Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Japan's Environmental Cooperation
Underlying Principles of Environmental ODA
(1) Emphasis on dialogue with developing countries
Though developing countries may have high need for assistance in environmental areas, they tend to put priority on development projects, so that concrete environmental programs are often neglected. Japanese dialogue endeavors to communicate the need for environmental programs to developing countries and to encourage them to take the lead in environmental efforts.
For China, which is experiencing severe environmental degradation in the course of its astounding economic development, Japan provides various cooperation through bodies at many levels, including local governments and private organizations as well as the central government. Since 1996, the "Japan-China Comprehensive Forum on Environmental Cooperation" has been held regularly to coordinate this cooperation. The Forum includes members of central government agencies, local governments, private bodies, academics, and experts from both countries.
(2) Improving the environmental skills and capacities of developing countries
The assistance provided by developed countries is just that: assistance. It is important that it helps developing countries to improve their own skill and capacity for dealing with environmental problems. Because of this, Japanese assistance focuses on training programs for people in developing countries and the dispatch of experts from Japan.
The Environmental Centers are one innovative program by which Japan helps to strengthen and improve the capacity of environmental agencies in developing countries. Japan has provided such cooperation in six countries to date: Thailand, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Chile, and Egypt. Japanese technical cooperation for the Center in Thailand has already finished, so it is now serving as a training center for people from neighboring countries.
(3) Collaboration with NGOs
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are different in nature from governmental organizations, and their roles are expanding in many fields.
In the environment area, NGOs are particularly suited to activities geared towards specific local communities, where their work is significant both in actual environment programs and also in educating local people about environmental concerns. Japan supports the environmental cooperation programs of NGOs through grant assistance for grass roots projects and the NGO Subsidy Framework.
Cooperation to Promote Use of Renewable Energy
Fighting Global Warming while Supplying New Energy
"Renewable energy" refers to natural energy sources like sunlight and wind power. These energy sources can be expected to play an important role in programs to combat global warming, air pollution, and other environmental problems. They are also extremely effective in bringing electricity to remote villages and small island countries where it is difficult to install electric power grids.
Japan cooperates with the South-Pacific Republic of Vanuatu on the installation of solar power generating systems as a means of improving the electrification of its villages (where currently only 7% of homes are electrified). The project installs small solar power units in homes in four model villages, with the government and residents cooperating on the maintenance of the units.
Japan also provides ODA loans for the Wind Power Plant Construction Project in Ceara State, Brazil.
Continuing to Enjoy Nature's Bounties
Once a species is extinct, we cannot recreate it. Extinction means that the unique values of the species are lost to the world forever. One of the tasks before mankind, therefore, is to prevent the extinction of species and pass on to future generations a world that is teeming in diversity.
The developing countries tend to have the richest diversity of life forms, but this biodiversity is threatened by development and other trends. Japan not only takes full account of biodiversity considerations in the implementation of its ODA, but also provides cooperation for active conservation efforts.
For example, in Indonesia, which is considered to be on par with the Amazon in terms of biodiversity, Japan provides grant aid and technical cooperation for the Action Plan for the Conservation of Biodiversity formulated by the Indonesian government. Japan also works in close cooperation with the United States, including collaboration on the establishment of a fund to support the activities of NGOs and other organizations in this area.