Statement by Ambassador Masahiko Horie,
Ambassador for Global Environmental Affairs,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
at the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment(AMCEN)
Fourth special session, Ministerial segment
Thursday 15 September 2011


First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Mali for taking the initiative and leadership to host this meeting and giving me the chance to speak here today.

On behalf of the Japanese Government and the Japanese people, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the sympathy and condolences, as well as invaluable support, extended from the African governments and their people in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Recovery from that devastating earthquake and tsunami is never easy even after six months from the worst natural disaster since World War II.

In spite of this unprecedented situation, Japan will continue to tackle climate change issues as ardently as before. While Japan must extend maximum efforts to support the suffering people and reconstruct the damaged areas, climate change remains a priority for securing our global interests. This is also our determination in response to the goodwill and kindness extended from all over the world to Japan.

For most of the African countries gathering here today, climate change is a matter of life or death, which has caused desertification and droughts. Japan definitely would like to continue to stand by all African countries and contribute to find solutions to these challenges.

To secure our global interests, Japan’s ultimate goal regarding climate change, is an expeditious adoption of a new, single and comprehensive legal document which will establish a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate.

Japan believes that Durban will be an important milestone to show a direction to achieve such an ultimate goal. And Japan will actively contribute to this discussion. It is essential for us all to work cooperatively to gain a great momentum towards low-carbon society on our entire globe.

To achieve this ultimate goal at an early stage, I would like to underline once again that setting the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is not a right approach because it will weaken a momentum to establish a new, fair and effective framework, by cementing the current framework under which only a small part of developed countries have the obligation to cut GHG emissions. This is the reason why Japan does not associate itself with the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. However, I would like to emphasize that some elements of the Kyoto Protocol can be utilized in the new legal framework with necessary adjustments, and until the new framework is established, they will serve as an international infrastructure on climate change.

In this transitional phase, until the establishment of a future comprehensive framework, each country should steadily implement its mitigation efforts with domestic measures while securing international transparency.

The Cancun Agreements adopted at COP16 address major issues such as mitigation/MRV, adaptation, finance, technology and REDD+ in a well-balanced manner. It is most important for each country to operationalize the Cancun Agreements faithfully and steadily. Looking ahead, an agreement on the structural design of the Green Climate Fund should be a meaningful outcome of COP 17. Japan contributed to designing the Green Climate Fund and accordingly hosted the second meeting of the Transitional Committee. It is very important that the Green Climate Fund functions effectively to meet the needs of Africa and other developing countries. Japan would like to be engaged and continue to contribute to its design process actively.

Japan believes that international support should be strengthened for developing countries, including Africa, in the area of climate change. As for Japan, we have extended various kinds of support such as grant assistance, technical cooperation and loans. Japan’s Fast-Start Financing to African countries which has been provided from December 2009 to July 2011 amounts to approximately 1.27 billion US dollars. Japan puts special emphasis on its support for vulnerable countries, including Africa, and is implementing effective assistance taking into account the needs for adaptation such as disaster prevention against high temperatures, droughts and floods.

Japan will continue to steadily implement its Fast-Start Financing. This year marks the "African COP" and Japan will support climate change efforts for vulnerable countries, especially African countries, including disaster prevention and capacity building. It is important that the international community will steadily implement its support to vulnerable countries, especially African countries, even beyond 2012.

In this context, Japan would like to work together with African partners to establish "Low-Carbon Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy in Africa" which builds a shared medium and long-term vision to promote sustainable and low-carbon growth in Africa. Based on the agreement made in the Communiqué of the Third TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting, Japan is starting to work with African countries and TICAD co-organizers to prepare the Strategy. The Strategy should be formulated respecting African ownership and participation of many stakeholders is critical to this work.

For African Green Growth, the Strategy should play a role that accelerates responses to pending questions regarding adaptation and presents a shared vision which enables both conservation of natural environment in Africa and sustainable economic growth in Africa. The Strategy will also present examples of good practices of assistance and public private partnership. It is our hope that this strategy will provide a useful guidance to international partners, including Japan, for their assistance and investment to Africa. We hope this will contribute to a greater potential for attracting further assistance and investment to Africa.

Additionally, we are studying the possibility of providing "readiness support" to African countries which will enhance their accessibility to climate finance after the establishment of Green Climate Fund and commencement of its full operation. However, in order for the developing countries to obtain a smoother and expeditions access to climate finance including the Green Climate Fund as well as to effectively utilize the fund, they need to establish a national strategy clearly specifying their priorities and objectives that lead to low-carbon development and building adaptive capacity and to prepare project pipelines which identify priority projects.

There are great differences among African countries, regarding their challenges in climate change, their methods of solutions and their levels of readiness. With this in mind, Japan aims to assist developing countries in their efforts to strengthen systems and to build capacity to obtain climate finance according to their different needs and situations.

Japan wishes to provide its ODA in a way that it can play a catalytic role for attracting Japanese private finance. Remembering this year is the year of African COP, Japan is encouraging its private sectors to engage even more with African countries. There will be a JETRO (Japanese External Trade Organization) mission in October and Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)’s business forum in November. In addition, a series of feasibility studies are being planned in terms of business opportunities which enable low-carbon growth.

I would like to conclude my speech by reaffirming Japan’s determination to closely cooperate with African partners to make African COP in Durban to be a significant chapter in the history of our efforts to tackle climate change, and that it will always be remembered by our future generation.

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