Remarks by H.E. Mr. Katsuya Okada,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Second TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting
for the session on "Addressing Climate Change issues"
3 May 2010, Arusha, Tanzania
Global warming is happening undisputedly. Africa is now confronting serious adverse effects, such as frequent and increasingly severe droughts and floods, an expansion of infectious diseases, and growing instability in agricultural production. The entire world must intensify its efforts to address this issue.
For many years, I personally have been engaged in the issue of climate change. Japan announced a mid-term target of a 25% reduction in emissions by 2020 compared to the 1990 level this past September by Prime Minister Hatoyama at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change. This midterm target was first put forth when I was serving as the Chair of the Global Warming Countermeasures Headquarters of the Democratic Party of Japan two years ago. As the climate change negotiation is entering a crucial stage this year, I am resolved to address this issue as one of the most important diplomatic items.
Major changes have occurred over the last twenty years on maps of global greenhouse gas emissions. Please take a look at this figure. (cf. figure 1 [PDF])
What this figure makes clear is that emissions in developing countries are increasing dramatically, especially in countries and regions that have been undergoing tremendous growth in recent years. Emissions in Africa have also grown from 2.6% to 3.0%, and a further increase is expected in the coming years. Our challenge is how the entire world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop global warming, in the situation where more and more countries and regions are realizing economic growth.
Japan is consistently insisting that it is necessary to establish a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate. Although Japan has already undertaken considerable efforts, we went further to set an ambitious mid-term target of a 25% reduction in emissions. However, Japan accounts for only about 4% of the world's emissions. Consequently, Japan's efforts alone cannot halt climate change, even if it sets an ambitious reduction target. So, it is imperative that all emitting nations, including the US and China and emerging economies, set out ambitious emissions reduction targets and actions, and commit themselves internationally. In order to ensure fulfillment of these commitments, it is necessary to reach an agreement on a single legal document that include all countries within a single framework.
At the same time, we must put high priority on addressing those concerns including that of Africa and small island states that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In order to do so, it will be essential to have a comprehensive agreement encompassing all the major areas including mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology among others.
At COP15, the Copenhagen Accord was formulated after fierce negotiations. It is regrettable that the Accord was not adopted at the plenary meeting and was taken note of instead. However, the Accord is an important step towards the formulation of a legal document, considering that the Accord is a comprehensive agreement among world leaders representing various regions and negotiating groups. More than 120 countries have expressed their association with the Accord, and these countries account for over 80% of global emissions.
I would like to commend the fact that the 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU in February endorsed the Copenhagen Accord and encouraged all member states to make individual submissions to the Secretariat of the UNFCCC supporting the Accord. I understand that 33 African countries have made such submissions so far and I expect this number will be further increased in the near future. As climate change negotiations are intensifying, it is necessary to further reflect the voices of developing countries. If Africa, which has the potential to demonstrate its strong presence as a group, can take united actions, it will certainly become a main player in the international negotiations.
The Hatoyama Initiative
It will be necessary to mobilize vast amounts of financial resources in order for developing countries to address the issue of climate change. Last year at COP15, Japan announced it would provide assistance in the amount of about 15 billion dollars as fast track financing up to 2012.
I'd like you to look now at this figure. (cf. figure 2 [PDF]) Under the Hatoyama Initiative, Japan is committed to actively supporting developing countries which are taking measures to tackle climate change. The Hatoyama Initiative has two major principles, namely "expeditious implementation" and "assistance to high-priority areas".
As for "expeditious implementation", Japan will mobilize existing organizations and funds in order to deliver the assistance as swiftly as possible. Japan's assistance to Africa has already exceeded one billion US dollars in total for the last two years, and examples of such assistance are introduced in the Annual Progress Report.
"Assistance to high-priority areas" means that Japan will address Africa's most urgent needs, including assistance on water insufficiency and flood damage, the introduction of irrigation systems for sustainable agriculture, and the development of energy infrastructure to realize low-carbon societies. Assistance on capacity building to be able to utilize the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and on institutionalizing national systems is also essential. Moreover, while Japan has been promoting training programs for forest conservation, we will reflect the needs on the ground in a more multifaceted manner, through technology transfer in the use of satellites for forest assessments, enhancement of efficiency in forest utilization and energy conversion. Japan will continue to implement well-tailored assistance on climate change by upholding developing countries' ownership, which is the TICAD central principle.
Based on this, I would like to put forth two proposals.
Firstly, I would like to advance Japan-Africa policy dialogue on climate change so as to contribute to the United Nations process. Africa and Japan share a common position that clearly recognize the necessity to establish a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate, and which is covering all main issues of mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology. Through fostering communication between Japan and Africa, and collaborating to assist the COP chair, we hope to cooperate to create a significant outcome without undermining the Copenhagen Accord.
Secondly, taking the opportunity of hosting the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) this autumn, we intend to host a ministerial meeting for interested parties on forest conservation cooperation and climate change. The Copenhagen Accord clearly stipulates the important role of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD-plus), in which many forested African nations have interest. Forest conservation is also one of the important topics for COP10. As it is also among the priority areas of the Hatoyama Initiative, grant assistance of approximately 100 million US dollars to African countries has already been decided. At this meeting I would like to have active discussions grounded in the experiences of each country, on various topics including the formulation of plans, technology transfer, and development of relevant national systems.
Through the discussions in this session, I hope that Japan and Africa can confirm a common position in this area of climate change. At the same time, I expect that we send out a robust message to the world on our determination to act in cooperation in the negotiations.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
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