Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2005 > Chapter 2 Details about Japan's ODA > Section 2. Measures for Each of the Priority Issues > 3. Addressing Global Issues > (1) Environmental Issues

(1) Environmental Issues

Global warming and other environmental issues have been discussed in the international arena since the 1970s. Through discussions that were held at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, also called the Earth Summit) in 1992 and at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) of 2002 the importance of these issues has been increasingly recognized.

    Japan has been focusing on environmental issues, acknowledging their potential for affecting the entire human race. Under the Environmental Conservation Initiative for Sustainable Development (EcoISD),28 which was formulated in 2002 on the occasion of the WSSD, Japan has been providing assistance to deal with global environmental issues. Furthermore, the new Medium-Term Policy on ODA formulated in February 2005 addresses environmental issues under the heading of addressing global issues. Japan disbursed a total of ¥309 billion in the area of environment in FY2005, in the form of grant aid, yean loans, technical cooperation, and contributions to international organizations. This accounts for approximately 29% of Japan's ODA in FY2005.

    Chart II-16 Implementation Status of the Environmental Conservation Initiative for Sustainable Development (EcoISD) for FY2005 (Sample)

Chart II-16 Implementation Status of the Environmental Conservation Initiative for Sustainable Development (EcoISD) for FY2005 (Sample)

A. Actions against Global Warming

Under the Kyoto Initiative29 which was launched in 1997 Japan has been working to transfer and disseminate technologies that contribute to actions against global warming in developing countries. In addition, Japan has been striving to enhance the capacity of these countries to address the problem from scientific, social, and institutional standpoints.

    The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)30 created by the Kyoto Protocol contributes to reducing greenhouse gas and promotes the sustainable development of developing countries. It is also an important mechanism for Japan to achieve the emission reduction commitment. After the Kyoto Protocol came into effect in February 2005, Japan formulated the Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan. In the plan it is stated that the various government ministries will, at their own initiative, advance efforts for the promotion and utilization of CDM projects using ODA in conformity with international rules and on the premise of the agreement of the recipient country. In January 2006, the Government of Japan approved the Zafarana Wind Power Plant Project in Egypt, Japan's first ever CDM project utilizing ODA. This project was approved by the Government of Egypt in June 2006 and the application procedure for registration with the CDM Executive Board is currently underway (see Part I, Chapter 2, Section 3 for details on CDM projects and Zafarana Wind Power Plant Project).

B. Pollution Control

Tackling its own pollution problems, Japan has accumulated a great amount of experience and technology. Making most of such experience and technology, Japan cooperates with developing countries in addressing their pollution issues. Particularly, higher priority has been given to supporting pollution control and improving the living environment (air pollution, water contamination, waste management, etc.) in urban areas, mainly in the Asian countries achieving rapid economic growth.

    In FY2005 Japan decided to extend a yen loan to India with the objective of improving solid waste management in the Kolkata metropolitan area. The Kolkata metropolitan area is an economic and industrial hub of eastern India and the amount of solid waste there is increasing. Therefore, this project aimed to develop final disposal sites for the sanitary processing of general solid waste and facilities for composting, thereby improving the living and sanitary environments of the local residents. Furthermore, to date Japan has provided assistance to China for many environmental improvement projects. An ex-post evaluation conducted by JBIC in 2005 evaluated 16 yen loan projects (worth approximately ¥160 billion) aimed at combating air pollution and water contamination in priority regions in China, all approved by the Government of Japan between FY1996 and FY2000. The results showed that as of 2003 the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in exhaust gases had been reduced by 190,000 tons per year and the amount of organic compounds in drainage water had been reduced by 340,000 tons per year (COD31 equivalent). Moreover, as Japan provides assistance to develop urban environmental infrastructure, it is expected that Japan's urban gas projects will provide services to 3.95 million people in 10 cities, regional heating supply projects will supply services to more than 900,000 people in six cities, and sewage projects will provide services to more than 13 million people in 28 cities.

C. Addressing the Issue of Water

In relation to environmental protection, Japan has been implementing support for water supply and sewage systems that take into account the characteristics of urban and rural areas and for water resource management and water quality control (see Chapter 2, Section 2 for details).

D. Conservation of the Natural Environment

Japan has been providing support to developing countries for nature reserve management, promotion of sustainable forest management, prevention of desertification, and natural resource management, while taking into account the poverty reduction of the residents. Furthermore, the National Strategy on Biological Diversity of Japan, approved by the Council of Ministries for Global Environment Conservation in March 2002, states that Japan needs to contribute actively to the conservation of biodiversity in the Asian region in light of Japan's deep relationship with the world, particularly with the Asian region, both in terms of the natural environment and socio-economics.

    Desertification caused by overgrazing, deforestation, and other factors has developed into a serious issue. Since 2004 Japan has been providing assistance for a pilot project in Burkina Faso in West Africa which transfers local indigenous technologies and simple technologies which utilize traditional knowledge (soil conservation technologies, livestock and crop farming technologies, and lifestyle improvement technologies, among others) in order to combat desertification.

    Since 2004 in Ethiopia Japan has been cooperating with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and continuously working on the development of an integrated soil conservation system for agriculture, grazing, and forestry. It is a recycling system which makes use of local resources such as water, undergrowth in forests, excrement, and other materials. Furthermore, in recent years in Northeast Asia receding grassy plains due to overgrazing by nomads and other factors has led to an expansion of deserts, and as a result yellow dust carried by seasonal wind is affecting nearby residents and Japan as well. For this reason Japan has conducted a practical study on the resolution of technological issues such as conservation and management of agricultural land and grassland, water resource management, and the use of renewable energy in Mongolia, which is one of the places of origin of the yellow dust. Japan has been working on measures to reduce the occurrence of yellow dust.

Countermeasures for the occurrence of dust and sandstorms in Mongolia (Photo: Japan Green Resources Agency)
Countermeasures for the occurrence of dust and sandstorms in Mongolia (Photo: Japan Green Resources Agency)

E. Cooperation with the International Community

Global-scale efforts include the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which is an international financial mechanism; the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO);32 and the Multilateral Fund (MLF), which has been set up and run based on the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Japan has been utilizing these international funds and advancing active measures in international organizations. For example, through the ITTO, Japan has supported the project for Conservation and Recovery of Degraded Land in Brazil in order to rehabilitate degraded land, develop forest revitalization technologies, and develop laws related to the environment. Moreover, in the Republic of Congo, it has supported the project for Biodiversity Management and Wildlife Conversation in Northern National Parks which has the goal of formulating an ecosystem conservation and management plan for national parks and monitoring its progress. Japan is also tackling global environmental problems through the Multilateral Fund based on the Montreal Protocol. For example, it has approved projects that help facilities using substances that deplete the ozone layer in China and India, which are undergoing remarkable economic development, to switch to alternative substances and alternative technologies, and projects that provide training to technicians. In 2001 Japan cooperated in launching the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) and works in concert with neighboring countries in taking measures against acid rain in this region among neighboring countries.