A Meeting of World Leaders on "The Prince's Rainforests Project"
April 1, 2009
Prime Minister Taro Aso attended the meeting of world leaders on "The Prince's Rainforests Project" for about 40 minutes from 5:20 p.m. today. The meeting was hosted by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales at Clarence House, his official residence. Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano and other officials also attended. The gist of the meeting was as follows:
- The Prince's Rainforests Project was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales in October 2007 to develop an "emergency package" until the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism - now under negotiation under the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - is put into full operation, given the importance of conservation of tropical rainforests in addressing climate change.
- The meeting was attended by four British Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Energy and Climate Change, International Development, and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as the heads of state or prime ministers of nine countries including Japan (other countries being Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Indonesia, Guyana, Saudi Arabia and Norway), and the ministers of foreign affairs, finance, and others from four countries, namely the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Gabon. The other participants included the UN Secretary General, the President of the World Bank, and the President of the European Commission. Attendees from the private sector included the Chairman of Lloyds of London attended.
- At the opening of the meeting, The Prince of Wales welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of addressing the need for action against the destruction of tropical rainforests. British state secretaries explained that the UK Government is going to follow-up this meeting and an informal working group will be established for this purpose.
- This was followed by statements by participants. In his remark, Prime Minister Aso stated he -
- (1) respected His Royal Highness's passion and energy for the conservation of rainforests;
- (2) shared the view that addressing the ongoing destruction and forest degradation worldwide is an urgent issue and that the international community should take immediate and concrete action to that end; and
- (3) recognized that His Royal Highness's strong initiative had led to the formation of an informal working group, and the Government of Japan will participate in discussion of the working group with the expertise and experience the country has gained in its efforts to promote sustainable forest management.
- Other participants also acknowledged the importance of addressing the need for action against rainforest destruction, praised the initiative by His Royal Highness, and gave their endorsement to the proposal for the establishment of a working group.
- The Prince of Wales concluded the meeting by expressing his gratitude to the participants for their endorsement of his initiative and the proposal, and stressed that the most important thing is that there is limited time to address the issue.
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