NGOs, international organizations, and others in light of the importance of forests, which play various functions, such as biodiversity conservatory, reservoir and timber production, as well as serve as a basis for human life. Regarding issues requiring international partnerships, like illegal logging, Japan will promote measures in concert with related countries and organizations, such as promoting Asia Forest Partnership (AFP) xv and contributing continuously to the activities of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO);
  • support the establishment of environmentally sound and sustainable agricultural policies, and promote activities like social forestry and afforestation, which involve both local communities and local governments, in view of the fact that social, economic, and policy factors, such as poverty and land-use policies, are behind many cases of natural environmental degradation, such as deforestation and forest degradation, and the spread of desertification;
  • continue cooperation on efforts towards the promotion of sustainable natural resources management, including human resources development for ecosystem conservation in the Asia-Pacific region xvi implemented by UNESCO; and
  • in order that developing countries can formulate and implement environment conservation policiesx vii based on precise scientific data and information, such as monitoring results and predictions on global environmental changes like deforestation, desertification, and dust and sandstorms in North-East Asia, support measures for disseminating technologies on a global monitoring system, environment assessment and prediction, and effective policy measures, and for establishing early warning systems.

5. New Efforts by Japan

The following are new efforts by Japan concerning the environmental sector.

(1) Human resources development for 5000 persons in the environmental field

For the enhancement of capacity to address environmental issues in developing countries, Japan will provide support for human resources development totaling 5000 persons in this field over a five-year period from FY 2002.

(2) Yen loans with the concessional terms

In order to provide incentives to global environment conservation, Japan will continue to provide yen loans with the most concessional terms for projects in environmental fields.

(3) Enhanced grant aid for global environment

Japan will enhance its grant aid for projects aimed at resolving global environmental issues, such as those for forest conservation and afforestation, utilization of alternative and renewable energy sources, reduction of air and water pollution, protection of rich natural environment, and conservation of biodiversity in developing countries.

(4) Promotion of wide-ranging cooperation with international organizations

Japan will promote projects in cooperation with international organizations, such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), xviii the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), the Trust Fund for the Capacity-building of Human Resources established in UNESCO, and other organizations.

(5) Evaluation of environmental ODA

Japan will further improve its evaluation methods, in order to make the ex-post evaluation of its environmental ODA more effective.


i   According to the Global Environment Outlook 3 (UNEP, 2002), " In many areas, the state of the environment is much more fragile and degraded than it was in 1972."

ii   Human security is a concept that focuses on the viewpoints of individuals to protect them from threats to human lives, livelihoods, and dignity and to bring out the full potential of each individual.

iii   Environmental considerations for ODA projects are described in Japan's Medium-term Policy on Official Development Assistance (August 1999) as follows: "When necessary, rigorous examinations will be undertaken in accordance with environmental guidelines to assess the impact of assistance projects on the environment and regional communities. Appropriate measures will be taken in response to the findings. Depending on the assessed environmental impact, a proposed project may be cancelled. To ensure that the proposed project contributes appropriately to sustainable development, alternative proposals will be formulated when necessary." The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Guidelines for Confirmation of Environmental and Social Considerations are to be properly applied to yen loan projects. (While the guidelines will be in force from October 2003, some of the elements will be in force from October 2002.)

iv   According to the definition of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), capacity in the environment represents the ability of individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions in a given context to address environmental issues as part of a range of efforts to achieve sustainable development. Also, the same source defines capacity development in the environment (CDE) as the process by which capacity in environment and appropriate institutional structures are enhanced. (Source: DAC, Donor Assistance to Capacity Development in Environment, 1995)

v   The centre approach is a cooperation method through which a centre, such as environment centres, is established for intensive technology transfers, aimed at encouraging developing countries to disseminate new technology to the entire nation.

vi   The model approach is a cooperation method that sets up a model area in order to transfer the experience and knowledge acquired there to other areas.

vii   The Kyoto Initiative is a package of measures, which Japan announced as the host country of the third session of the conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP3) in December 1997. It is a part of ISD and aims at strengthening assistance, centering on ODA, to developing countries for combating global warming. It has three pillars as follows:

(1) Cooperation in capacity development:

In the five years beginning in FY1998, Japan will train 3000 people in developing countries in the following fields:

  1. Air pollution
  2. Waste disposal
  3. Energy saving technologies
  4. Forest conservation and afforestation.

(2) Yen loans with the consessional terms

Japan will provide yen loans with the most concessional terms available internationally (0.75% interest rate, 40-years repayment period (as of August 2002)) to actively promote cooperation in the following fields:

  1. Energy saving technologies
  2. New and renewable energy sources
  3. Forest conservation and afforestation.

(3) Exploitation and transfer of Japanese technology and know-how

Using technology and know-how acquired in the process of combating its own pollution and energy problems, Japan will:

  1. send teams to diagnose global warming prevention measures in manufacturing plants;
  2. set up information networks related to global warming prevention technology;
  3. develop and transfer technology suited to developing counteries' needs; and
  4. hold workshops on global warming prevention.

viii   CDM is one of the Kyoto mechanisms based on the Kyoto Protocol. The basic notion of the CDM is that a developed (donor) country can get credit if there is an increased reduction of GHG emissions in a developing (host) country through the implementation of a project funded by the donor and carried out in the host country. The donor can count the credit, the amount of which will be decided through agreed procedures, against its target amount for the reduction of GHG.

ix   The objective of the EANET is to formulate a common understanding regarding acid deposition in the region, and to promote cooperation on this issue within the region through information exchanges. After the preparatory phase from April 1998, it started monitoring on a regular basis in January 2001. As of August 2002, 11 nations (Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam) in East Asia have participated in this network.

x   The Green Aid Plan (GAP) is a cooperation programme in the field of environment and energy, which is managed by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

xi   Cleaner Production is a technology that pursues a decrease of burdens on the environment by improving the productive efficiency of a factory, while increasing profits for the enterprise. The Win-Win approach is a method that combines the reduction of environmental burdens with an increase of profits.

xii   The Kitakyushu Initiative was adopted in September 2000, at a meeting of environment ministries held by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The objective of the initiative is to promote inter-city cooperation and to strengthen efforts at a regional level, in order to improve environmental conditions in the cities in the region, using the achievements of Kitakyushu City (Japan) in this area as a useful guide.

xiii   Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport plans to assist East Asian countries in constructing urban railways to improve the state of the environment in large cities and to reduce exhaust gases under the 2002 Bangkok Initiative on Environmentally Friendly Urban Transport (April, 2002).

xiv   The World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), whose secretariat is located within UNESCO, functions as a coordinator for various UN initiatives on the assessment of fresh water. The objective of the WWAP is to develop measures and technology to better understand management and policy for improving the quality and the supply of fresh water resources at a global level.

xv   AFP is a partnership that Japan and Indonesia have been advocating, aimed at promoting sustainable forest management in the Asian region. Under the AFP, Asian countries (mainly members of ASEAN), donors like the G8, international organizations and NGOs are expected to cooperate in tackling illegal logging, preventing forest fires, rehabilitating and reforesting degraded lands, and so on.

xvi   UNESCO is carrying out human resources development programmes on natural resource management of biosphere reserves in the Asia-Pacific region. These programmes put particular focus on coastal zones, small islands, and mangroves. They also implement research and training aimed at improving the living standards of local residents and raising their awareness of environmental issues through the harmonization of nature conservation and development for natural resources utilization.

xvii   For this purpose, Japan is promoting Global Mapping, Earth Observation, and the Asia-Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy. Global Mapping is a project aimed at promoting the establishment of digital geographic information systems and transferring geographic-information technology to developing countries (120 nations are participating; Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport started the project in 1992). Earth Observation is designed to build a comprehensive observation system including observation from satellites, data reception by ground equipment, in order to help promote understanding of the nature of global environmental issues and improve the quality of daily life (National Space Development Agency (NASDA) started the project in 1992). The objective of the Asia-Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy is to support the formulation of environment policies in developing countries, through the establishment of integrated environmental monitoring/assessment systems and the study of options for environmental strategies (Japan's Ministry of the Environment launched the Strategy in July, 2002). In addition, Japan's Ministry of the Environment supports monitoring projects on desertification and dust & sandstorms in North-East Asia.

xviii   This is a fund jointly established in August 2000 by Conservation International, the World Bank, and the Global Environmental Facility to support programmes which conserve "hotspot areas threatened by the loss of biodiversity" in developing countries. Japan has participated as an investor in addition to the MacArthur Foundation (US).

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