Message of Her Excellency Yoriko Kawaguchi,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
on the occasion of the Informal Meeting on Further Actions against Climate Change

15 September, 2004

Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is again my great pleasure to host the Third Informal Meeting on Further Actions against Climate Change here in Tokyo. Let me first express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Brazil for co-chairing this important meeting again, and all participants and observers who have come to Japan with the common spirit of a constructive dialogue. My special appreciation also goes to the Government of Canada, that kindly provided generous financial support to this meeting.

Global warming is a real threat to humankind, and it is already happening. Extreme weather events such as heatwaves and floods are frequently seen around the world now. These phenomena remind us of keen urgency and necessity of reinforced actions against climate change. No doubt, the Kyoto Protocol is a significant first step for that purpose. Japan is fully committed to fulfilling its targets, and now in the process of a thorough review over the policies and measures currently in place. But we must also recognise that climate change is an issue covering this whole century and beyond. Further efforts have to be made towards the long-term objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere as stipulated in the UNFCCC. In order to ensure the effectiveness of such actions, we must come up with a more comprehensive, flexible and multi-faceted approach, building upon the substantial basis laid by the Kyoto Protocol.

Distinguished guests,

At this stage, there is no simple answer to the question of how possible further actions should look like. As a bottom line, it is vitally important to ensure that all countries, both developed and developing, will strengthen their actions, given the anticipated growth of greenhouse gases in a global scale. Creative efforts should be made to achieve this in a way that economic growth and sustainable development will be securely maintained. In this regard, developing countries lacking necessary financial and human resources require special care and attention. Capacity building for those countries based upon their ownership in the areas such as emission reduction and adaptation measures, data collection, policymaking and implementation will be also essential. After all, further actions to tackle climate change must be pursued based upon objective assessment of specific socio-economic circumstances of each and every country. For that purpose, I believe that "Informal Experts Meeting on Modeling Activities dealing with Climate Change", convened yesterday back to back today's meeting, will be able to present very useful insights for us.

When we consider specific configuration of future framework or a set of common rules beyond Kyoto, it will be very important to comprehensively take account of various relevant factors. Ingenuity to achieve in a balanced way different but inter-related requirements such as effectiveness, efficiency, feasibility, or equity, will be required. For that purpose, various possible options, such as global or national commitments, fixed or dynamic targets, policies and measures, have been already under review in a number of relevant forums around the world. Surely, this question will be further explored in this two-day meeting under the pragmatism shared by co-chairmen of Brazil and Japan. I look forward to listening to what will emerge out of the discussion, as an important message of those countries whose combined emissions cover almost 80% of the world.

The Kyoto Protocol provides that consideration of the post-Kyoto commitments has to be started before the end of 2005. Apparently, not much time is left before we embark on a serious discussion on further actions. In that context, upcoming COP10 could provide a very important juncture. Bearing in mind those elements that I have mentioned, it is my ardent hope that a pragmatic and constructive exchange of views in this Informal Meeting will create valuable food-for-thoughts in considering a more specific roadmap for the way forward.

Thank you.

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