Global Environment

National Action Plan for Agenda 21 -Chap. 35

[Agenda 21] National Action Plan for Agenda 21

Chapter 35 SCIENCE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

A) Strengthening the Scientific Basis for Sustainable Management

In order to promote sustainable development, it is necessary to inform policy makers, as well as the general public, of the range of measures which Japan might adopt in future, forecasting the effects which development will have on society, the economy and nature. It is necessary to base both environmental and developmental policies on the latest scientific knowledge, while taking into account the various uncertainties. For this reason, in addition to improving scientific understanding, which is necessary for clarifying the mechanisms of environmental change, scientific prediction, and drawing up measures for sustainable development, it is important to establish methods for the appropriate provision of information through these means.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Having experienced serious pollution in the past, Japan has actively promoted scientific research, which is the basis for solving problems of domestic pollution. Japan will treat local and global environmental issues as mutually-related issues, promote research aimed at achieving sustainable development, seek a socioeconomic approach aimed at sustainable development, promote the formation of long-term environmental measures, risk management, technological assessment, and conduct observation and monitoring of the environment. Japan will also make improvements in a system for fostering and securing capable people and strengthening basis of research and development in order to conduct and assist this research.
(2)
When reaching agreement concerning policies related to sustainable development, Japan will appropriately inform the general public, if necessary, in order to improve their understanding of the policies.
(3)
By promoting the positive transfer of scientific knowledge to developing countries to contribute to their understanding of pollution-related problems, Japan aims to contribute to the solution of pollution-related problems in these countries. Giving due consideration to the specific characteristics of global environmental problems which are not restricted to the territory of any one country, Japan will also promote international joint scientific research which contributes to the assurance of sustainable development around the world.
(4)
Actively participating from the planning stages in worldwide research projects, including the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Charge Program (HDP), as well as in such scientific assessment activities as those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Japan will conduct related interdisciplinary studies, which are natural science studies infused with the viewpoints of the humanities and social sciences. Furthermore, as a country of the Asia-Pacific region, Japan will actively contribute to regional development, including the construction of a research network for the promotion of effective research in this region.

35-B) Enhancing Scientific Understanding

In order to promote sustainable development, in addition to deepening the basic understanding of the intricate global system, which is composed of the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the geosphere, and the biosphere, it is necessary to enhance the understanding, by means of surveys, research, observation and monitoring, of the mutual effects between human activities and changes in the global environment which accompany human activities, and to gain knowledge on the capabilities of the globe to purify itself and recover its own environment.

Giving due consideration to the Basic Plans for Research and Development on Earth Science and Technology and the Comprehensive Promotion Program for Global Environment Research, Monitoring and Technology Development, Japan is promoting the enhancement of the scientific understanding regarding the Earth and its phenomena, and promoting comprehensive research regarding the mutual relationship between human activities and changes in the global environment.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Japan will promote research and development on the Earth observation technology that is necessary for marine observation, land observation and aerial observation, including an artificial satellite that can observe the Earth on a wide scope in a short period of time, as common and basic technology for the purpose of accumulating scientific knowledge regarding the Earth.
(2)
As regards Earth observation by satellites, Japan will actively participate in activities of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), which coordinates, on a global scale, programs on development and launching of earth environment observation satellites as well as construction and improvement of the ground systems for data reception, data processing and their distribution. Japan will also promote its program on earth observation satellites in coordination with these activities of the CEOS.
(3)
Organically combining various kinds of observation technologies to promote a structural system capable of worldwide observation and monitoring, as well as concentrated observation of specific regions which are closely related to environmental change, Japan will contribute towards the construction of a global systemthat incorporates such systems as the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).
(4)
Participating in and cooperating with the Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS) and the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), Japan will contribute to worldwide observation and monitoring, giving due consideration to its own international role.
(5)
Cooperating with worldwide research programs, including the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Program (HDP), Japan will actively promote clarifications of and research on various phenomena on a global scale, research regarding the mutual relationship between human activities and global changes as well as interdisciplinary studies, which are natural science studies infused with the viewpoints of humanities and social sciences. In addition to promoting surveys and research that place particular importance on the Asia-Pacific region, Japan will also make efforts to establish a network for global change research in this region.
(6)
Japan will contribute to efficiently processing and analyzing data obtained through observation, drawing up a data set through which global environmental problems can be appropriately dealt with, and improve the database and directory database concerning the findings of such observation. Japan will also contribute towards the construction of an international network of Earth observation-related information.

35-C) Improving Long-Term Scientific Assessment

In order to conduct long-term scientific assessment for the purpose of sustainable development, it is necessary to improve data and statistics concerning the various problems of the environment and development, and to develop and use new assessment methods.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Japan has made improvements in the various kinds of data and statistics concerning social and economic activities and the state of the environment, and it will continue to promote the collection and improvement of these data and statistics.
(2)
In addition to making efforts to smoothly provide these data, if necessary, to agencies, institutes, and the general public, in Japan or abroad, Japan will also promote concerted action and cooperation with United Nations organizations and agencies.
(3)
In order to make it possible to assess environmental changes on a global scale, Japan will conduct observation and monitoring of the environment through international concerted action and cooperation, and improve the accuracy of this observation and monitoring.
(4)
Japan will develop methods for assessing the effect on the environment as regards the improvement of macro-scale social overhead capital in various regions of the world.

35-D) Building Up Scientific Capacity and Ability

In order to solve the various problems concerning development and the environment, it is necessary to build up the scientific capacity of each country, particularly that of developing countries.

Thus far, Japan has been making efforts to improve the capacity and ability in developing countries through various means, including official development assistance, and further contributions will be necessary to continue improvement of the scientific capacities of these regions, and foster human resources and information networks.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Japan will foster and secure capable people, expand investments on research and development, strengthen infrastructure for research and development, and strengthen international activities on science and technology, etc., at the universities, national research organizations, and other organizations.
(2)
Particularly in helping developing countries to help themselves, focusing on the development of human resources, Japan will qualitatively and quantitatively improve upon its scientific and technological cooperation, as indicated below. The basic idea is to provide fine-tuned cooperation in accordance with the state of affairs of the countries it is dealing with.
(i)
Increasing opportunities for dialogue with developing countries, and improving its liaison function, through which it provides advice and information regarding the science and technology of developing countries and Japan.
(ii)
Improving the technical cooperation it provides through official development assistance, including the reception of trainees from developing countries and the dispatch of experts to these countries, as well as maintaining closely concerted action through such means as financial cooperation
(iii)
Improving cooperation in the nurturing of human resources, as well as structural and continuous development of research cooperation
(iv)
Providing efficient cooperation by maintaining closely concerted actions between research activities and technical and financial activities
(3)
By means of expanding and improving the information network which ties together national institutes involved in experimentation and research, as well as expanding and improving databases and directories, including those of environmental information, Japan will promote the domestic distribution of scientific and technological information, as well as promote the construction of a network of information which is internationally available.
(4)
Providing assistance to the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre, Japan will make efforts to construct and circulate a database of environmental conservation technology, which will serve as a basis for the transfer of technology to developing countries.
(5)
Japan will contribute to independent and continuous development in nearby countries through science and technology, and through improving the functions of the Association for Science Cooperation in Asia (ASCA) as a forum for scientific and technological policy. Japan will also develop and expand upon the ASCA's cooperation programs which place importance on the fostering of human resources and information networks.
(6)
Japan will also consider promoting new forms of intergovernmental cooperation in regards to science and technology, bearing in mind existing international agreements, including existing related projects in Japan and abroad, as well as the framework of multilateral cooperation, and bilateral scientific and technological cooperation and agreements.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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