International Cooperation of Japan to Promote Sustainable Forest Management in Developing Countries
21 November 2003
Japan has effectively established and maintained its forest, evolved and implemented appropriate soil and water conservation measures and developed efficient methods for processing and utilizing wood and other forest products. Through bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation, Japan has shared this technology with developing countries in collaborative efforts to achieve sustainable forest management. As part of its worldwide commitment in this regard, Japan is providing technical and financial assistance to follow-up activities of the Earth Summit in numerous countries across the globe, including international programs of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and NGOs.
The Charter of Official Development Assistance (ODA), which was revised by the Japanese Cabinet in August 2003, addresses global issues such as environmental problems as one of its priority issues and in the Principle of ODA implementation states as one of the points to take into account in implementing ODA that "environmental conservation and development should be pursued in tandem." Furthermore, Japan's Mid-term policy on ODA issued in August 1999 puts environmental conservation in its priority issues.
Japan intends to achieve sustainable development in global basis through its assistance to developing countries' efforts, including efforts in combating deforestation and forest degradation. Japan has been promoting sustainable forest management in developing countries, making technical and financial cooperation as well as financial contribution to multilateral organizations under "Initiative for Sustainable Development Toward the 21st Century (ISD)", which was announced by the Japanese Government during the UNGASS in June 1997. Furthermore, Japan issued its Environmental Conservation Initiative for Sustainable Development (EcoISD) just before the WSSD in August 2002. Action Plan under EcoISD includes prompting Asia Forest Partnership (AFP).
Following are Japan's recent activities.
As of April 1, 2003, the Government of Japan is carrying out 20 technical cooperation projects in 13 countries through JICA such as management of natural forests and planted forests including in tropical countries, prevention of forest fires, and promotion of social forestry. Japan is also carrying out development studies on such areas as forest resources management and the establishment of a forest management plan in 8 countries jointly with experts from those countries.
Grant aid and ODA loan
Japan has been providing developing countries with grant aid in the area of forests and forestry. In 1998, Japan expanded the area of such aid to afforestation and management afterwards, which were not subject to the aid until then. So far 5 projects of grant aid in afforestation area have been implemented.
Regarding ODA loan, Japan has been providing it in such areas as forest conservation and management, afforestation and reforestation, at the favored interest rate of 0.75% annual with a repayment period of 30 years after the grace period of 10 years.
Cooperation through international organizations
In recent years, the Government of Japan has been providing various forms of assistance through international organizations including the members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) in support of the UNFF. The Government of Japan, while actively taking part in the activities of ITTO such as preparation of Guidelines for the Management of Secondary Tropical Forests and Restoration of Degraded Tropical Forests and Tropical Forest Lands, is making contributions to various projects for the promotion of sustainable forest management in developing countries. Also, the government of Japan is assisting FAO by contributing to field projects in developing countries for sustainable forest management, and actively participating in policy dialogues as well.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established in 1991 under the cooperation among World Bank, UNDP and UNEP as one of major funding mechanisms for addressing issues, such as preservation of bio-diversity in developing countries. GEF, currently in Phase 3 with its operational fund of US$22.9 billion for four-year period starting July 2002, implements grant aid for projects proposed by developing countries. Financing 20% of the new funding of GEF, Japan actively contributes to GEF, through its participation in the council, which is a substantial decision-making body. Japan also makes financial contribution to the UN Environment Fund and the Trust Fund for Technological Cooperation of International Environment Technology Center under UNEP. Furthermore, Japan provides various contributions to other CPF member organizations, including World Bank and CIFOR, in terms of finance, technology and human resources.
Assistance for environment conservation programs carried out by NGOs
The Japan Fund for Global Environment (JFGE) was established in Japan in 1993 based on the contribution from public and private sectors. With the amount of ¥13.6 billion in FY 2002, JFGE provides NGOs in and out of Japan with grants for their activities and dissemination of information in developing countries regarding forest conservation and greening, combating desertification. JFEG provided funding for 21 projects in 14 developing countries with total expenditure of approximately ¥83 million in FY 2002.
Research on tropical forest degradation
Since 1990, with the view to resolving global environmental issues, Japan has been conducting research activities, including research on forest degradation, particularly concerning rain forest, gathering all talents of scholars, experts and researchers from public and private sectors under the Global Environment Research Fund. By 2002, 12 research projects have been implemented with total expenditure of approximately ¥1.7billion. These include research on ecological system of rain forests and on sustainable management of rain forests.
Asia Forest Partnership
Japan thinks that in order to promote sustainable forest management in world-wide level, promotion of regional initiatives is important. Therefore, Japan, in cooperation with Indonesia and other partners, have launched "Asia Forest Partnership( AFP )" during Johannesburg Summit in 2002, which aims to promote sustainable forest management in Asia, and organized the first meeting for the promotion of AFP in Japan in November 2002, and the second AFP meeting in Indonesia in July 2003, addressing the issues of combating illegal logging, preventing forest fire, rehabilitating and reforesting degraded lands
Joint Announcement and Action Plan on the Cooperation in Combating Illegal Logging
Japan and Indonesia signed the "Joint Announcement" and "Action Plan" on the Cooperation in Combating Illegal Logging on 24 June 2003. The "Joint Announcement" is a document describing the principle of bilateral cooperation between Japan and Indonesia to combat illegal logging and the following outline of the "Action Plan".
The "Action Plan" includes various measures for bilateral cooperation between Japan and Indonesia to combat illegal logging, which are to be implemented in the short, medium, and long-term. The main contents of the Action Plan are as follows:
(a) Development of a mechanism to verify and track legally harvested timber.
(b) Monitoring and inspection of the implementation of the mechanism through the participation of civil society.
(c) Studies on the necessary measures against distribution and export of illegally harvested timber.
Besides activities mentioned above, many cooperative studies, operations and investments have been carried out by the MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), NGOs (e.g. Japan Overseas Forestry Consultants Association, Japan International Forestry Promotion & Cooperation Center, OISCA, etc.) and private enterprises in Japan for the bilateral and/or multilateral (e.g. ITTO, FAO, etc.) cooperation in the forest and forestry sector.
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