Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006

Main Text > Part I JAPAN'S OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FOR WORLD PEACE AND PROSPERITY > Chapter 2 Specific Activities of Japan's ODA > Section 3. Cooperation for Tackling Global Warming and Environmental Issues

Section 3. Cooperation for Tackling Global Warming and Environmental Issues

Support for Measures against Global Warming by Developing Countries

The emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and other greenhouse gases (GHG) through human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels is causing global climate change, and the impact from these emissions is expected to expand in the future. The average temperature of the earth as a whole has increased 0.6°C over the past century. In Japan the average temperature rose 1°C during the same period.

    Most GHG emissions, which cause global warming, are the result of the socioeconomic activities of developed countries, and the emissions have risen sharply in recent years due to the economic growth of such emerging developing countries as China and India. It is expected that the total amount of GHG emissions from developing countries could exceed that from developed countries. Therefore, reducing these emissions effectively will require efforts not only by developed countries, but by developing countries as well.

    Chart I-6 CO2 Emissions by Country (2003)

Chart I-6 CO<sub>2</sub> Emissions by Country (2003)

    Chart I-7 Global Outlook for the Increase in CO2 Emissions

Chart I-7 Global Outlook for the Increase in CO<sub>2</sub> Emissions

    In addition, with the rise of average temperature in the world, it is expected that several phenomena such as the following will occur: a rise in sea level and resulting submersion of lowland and seaboard regions; a change of climate pattern such as heavy rainfall, flood, drought, and revolving storms (cyclone); an acceleration of desertification; influence on agriculture (such as the shift of the grain belt towards a higher latitude); and an effect on health and welfare (the expansion of tropical epidemics such as malaria and breakbone fever [dengue]). Especially in the least developed countries in Africa and vulnerable states like island countries, serious damage has been of concern. In order to secure sustainable development and human security in these countries, it is important to give assistance to adaptation measures, which counter the harmful effects and damage caused by global warming. It is also important to improve energy efficiency and introduce renewable energy sources so as to accomplish the simultaneous pursuit of attaining economic growth and poverty reduction and reducing the GHG emissions. Furthermore, it is necessary to have adaptation measures such as the protection of coastal forests and rehabilitation of the coast, farming reforms, and ensuring water resources. These efforts against global warming could bring benefits such as the prevention of air pollution, protection of the natural environment, and improvement of agricultural productivity.

    Japan's ODA has been provided with a principle of pursuing environmental conservation and development in tandem, and has long placed emphasis on cooperation in the environmental sector. Indeed, Japan's ODA in general environmental protection is the largest of all DAC countries. Although Japan is moving forward with efforts to fulfill commitments under the Kyoto Protocol,16 Japan's ODA is also playing an important role in encouraging developing countries to carry out their measures against global warming. This cooperation by Japan serves as an important platform for demonstrating its initiative with respect to the environment in the international arena. Support provided through international organizations is effective in this respect, and Japan provides support through international organizations in conjunction with bilateral support.

    Japan has made especially significant strides in developing measures against global warming. It has accumulated exceptional technology and know-how through its efforts to overcome pollution and conserve energy in Japan, and the support it has provided in this area by applying this technology and experience exceeds that of other countries. Under the Kyoto Initiative17 announced in 1997, Japan assisted developing countries in improving their capacity to deal with global warming. During the eight years between FY1998 and FY2005, Japan lent support for the training of 15,000 people and provided yen loans totaling ¥1,140 billion for energy conservation, for the development of new and renewable energy sources, and for forest conservation and afforestation. In addition, Japan announced the Environmental Conservation Initiative for Sustainable Development (EcoISD)18 in 2002 which called for measures against global warming as a priority area of concern, and has been actively working toward this aim. In January 2006, the Government of Japan officially approved Egypt's Zafarana Wind Power Plan, which is the first Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)*1 project for Japan to use ODA.

    At the G8 Summit held in Gleneagles in the United Kingdom in July 2005, measures against global warming were taken up as one of the major topics on the agenda, and leaders agreed on "Gleneagles Plan of Action for Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Sustainable Development." The then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced "Japan's Climate Change Initiative" as Japan's contribution to the implementation of the G8 action plan.

    As mentioned above, developing countries, which must contend with problems such as poverty and hunger, and emerging economies, which tend to prioritize economic growth, have difficulty taking effective measures to address environmental problems such as global warming. However, as is clear from Japan's experience during the era of high economic growth when serious pollution problems developed into social issues, the failure to take environmental measures can result in enormous costs and affect the global environment. For this reason, Japan provides support to boost the capacity of developing countries, especially emerging economies, to deal with environmental problems through assistance for establishing systems for human resource development, policymaking, and environmental monitoring. As an example of this support, Japan helps to improve developing countries' capacity to deal with environmental problems by supporting the policy-makers of developing countries acquire knowledge and understanding of environmental problems through assistance based on "environment centers." Japan has supported the establishment of environment centers in six countries—Thailand, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Chile, and Egypt—which are staffed by Japanese experts who provide training in environmental technology. At the same time, these experts exchange information with experts and policy-makers of these countries on a daily basis. Functioning as bases of regional cooperation in these countries, these environment centers distribute environmental information and technology to neighboring countries. These activities are expected to expand.

    Thailand, which was the first among the six countries to launch an Environment Center Project, received grant aid and technical assistance from Japan, and in 1989 established an Environmental Research and Training Center, which opened in 1992. This center gathers monitoring data concerning environmental pollution, contributing to the policies and activities of the Thai Government's Pollution Countermeasures Bureau. In the ten years since this environmental research and training center opened, one third of the 5,027 trainees are local public officials who help to distribute information and technology to their provinces. Japanese experts have also been dispatched to this center as instructors and provide training in measures against acid rain to trainees from surrounding countries. The center thus acts as a base for distributing information and technology for the environment to the Southeast Asian region.

The Sino-Japan Friendship Centre for Environmental Protection (Photo: JICA)
The Sino-Japan Friendship Centre for Environmental Protection (Photo: JICA)

Japan's Support in the Field of Energy

The consumption of energy through the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Because developing countries lack money and technology, the burning of coal and oil often emits contaminants such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides (SOx and NOx) that pollute the atmosphere and have an adverse impact on human health.

    Through ODA, Japan provides support to facilitate the energy supply in developing countries and thereby improve the quality of living standards and stimulate the private sector. It also actively provides assistance for promoting the use of renewable energy, including small-scale hydroelectric and wind power generation facilities which produce low emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants and are tailor-made for the circumstances of each region. In addition, Japan actively provides assistance for improving energy efficiency through the renovation of existing power plants and power grids and for establishing policies and institutional frameworks concerning energy conservation. Since 2004 Japan has implemented a technical assistance project in the Philippines for rural electrification using clean energy such as solar power, and in Thailand Japan has provided support for training the energy managers of plants and other facilities in the four-year period since 2002. Japan also offers various types of support related to energy to China, Turkey, and Egypt (see below). Japan's assistance (grant aid and yen loans) in the energy field in the five-year period from 2000 to 2004 amounted to approximately US$7.1 billion, which made Japan the biggest donor in the field of energy among developed countries that provided assistance during the period.

    Chart I-8 Disbursements for the Energy Sector by Country (2000-2004)

Chart I-8 Disbursements for the Energy Sector by Country (2000-2004)

    Chart I-9 Japan's Assistance in the Energy Sector by Type (2000-2004)

Chart I-9 Japan's Assistance in the Energy Sector by Type (2000-2004)

Support to China: Introduction of Renewable Energy

One of Japan's specific activities in the energy field has been support in the area of hydroelectric power generation in China. Demand for electric power in China has increased along with its economic growth and in the ten-year period over the 1990s the amount of power generated more than doubled. However, per-capita consumption of electric power is about one-fifth of Japan's nationwide average, and it is expected that electric power demand will further expand along with its high economic growth. Because China primarily relies on coal-fired thermal power, which produces large amounts of greenhouse gases, emissions of air pollutants associated with power generation have risen sharply and residents with respiratory illnesses are increasing. Air pollutants also react with water and oxygen in the atmosphere and cause acid rain. Acid rain has also been observed in Japan, and much of this is thought to be attributable to the emission of pollutants in China.

    In light of this situation, the Chinese Government requested Japan's assistance to construct hydroelectric power stations in order to increase its electricity supply while holding down emissions of air pollutants. In response, Japan decided to provide support through yen loans for the construction of small hydroelectric and pumped-storage power plants in Shandong, Hubei, Gansu, and Shanxi provinces. In Shanxi Province, a project for the construction of four 300MW pumped-storage power generation facilities is expected to result in a 260,000-ton per year reduction in the use of coal fuel. These new facilities also promise to curb emissions of air pollutants, reducing sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 6,100 tons a year and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 3,000 tons a year, and decreasing emissions of greenhouse gases, thus contributing to preventing global warming. In addition, it was estimated that projects to reduce air pollution supported by Japan through yen loans implemented in the five-year period from 1996 to 2000 contributed to the reduction of emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) by about 190,000 tons as of 2003. These projects also led to reducing pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) carried by wind to Japan and to preventing acid rain.

    Chart I-10 Breakdown of China's Energy Sources by Type (2002)

Chart I-10 Breakdown of China's Energy Sources by Type (2002)

    Chart I-11 Trends in Primary Energy Demand in China

Chart I-11 Trends in Primary Energy Demand in China

Support to Turkey: Promotion of Energy Conservation

Efforts by Japan in Turkey will here be presented as an example of support for the establishment of policies and institutional frameworks concerning energy conservation. Turkey, which imports more than half of its energy resources, has promoted energy conservation for the purpose of boosting the international competitiveness of its companies while at the same time preventing global warming. However, because the Turkey's National Energy Conservation Center (NECC), which provides guidance in promoting energy conservation, had inadequate institutional and technical capacity, the country's energy conservation efforts were not particularly effective.

    Against such a background, the Government of Turkey requested Japan—which has the world's highest level of energy conservation technology—to provide technical assistance in energy conservation technology and in establishing policies and systems to promote energy conservation. In response, by dispatching experts to Turkey and providing training there, Japan provided support between 2000 and 2005 for improving NECC's capacity in formulating policy recommendations and in evaluating the energy conservation efforts of industrial plants. As a result of such assistance by Japan, the energy efficiency of Turkey's industrial sector was estimated to have improved by as much as 5% annually. Thus, Japan's assistance contributed to the improvement of energy efficiency and the development of measures against global warming in Turkey, which is ranked twenty-second in the world in carbon dioxide emissions.

Japan's Support for Forestry

Forests fulfill a variety of functions. In addition to absorbing and fixing CO2 they prevent soil erosion; provide natural resources such as lumber, firewood, and charcoal; preserve ecosystems; and maintain watersheds. However, the world's forests continue to be degraded at serious levels: in the five-year period between 2000 and 2005, approximately 36.6 million hectares were lost.19 It is said that 14.2 million hectares of tropical rain forest are lost every year, which corresponds to about 60% of the area of Japan's main island of Honshu. The deforestation and forest degradation continue in developing countries, where population increases and poverty have led to overcutting and overgrazing as forests are converted to farmland, with desertification advancing in Asia and Africa. In addition, the degradation of forest resources is putting pressure on the living of local residents and is exacerbating poverty through destruction of the natural environment.

    In order to protect the environment and reduce the poverty of residents, Japan is actively providing support to developing countries through efforts in sustainable forest management, including reforestation and the prevention of illegal logging. In 2004 Japan provided US$110 million to the forestry sector, the largest amount of assistance among the developed countries.

    Chart I-12 Financial Assistance in the Forestry Sector by Donor Countries (2000-2004)

Chart I-12 Financial Assistance in the Forestry Sector by Donor Countries (2000-2004)

Support to Kenya: Forest Management by Local Residents

In Kenya, approximately 80% of the land is arid, and forests account for less than 3% of the entire territory. Nevertheless, because of poverty more than 70% of the energy consumed in Kenya is provided by firewood and charcoal, and sharp population growth in recent years has raised concerns about the excessive logging of forests. Moreover, due to drought and the expansion of cultivated land, problems such as declining land productivity and deterioration of the natural environment are reaching serious proportions.

    Since 1985, Japan has provided technical assistance to Kenya in sustainable forest management, focusing on the semi-arid land of Kithi District, where the population was particularly poor. Kithi District has suffered long years of drought and water shortages, and trees and shrubs in mountainous areas have been dramatically reduced. Forests are being destroyed due to the sharp rise in logging as the province's 570,000 residents secure fuel for their homes and create livestock pasture. Japan has provided support to the provincial government and residents through activities including research into seedlings suited to arid land, human resource development and vocational training in forestry, and the development of forestry models for use on arid and semi-arid land. This support has established seedling cultivation technology for valuable tree varieties and has promoted understanding of community forestry20 in Kithi District. In order to expand the practice of community forestry by area residents, Japan has provided support since 2004 for enhancing the Kenya Forest Bureau's capability to promote the use of community forestry, for training personnel who promote agricultural technology, and for helping area residents formulate their own plans for implementing community forestry. In an effort aimed at area residents, Japan has provided support to 120 farm houses, which in turn have passed along community forestry technology to the surrounding farm houses. This support is expected to enable residents to improve their household income while managing forests through sustainable methods. Conserving forests through such responsible means leads to a reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and thus contributes to the perception of global warming.

Measures Against Yellow Sand (Asian Dust and Sandstorms) in China

In early spring, Yellow Sand (Asian dust and Sandstorms) from the arid regions of inland China is carried by wind to China's eastern districts and the Republic of Korea (ROK), then across the Sea of Japan to Japan. This sand has an impact on people's living; for example, by reducing visibility, it interferes with the operation of airplanes and other forms of transportation. It also has been reported that it affects human health by harming the respiratory system. In recent years the frequency of this airborne sand has been increasing in all regions of Japan. This increase is thought to be due to the rapidly expanding desertification of areas where this sand originates through overgrazing and conversion of forest to farmland. In areas where desertification is advancing, irrigation channels become filled with sand, and desert is replacing what once were cultivated fields, which is having a serious impact on agricultural production.

    To deal with this problem, Japan is supporting afforestation and revegetation of the inland areas where Yellow Sand originates. In the yen loan-assisted Loess Plateau Afforestation Project, Japan is supporting the forestation of approximately 300,000 hectares in order to prevent desertification and protect residential areas and farmland from the dispersal of sand. Afforestation also reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and thus the project also contributes to the prevention of global warming.

An environmental improvement project in China (left: after the procedure; right: before the procedure) (Photo: JBIC)
An environmental improvement project in China (top: before the procedure; bottom: after the procedure) (Photo: JBIC)

CDM Projects Using ODA

CDM was introduced by the Kyoto Protocol as a means of supporting measures against global warming in developing countries. It is a scheme whereby developed countries that have established targets for greenhouse gas reductions implement projects in developing countries that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and absorption of carbon dioxide. Developed countries then obtain credits, or CERs, for the reduction or absorption achieved by the project. While promoting measures against global warming on the one hand, CDM also promises to help developing countries secure additional investment in fields such as energy, thus contributing to sustainable development.

    Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan undertook the obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% below 1990 levels in the First Commitment Period from 2008 to 2012. Japan, which has made considerable progress through its existing energy conservation measures, will have difficulty achieving this target solely through these measures. For this reason, obtaining CERs through the use of CDM has considerable importance for Japan and, following international rules, Japan is promoting the effective use of ODA for CDM based on the consent of recipient countries.

    As mentioned previously, Japan's first CDM project using ODA—the Zafarana Wind Power Plant Project in Egypt—has been approved by the Government of Japan. The operation of this wind power facility would promise to lead to a yearly reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of 250,000 tons. Through continuous consultations with the Egyptian Government, procedures for application to the CDM Executive Board for this CDM project are moving forward. Up to now, there have been no applications to the CDM Executive Board for an individual project using ODA, and therefore it is considered important to accumulate applications for such a project as this. If this CDM project is approved by the CDM Executive Board, there will be a possibility for Japan to acquire the CERs arising from this project, helping it to achieve the reduction targets established by the Kyoto Protocol.

Existing facilities of Zafarana Wind Power Plant (Photo: JBIC)
Existing facilities of Zafarana Wind Power Plant (Photo: JBIC)

    Registration of a project with the CDM Executive Board as CDM involves complicated procedures for obtaining the approval of the governments of the concerned countries and requires specialized knowledge, which makes obtaining CERs through CDM difficult. One issue involved in implementing CDM is the shortage of human capacity in the developing countries accepting the projects. Japan is providing support for human resource development concerning CDM through technical assistance. In the Philippines, Japan has been implementing the Program for Capacity Development for Promoting CDM Projects since 2005 with a view to strengthening the capacity of CDM promotion agencies to formulate policies and provide information. In Argentina, Japan initiated a project in 2005 to build a foundation for promoting CDM, and its support for human resource development for promoting CDM projects has continued into 2006, including creating databases and holding workshops. Japan has also offered support for human resource development to Indonesia, Viet Nam, and Hungary and accepts trainees from developing countries. Through these human resource development projects, Japan is creating an environment for promoting CDM.

Column I-2 Transmitting Activities Contributing to the Prevention of Desertification from Person to Person: The Example of Efforts for the Prevention of Desertification in the Southern Part of Ségou Region, Republic of Mali