Global Environment

The Eleventh Asia Pacific Seminar on Climate Change

[CHAIRMAN'S SUMMARY]

August 28-31,2001, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan


  1. Attendance
  2. Objectives of the Seminar
  3. Seminar proceedings
  4. Keynote address
  5. Scientific work in the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR)
  6. Sustainable Development and the Kyoto Protocol: Potential of CDM
  7. Adaptation measures in developing countries
  8. Promotion of the preparation of national communications under UNFCCC in Non-Annex I countries
  9. APNET
  10. Measures taken by local governments to address global warming and regional cooperation
  11. Closing Remarks

1. The Eleventh Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change was held in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka, Japan, from 28-31 August 2001. The Seminar was organized by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kitakyushu City, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), in cooperation with the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.

Attendance

2. The Seminar was attended by experts from eighteen countries, which included Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Tuvalu, United States of America, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The Seminar was also attended by representatives of thirteen organizations, namely ESCAP, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNFCCC Secretariat, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), and IGES. A number of resource persons from research institutes, universities, and private companies also attended the Seminar.

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Objectives of the Seminar

3. The major objectives of the Seminar were to exchange information, experience and views on climate change among the countries in Asia and the Pacific and to facilitate further activities to address the climate change in the region. The specific objectives were:

  • (a) to discuss the outcomes of the resumed session of the 6th Conference of the Parties (COP6) to the UNFCCC, to share scientific information, particularly that presented by the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Reports (TAR), and to discuss the incorporation of this knowledge into climate policy-making;
  • (b) to discuss and exchange views on the Kyoto Mechanisms, especially the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), with a view to achieving sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific;
  • (c) to share information on various ongoing national and international activities related to adaptation, and to share the adaptation measures being carried out in developing countries, especially with countries in the South Pacific region;
  • (d) to contribute to the development of national communications in non-Annex I countries, which is an important element in UNFCCC, by exchanging the experiences on the preparation and efforts in support of national communications;
  • (e) to review activities through the Asia-Pacific Network on Climate Change (APNET) and to discuss further development of the APNET; and
  • (f) to exchange and discuss views on measures taken by local governments to address climate change.

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Seminar proceedings

4. The seminar commenced with an opening address by Mr. Noriyasu Yamada, Councilor, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of the Environment, Japan. Mr. Yamada stated that the problem of the global warming is extremely serious and that it is becoming exceedingly important to pursue efficient mechanisms to address climate change in Asia and the Pacific. He hoped that the seminar would be successful in sharing and disseminating information and developing collaborative efforts to address climate change. He further affirmed the commitment of the Japanese government to the Bonn agreement at COP6.

5. Mr. Junichi Nagasawa, Vice-Governor, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, welcomed the participants and emphasized the need for the collective actions that countries should take in developing collaborative arrangements with international and other institutions. He mentioned that the present effort of mitigation alone is not sufficient and there is a need to establish a resource recycling society and to encourage harmony between people and nature. He also declared the commitment of Fukuoka Prefecture to assist in solving the environmental problems in Asia and the Pacific.

6. Mr. Kouichi Sueyoshi, Mayor, Kitakyushu City, Japan welcomed the opportunity to host the Seminar in Kitakyushu City and introduced various efforts made by Kitakyushu to address environmental issues. He also mentioned the "Eco Town Project", the ESCAP Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific 2000 (MCED2000), and the upcoming first meeting of the Kitakyushu Initiative Network among other activities in which Kitakyushu City is involved. He mentioned that the Kitakyushu Initiatives for a Clean Environment that had been adopted at MCED2000 would not only lead to a cleaner environment but also contribute to promoting measures to address global warming in the cities of the region.

7. The Seminar elected Mr. Hidefumi Imura, Professor of Nagoya University, Japan as Chairperson, Dr. Wanee Samphantharak, Deputy Secretary General, Office of Environmental Policy and Planning, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Thailand and Mr. Reazuddin Mohammad, Director, Department of Environment, Bangladesh as Vice chairpersons, and Mr. Peter Michael Brisbane, Climate Change International, Australian Greenhouse Office as Rapporteur. Mr. Yamada, Dr. Samphantharak and Mr. Masakazu Ichimura, Expert on Environmental Policies, Environment and Natural Resources Development Division, ESCAP chaired some sessions, having been entrusted by Professor Imura to perform the tasks of the Chairperson during his absence.

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Keynote address

8. At the opening session, Mr. George Manful, Programme Officer, UNFCCC Secretariat, presented the results of the resumed COP6 session and outlined issues to be resolved at COP7. Building upon the Bonn agreement, he emphasized the necessity for further success at COP7 in Marrakech, Morocco, 2001, and stressed that such success will promote early ratification and effective implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

9. Mr. Masakazu Ichimura, ESCAP, outlined the regional preparatory process towards the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) 2002 that is currently under way in the Asia-Pacific region. He stressed that this process was an opportunity to accelerate and reinforce the implementation of the Regional Action Programme (RAP) 2001-2005, in particular, in its programme areas of Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Development. He also emphasized that the regional preparatory process was designed to promote a broader participation of governments and stakeholders throughout the region, through subregional consultations and the Regional PrepCom to be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2001.

10. The status of preparation of domestic systems in Japan towards implementation of the Kyoto Protocol was introduced by Mr. Yasuo Takahashi, Director, Office of International Strategy on Climate Change, Global Environment Bureau, Ministry of the Environment, Japan. He reported that Japan had started preparatory work toward implementation of the Protocol, including the construction of a domestic system for reduction of domestic greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions using Kyoto Mechanisms, and establishing schemes for the follow-up and review of the measures taken.

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Scientific work in the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR)

11. Dr. Hiroki Kondo, Director, Climate Research Department, Meteorological Research Institute, on behalf of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Dr. Hideo Harasawa, Section Head, Environmental Planning Section, NIES and Dr. Tsuneyuki Morita, Director, Social & Environmental Systems Division, NIES, presented the outlines of the results of Working Group 1 (WG1), WG2 and WG3 of IPCC TAR, respectively. The IPCC Plenary accepted these results in April, 2001.

12. Dr. Kondo presented the historical trend of temperatures, carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHG concentrations in the global atmosphere based on the WG1 report. He also presented the observed changes in various climate parameters, results of simulation experiments on 21st century climate and projected the results of climate changes in the future. He also informed the Seminar that the WMO was considering the establishment of Regional Climate Centres.

13. Dr. Harasawa discussed the impacts on natural resources, adaptation capacity to climate change, and vulnerability in the Asia-Pacific region based on WG2 report. He stressed the importance of expanding research on the effects of climate change in the Asia-Pacific region.

14. Dr. Morita illustrated the main messages of WG3, which stated the need for a strong linkage between sustainable development and climate change mitigation, high technological potential with low costs for mitigation, and the necessity of overcoming barriers to implement technologies.

15. In response to the presentations on the IPCC report, some participants queried how to estimate the costs of the climate change adaptation and mitigation that appeared in the report. In addition, the participants emphasized the importance of popularizing the results of the IPCC to both government and private sectors.

16. Some of the participants reaffirmed that the issues of the mitigation of climate change in developing countries depend very much on political, economical and social factors, and stressed the importance of international cooperative efforts including those by GEF, UNEP, UNDP and UNFCCC Secretariat. The importance of involving the experts of developing countries was also emphasized in preparing for the IPCC Special Report on Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

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Sustainable Development and the Kyoto Protocol: Potential of CDM

17. Dr. Naoki Matsuo, Senior Research Fellow, Climate Policy Project, IGES outlined the potential role of the CDM and discussed its rules and modalities. He emphasized that the CDM has already entered the implementation phase and relevant institutions to maximize co-benefits are needed.

18. Possible methodologies for setting baselines for CDM projects were presented by Ms. Jane Ellis, Administrator, Climate Change, OECD. She highlighted the issue of standardizing baselines for CDM projects in the energy, industry and transport sectors, and indicated that baseline standardization could help facilitate a prompt start of the CDM.

19. Mr. Kazuhito Yamada, Leader of Global Environment Research Group, Pacific Consultants Co. Ltd., demonstrated the technical procedures for setting up CDM/Joint Implementation (JI) projects based on the preliminary results of the workgroup established by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. He emphasized the importance of standardizing procedures for CDM projects and the contribution this would provide to future technical work needed to establish baselines.

20. Some participants pointed out that understanding of the CDM and its potential to help achieve sustainable development have not been fully recognized by host countries and, therefore, the GEF, UNEP and UNDP should support the implementation of CDM capacity building activities in developing countries.

21. The results of two feasibility studies on CDM projects, which were commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, were presented. Mr. Bunichi Matsuda, General Manager of Overseas Projects Department, Japan Energy Research Centre Co. Ltd., reported on the results of the pilot study on Gasohol production using biomass ethanol from sugarcane in Vietnam. He also reported on the sustainable development benefits for this project as well as its potential for CO2 emission reduction.

22. Mr. Taigo Suzuki, General Manager, Environmental Business Division, Sumitomo Forestry Co. Ltd., reported on the key feature of the reforestation project underway in Indonesia. He emphasized that the project is characterized by a considerably long time-horizon and stressed the difficulties encountered in feasibility assessment. He also stressed the importance of gaining the understanding of the local people to ensure the success of the project.

23. Some participants pointed out that formulation of legal and institutional arrangements for CDM in a host country is necessary in order to carry out CDM projects successfully on a commercial basis. Most agreed that cooperation with local people would be vital for CDM projects and that careful consideration of effects on the local community would be an important element.

24. Ms. Ulka Kelkar, Area Convener, Centre for Global Environment Research, Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) described the use of renewable energy for CDM projects. She outlined the potential future of the CDM, with renewable energy meeting sustainable development criteria, and also indicated abatement costs for different technology types. She also stressed that CDM projects should be operated by a host country as a key player.

25. Dr. Arun Kashyap, Climate Change & CDM Adviser, Environmentally Sustainable Development Group, UNDP, presented the various activities and roles of the UNDPin promoting climate change activities in developing countries, using a framework of poverty eradication and sustainable development. He pointed out that it is particularly important in the implementation of a CDM project to support fundamental capacity building and technology transfer efforts that reflected national priorities for sustainable development.

26. Mr. Matthew Mendis, International Resources Group, introduced a case study from Kazakhstan that focused on criteria and procedures for screening, evaluating and approving CDM projects. In order to promote CDM projects, he suggested establishing an inter-ministerial body, identifying a focal point, and making rules and guidelines for enabling CDM in each host country. The representative of Kazakhstan added that the guideline presented in the case study was in fact being instituted in Kazakhstan.

27. Responding to questions, Mr. Mendis stated that the rules of the CDM projects should be clear and transparent, while minimizing the risks in the host country in order to encourage potential investors. He further added that the rules covering the buyer and host country on ownership of certified emission reductions (CERs) prior to their verification are also important and need to be clarified. Participants also raised questions on the ownership of the CERs attained from CDM projects and noted that baseline setting and validation are key factors in many CDM activities.

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Adaptation measures in developing countries

28. Dr. Shuzo Nishioka, member of Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the GEF, and Executive Director, NIES, noted the renewed interest in adaptation related activities, especially after the publication of IPCC TAR and the resumed session of COP6. He presented the activities of various international organizations, plus existing and planned funding mechanisms. He emphasized that the establishment of adaptation strategies is urgently required since some level of global warming is becoming inevitable.

29. Mr. Ravi Sharma, UNEP emphasized the potential effects of climate change in Asia and the Pacific and introduced the activities of UNEP in relation to adaptation and vulnerability assessments. He described a new project- Assessment of Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change in Multiple Regions and Sectors (AIACC) being jointly implemented by GEF/UNEP/IPCC. He further encouraged the participants from developing countries to disseminate this information and to submit pre-proposals. In response to questions, he clarified many details on the funding mechanisms, such as those under GEF- and AIACC- related procedures, and provided the deadlines for proposals.

30. Prof. Nobuo Mimura, Professor, Ibaraki University presented an overview of the adaptation assessments in the South Pacific that were supported by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. He identified the needs and problems regarding the vulnerability assessments, identification and implementation of adaptation options, and the transfer of technology. He stressed that capacity building, vulnerability assessment, and formulating realistic adaptation plans are vital for the future.

31. Mr. Poni Faavae, Assistant Climate Change Coordinator, Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment & Energy, Tuvalu, described adaptation experiences in Tuvalu, and indicated that it is one of the countries extremely vulnerable to climate change in the South Pacific. He called upon all of the developed countries to take a more constructive role in climate change negotiations relating to adaptation issues.

32. Mr. Andrea Olav Bing Volentras, Legal Officer, SPREP, discussed the results of the Pacific Islands Regional Meeting on Climate Change organized by SPREP in June, 2001.

33. Discussion included the role of mangroves in coastal areas, lack of research and the need for practical guidelines/resource books on adaptation to the climate change. The importance of measures to address the impacts of extreme events was also raised.

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Promotion of the preparation of national communications under UNFCCC in Non-Annex I countries

34. Mr. George Manful, UNFCCC Secretariat, outlined the current status of preparation of national communications from Non-Annex I countries. He further provided information on the support being given for their preparation. He mentioned that 55 out of 146 Non-Annex I countries had submitted their initial national communications, and that one country had already submitted its second national communication. He highlighted some of the difficulties encountered by countries in preparing their national communications, particularly that of their need for activity data and emission factors in the land use change and forestry (LUCF) sector.

35. Mr. Kiyoto Tanabe, Research Fellow, IGES, and Programme Officer, Technical Support Unit for the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme, described the support activities for the preparation of a national GHG inventory in the Asia-Pacific region, primarily through the Network for Asia Pacific to Improve GHG Inventories Database (NAPIID). He called for the active participation of regional experts in the NAPIID. He also introduced the on-going IPCC project to establish a database on GHG emission factors, intended to assist Non-Annex I countries in preparing reliable GHG inventories.

36. Dr. Nandita Mongia, Regional Manager for Climate Change, UNDP/GEF explained the linkage between UNDP's sustainable development activities to climate change mitigation and CDI initiatives taken through the GEF window. She shared the experience accumulated to date through UNDP/GEF's climate change activities in Asia and the Pacific, indicating that 25 countries in Asia and the Pacific have submitted their first national communication and that 16 of those countries have continued with further activities. She explained how experiences with ongoing CO2 mitigation projects would facilitate future effective implementation of CDM in host countries.

37. Mr. Agus Hidayat, Assistant Manager of Climate Change Unit, State Ministry for Environment, Indonesia, presented an account of making a national communication in Indonesia. Due to lack of experts and insufficient data to use as a basis, he suggested the establishment of national and international clearinghouses on data and information related to climate change issues.

38. Dr. Wanee Samphantharak, Thailand, presented Thailand's experiences in preparing its initial national communication. She pointed out that the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines could not be effectively applied to some sectors in tropical countries like Thailand, and suggested modifying the Guidelines to correspond to conditions and circumstances in specific areas.

39. Many participants shared the view that more financial and technical support would be needed to help Non Annex I countries to prepare their national communications. It was also considered essential to expand the communication networks and cooperative works through the Internet to facilitate the completion of national communications.

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APNET

40. Mr. Yasushi Hibi, Consultant, Land and Environment System Consulting Department, Nomura Research Institute (NRI), Ltd., presented a summary of APNET related activities. The APNET is the information network using the Internet, established and managed by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, based on the agreement reached at the Eighth Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change. NRI plays the role of the secretariat of the APNET. His presentation described the current use of the APNET by countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the results of capacity building programmes on information technology (IT) conducted in 2001, and proposed new ways to utilize and enhance the APNET. He indicated his belief that APNET should shift more toward providing its own contents, such as the information that may contribute to capacity building for CDM.

41. The Seminar expressed appreciation to the Ministry of the Environment of Japan for managing the APNET and for contributing to capacity building for IT skills in the Asia Pacific region. The participants noted the importance of networking climate change experts in the region so that they might exchange their knowledge, and realize "south-south co-operation." The participants expressed the hope that the APNET would provide information on various projects, initiatives and important web sites related to climate change in the region, including that compiled by TERI. It was hoped that the APNET would become a virtual CDM clearinghouse in the region without duplicating work of other initiatives.

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Measures taken by local governments to address global warming and regional cooperation

42. Mr. Masaharu Inoue, Director, Environmental Conservation Department, Kitakyushu City, Japan, explained how Kitakyushu City has managed to achieve economic development, control environmental pollution and simultaneously improve energy efficiency over the past decades through various measures, including the cleaner production (CP) projects. He also reported that Kitakyushu City has been collaborating with a number of cities in other Asian countries.

43. Participants pointed out that the initial investment required for CP measures was a major barrier for developing countries. However it was noted that there were a number of activities that could be implemented with a lower level of investment, including good maintenance programs.

44. Mr. Akira Watanabe, Vice Director, Fukuoka Research Centre for Recycling Systems, outlined the functions of the center established by Fukuoka Prefecture to promote research and development of recycling technologies and information exchange. The center is expected to facilitate the establishment of further recycling systems in the Asia-Pacific region.

45. Dr. Shinji Kaneko, Research Associate, IGES, made a presentation on current research activities regarding policy integration of energy related environmental issues in selected Asian Mega-cities. The research aims to develop policy oriented analytical tools to address local air pollution and GHG emissions.

46. Mr. Wayne Wescott, Executive Director, ICLEI Australia- New Zealand, presented the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program that has been implemented by councils in Australia. He informed the Seminar that CCP supports cities by organizing workshops, providing training, supplying media assistance, and facilitating information exchange. The program requires the cities to adopt a resolution to commit to targets contained within the framework of CCP milestones. These milestones include preparing an emissions inventory, setting a reduction goal, planning and implementing a local GHG mitigation strategy, and monitoring and reviewing results. He emphasized the ability of local governments to achieve large-scale benefits through implementation of small scale, less complex projects.

47. Ms. Pamela Gallares-Oppus, Regional Manager, CCP Southeast Asia, ICLEI, introduced examples of the climate protection campaigns taking place in the Philippines. She illustrated how cities in developing countries can improve the local environment while also protecting the climate.

48. In response to questions, additional information was provided on ICLEI activities in Australia and Philippines. These included securing sources of funding, developing collaboration with the local governments, and integrating their experiences and activities into policymaking at both local and national levels, including reporting such initiatives in a country's National Communication.

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Closing Remarks

49. It was recommended that the major outcomes of the Seminar be reported to the Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific (ECO-ASIA) in October of 2001 in Tokyo, Japan. The Chairperson's Summary of the Seminar was also to be disseminated as widely as possible.

50. The participants welcomed a proposal by ESCAP to host the Twelfth Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change in Bangkok, in co-operation with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Thailand, in the summer of 2002. The representative of ICLEI stated his willingness to co-operate with the Seminar next year. One of the participants mentioned the need for expanding the number of countries participating in the Seminar.

51. The participants expressed their appreciation to the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kitakyushu City, ESCAP and IGES for hosting the Seminar.

Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan, August 31, 2001

Hidefumi Imura
Chairperson
The Eleventh Asia-Pacific Seminar on Climate Change

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