Statement by Ms. Chinami Nishimura
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Sixteenth Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
April 28, 2010
His Excellency Lyonchen Thinley, the Prime Minister of Bhutan and the Chair of SAARC,
Representatives of SAARC member states, Observer States and Organisations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me express my heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of the sixteenth SAARC summit meeting. I am grateful for being granted this opportunity to say a few words on behalf of the Government of Japan.
Since I arrived in Bhutan yesterday, I have been struck by the sight of the people here living peacefully in harmony with nature. Being here has also made me think about how retreating glaciers and glacial lakes outburst floods in the Himalayas caused by global warming can affect Bhutan's ecosystem and the lives of the people in its mountainous areas. During this summit meeting, led by His Excellency Lyonchen Thinley, the leaders will have opportunities to hold dialogues on regional cooperation in addressing climate change. This clearly shows a strong sense of crisis shared among the South Asian countries. Japan has the same concerns and highly appreciates the initiative of SAARC on this issue.
It was a significant achievement that the Copenhagen Accord was formulated at the final stage and the decision to take note of the Accord was adopted at the COP 15. The Copenhagen Accord is a comprehensive agreement and constitutes an important step towards the formulation of a legally-binding document. More than 110 countries, including many SAARC member states, have already expressed their association with this Accord. Building on this Accord, Japan will continue to seek to expeditiously adopt a comprehensive new legally-binding document that establishes a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate. In this regard, Japan will do its utmost to help bring about a successful outcome at the COP 16, supporting the Presidency, Mexico.
South Asian countries hold a much higher potential for further growth and development than what is now visible on the surface. In order to achieve sustainable development without harming their vast and rich natural heritage, building a low-carbon society will be essential. In this connection, recognizing the important role of India as a driver of growth not only in South Asia but in the whole Asian region, we very much hope that this region will achieve low-carbon growth.
The Maldives, facing rising sea levels caused by climate change, held a cabinet meeting under water. Nepal, suffering the impact of melting glaciers in the Himalayas, held one at the foot of Mount Everest. Japan shares deep concerns of these South Asian countries and welcomes their efforts for tackling climate change seriously as a clear and present danger to their own national interest.
Combating climate change requires the mobilisation of large-scale funding. Japan has announced plans to provide fast-start financing in the amount of about 15 billion US dollars in total up to 2012 under the Hatoyama Initiative. Under this initiative, Japan has already supported projects in some South Asian countries to introduce low-carbon energy such as solar power generation. Japan will continue to assist this region's concerted efforts to address climate change as well as vowing to pursue international discussions on this issue in close cooperation with South Asian countries.
If South Asia is to achieve growth and development at a level that matches its potential, promoting regional cooperation in broad areas is indispensable. In this regard, Japan has actively supported SAARC member states in a variety of ways, which you can see from the leaflet distributed today.
Working towards stability and prosperity in South Asia, Japan will continue to actively support SAARC member states in their regional cooperation endeavours, based on our three pillars of assistance as well as in the field of climate change. As neighbours in Asia, we share a common responsibility to preserve Asia's abundant nature for future generations while achieving development and prosperity. I conclude my remarks by expressing my sincere wish that this summit will adopt a meaningful statement that puts the SAARC leaders at the very forefront of the international community's efforts in this regard.
Back to Index