Opening Remarks by Mr. Nobuhide Minorikawa,
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
on the occasion of the ASEM Seminar on Adaptation to Climate Change

October 2, 2008 Tokyo

(photo) Mr. Nobuhide Minorikawa

Mr. Chairperson,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is truly my pleasure to host the "ASEM Seminar on Adaptation to Climate Change" with participants from ASEM countries and related organisations. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for valuable cooperation from the co-sponsors who supported the seminar greatly; European Commission, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Viet Nam. I would like to also extend my heartfelt welcome to all the participants here today not to mention the Lead Speakers who are as we all know prominent experts in their respective field.

Dr. Ladislav MIKO, Director for Protecting the Natural Environment of the European Commission who assumes the co-chairperson today, has very rich experiences and incomparable career in this field. I am sure that Mr. MIKO, together with Mr. SUGIYAMA, Director-General for Global Issues of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will bring about lively discussions throughout the sessions of the Seminar.

Needless to say, climate change is an urgent global issue which significantly influences our day-to-day life and economic activities and it is imperative for the international community to unite itself in tackling this issue. At the G8 Hokkaido Summit meeting and the Leaders Meeting of Major Economies held in July this year, a strong political will was expressed at the top level in order to expedite the negotiations at the United Nations. Japan is ever more determined to continue taking a leading role, in cooperation with other partners, in the international discussions on the climate change issues.

In tackling climate change issues, it is necessary to garner internationally concerted efforts in both "mitigation" of greenhouse gas emissions and "adaptation" to the adverse effects of climate change. As for "adaptation", I would like to point out two aspects which I think should be taken into consideration.

First, "adaptation" is inseparable from the wide range of development policy issues of each country, such as water, agriculture, food, forest, conservation of biodiversity, health and disaster prevention. It is thus important for each government to mainstream the issue of "adaptation" into its overall framework of development policy.

Second, it is essential that we base our understanding and prediction of the effect of the climate change on solid scientific knowledge in order to implement the adaptation measures more effectively. To that end accumulation of the scientific knowledge is also indispensable.

In this regard, I believe that this seminar will provide great opportunity for the experts from ASEM members to share their knowledge and experiences and exchange their views from the respective fields of specialty.

As for Japan, we have been engaged in international efforts in concert with many other countries for the promotion of adaptation to climate change.

For example, through the Japanese initiative "Cool Earth Partnership" with the budget of US $10 billion in 5 years, we have assisted developing countries that are aiming to achieve both emissions reduction and economic growth and working to contribute to climate stability, including assistance to adaptation policy.

Now, 56 countries have participated in the "Cool Earth Partnership." In August this year, Japan extended "Program Loan for Environment and Climate Change" which finances for water project to Indonesia, one of our partner countries of this initiative.

I also believe that Japanese experiences on ODA for many years in the areas of water, health, disaster prevention, agriculture and biodiversity could add valuable contribution in addressing the issue of adaptation to the climate change.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The outcome of this seminar will be reported to the ASEM 7 Summit which will take place in Beijing on 24th and 25th of October. I expect that vigorous discussions among the participants will take place and that will lead to fruitful results.

I am leaving the Seminar to the experts now. I am looking forward to meeting all of you again this evening at the welcome reception.

Thank you very much.

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