photo (Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura)

Message from His Excellency MACHIMURA Nobutaka,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
on the occasion of the Fourth Informal Meeting on Further Actions against Climate Change

20 October 2005

Distinguished participants,

First of all, I would like to extend my deepest condolences on the passing away of Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

We all are very sad to hear such news, and would like to commend her long and excellent leadership in the field of environment.

It is my great pleasure to host the Fourth Informal Meeting on Further Actions against Climate Change. Let me first express my sincere appreciation to the Government of Brazil for co-chairing this meeting again, and all participants and observers who have come to Tokyo all the way. My gratitude also goes to the Government of Canada, which kindly provided generous financial support to this meeting.

As was confirmed in the G8 Gleneagles Summit in July, climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the globe, and human activities are contributing to the increases in greenhouse gases. We all know that concrete and urgent actions are required to arrest the rise of greenhouse gas emissions around the world. In February this year, the Kyoto Protocol entered into force. This means all Annex I ratifiers of the Protocol are now bound by the international law to meet their quantified greenhouse gas emissions reduction under the Protocol. For our part, the Government of Japan formulated the Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan in April in order to firmly achieve its reduction target of 6%. The Plan pursues the balance between the environment and economic growth mainly through promoting technological innovations, improving energy efficiency, and collaboration by all stakeholders. Japan is strongly committed to meet its reduction goal.

The Kyoto Protocol is an important step to tackle the issue of climate change, but it is just a first step. We know further efforts have to be made for the long-term mitigation of greenhouse gases, in order to meet the ultimate objective of the Framework Convention, namely, the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at a safer level. To achieve this goal, we must construct an encouraging and enabling framework, instead of a punitive one, so that both developing and developed countries will play active roles in intensive efforts to reduce greenhouse gases beyond the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Seminar of Governmental Experts in Bonn in May was a significant first occasion for government officials to exchange information with the issue of future framework in mind. In the Seminar, many participants agreed that all countries must tackle the serious challenge of climate change, and should take effective measures beyond 2012. The task ahead of us was summarized into three "I"s in the Preparatory Meeting of Ministers in Ottawa in September, notably Imagination on a future framework as well as Implementation of necessary measures, Improvement of existing mechenisms. I believe this informal meeting will help us with advancing these three "I"s, imagination in particular.

Distinguished colleagues,

COP11, the Eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, will take place in Montreal in November. This will be a historic occasion as it will be held concurrently with COP/MOP1, the First Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The upcoming COP11 and COP/MOP1 will be an important occasion to discuss and take actions on many key issues, including the adoption of the Five-Year Programme of Work on adaptation, the establishment of necessary institutions for the operation of the Kyoto Mechanisms, and the considerations of the shape of the future framework which will strengthen measures and commitment of all Parties in the fight against global warming. For the success of these meetings, stronger confidence must be built between developed and developing countries. I sincerely hope the discussions starting from today will contribute to this end.

In closing, let me express my sincere wish that frank and constructive views will be exchanged in this Fourth Informal Meeting on Further Actions against Climate Change, so that we can see clearer path ahead which leads to better understanding and cooperation among all countries in tackling the issue of climate change.

Thank you for your attention.

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