Chapter 3 Environment and Climate Change

Tackling climate change is a pressing issue that requires long-term and global efforts. Climate change will continue to be one of the most important challenges in the field of development assistance. Japan has provided support to developing countries on this issue through the Cool Earth Partnership since 2008, and in September 2009 announced the "Hatoyama Initiative." Under this initiative, Japan will make even more active efforts to support the climate change countermeasures of developing countries.

Section 1 Japan's Efforts – The Hatoyama Initiative

Climate change is an urgent matter for mankind that threatens human security across the borders. As such, it is essential for the international community, including both developed and developing countries, to work together to enhance measures on this issue. In order to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, it is important that all the major economies of the world, including the United States and China, will participate in the establishment of a fair and effective international framework.

In September 2009, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama announced at the United Nations (UN) Summit on Climate Change that Japan would actively commit itself to setting a long-term reduction target from the standpoint that developed countries need to take the lead in emission reduction efforts. With regard to a mid-term target, Prime Minister Hatoyama announced that Japan would aim to reduce its emissions by 25% by 2020, if compared to the 1990 level, consistent with what the science calls for in order to halt global warming, premised on the establishment of a fair and effective international framework by all major economies and agreement on their ambitious targets. This target was welcomed as an ambitious one by the leaders of other countries and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

At the same time, solving the problem of climate change will entail a vast amount of financial resources. In particular, to support adaptation efforts by vulnerable developing countries and small island countries, such financing should be strategically expanded. Prime Minister Hatoyama announced the "Hatoyama Initiative" at the UN Summit on Climate Change held in September 2009. He stated that Japan was prepared to provide more financial and technical assistance than in the past to developing countries, in accordance with the progress of international negotiations.

The Government of Japan carefully considered the elaboration of support to developing countries through the "Hatoyama Initiative," and in November 2009 proposed the establishment of a framework (from 2013) for multilateral support to developing countries. In December 2009, at the fifteenth session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, Japan announced that, under the "Hatoyama Initiative," it would provide financial assistance to developing countries which are taking active emission reduction measures or those which are vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, of approximately 1 trillion 750 billion yen (about US$15 billion), including public and private financing, of which public financing comprises approximately 1 trillion 300 billion yen (about US$11billion). This assistance is premised upon the establishment of a fair and effective international framework by all major economies and agreement on ambitious targets. This announcement was welcomed by other countries and gave a boost to negotiations. Carrying out the "Hatoyama Initiative," Japan will serve as a bridge between developed and developing countries, and will contribute to the transformation of the world to a low carbon society at a global level.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama delivering an address at the informal high-level event at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15)

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama delivering an address at the informal high-level event at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) (Photo: FTP=Jiji)


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