Nature & Parks

The First National Report - Chapter 1

[International Cooperation] The First National Report under The Convention on Biological Diversity

Chapter 1. Preface

1.1 Summary of Report

The environment today shows various problems of a global magnitude. We need to tackle such problems for the well being of both present and future generations.

With the participation of many countries and regions of the world at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) held in June 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity (hereinafter referred to as "CBD") was signed by 157 countries. Since then, biological diversity has been accepted as one of the most important environmental issues.

The existence of humankind, who shares the global environment with other species, depends on biological diversity. Because biological diversity is the source of many blessings, it is important to protect it and ensure its sustainable use.

This report includes the contents of the National Strategy of Japan on Biological Diversity (hereinafter referred to as "National Strategy") and its implementation system, in accordance with the Annex to the Decision 11/17 adopted in the 2nd meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, and we hereby present it in compliance with Article 26 of the CBD.

The report consists of seven chapters, each of which is summarized as follows:

The first chapter acknowledges the significance and value of biological diversity and describes the preparation for enforcing CBD. The second chapter gives an overview of the status of biological diversity in Japan to provide the background for measures relating to biological diversity. In accordance with the National Survey on Natural Environment, the three levels of biological diversity are described. The first level describes the current state of ecological diversity, which covers forests, grasslands, wetlands, rivers and lakes, and coastal areas. The second level describes the current state of species diversity based on various survey results such as the Red Data Book. The third level describes the current state of genetic diversity, which is not sufficiently known. The third chapter describes major legislation, guidelines, etc. that are the basis of measures for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. It also introduces the framework of administrative organizations for the enforcement of CBD, the purpose of the National Strategy, its characteristics and subjects, and the planning and establishment of the National Strategy. The fourth chapter describes the objectives of the National Strategy and items that serve as the basic policy for promoting the National Strategy. The fifth chapter describes the preparation for realizing the objectives of the National Strategy and the basic directions of measures for each field, such as the guidelines for implementing the National Strategy and cooperation with various plans. The sixth chapter describes the fundamental concepts of measures for the respective fields and major measures based on these concepts for promoting the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. The last chapter describes the implementation system of the National Strategy, as well as the monitoring and review of the National Strategy.

Japan recognizes that it is essential to conserve biological diversity and to use its components in a sustainable manner, for the sake of the present and future generations, as stated in the preamble of CBD. Japan will faithfully implement the National Strategy, which provides the fundamental framework for its measures.

[International Cooperation] The First National Report under The Convention on Biological Diversity

Chapter 1. Preface

1.2 Significance and Value of Biological Diversity in Japan

The Japanese archipelago consists of various topography and climate conditions and has rich biota corresponding to the wide array of habitats. Living organisms are an indispensable component of the ecosystem on which the humankind depends for survival. The existence of diverse biota has a significant role in maintaining a sound natural environment for the national land where the Japanese people live. Contact with various animals and plants as well as the natural landscape enrich their lives. Biological diversity is important also from the perspectives of education, culture, recreation, arts, and so on.

Japan has a tradition of using biological resources in a sustainable way, as exemplified by the wetland paddy farming, which has been continued for over two thousand years. Nowadays, biological resources and their habitats are utilized for many more purposes, ranging from agriculture, forestry, fisheries, to industrial utilization and biotechnology.

Wildlife and its habitat are irreplaceable as the utilization of these resources brings significant benefits to humankind. With the advancement in biotechnology, their potential value as genetic resources has become even higher.

On the other hand, the natural forests and tidal flats in Japan have decreased nationwide because the natural environment has been altered by development activities carried out especially during the era of rapid economic growth after the World War ll. The habitat of wildlife has also been deteriorated by contamination and pollution because of urbanization, etc. Rare species have increasingly been over-exploited. Furthermore, the degeneration of woody hills near cities is threatening the living and breeding of wildlife that depends on such environment.

As a result, the existence of many species is being threatened in Japan. Globally, the decrease of species due to deforestation in tropical areas, etc. is advancing on an alarming scale.

The ecosystems in different regions are connected to each other, forming the global ecosystem. The conservation of biological diversity, therefore, shall be carried out taking into account these regional and global relationships.

From this viewpoint, it is extremely important for Japan to promote the conservation of biological diversity and sustainable use of its components in order to preserve resources for future generations and to shoulder responsibility as a member of the international community.

[International Cooperation] The First National Report under The Convention on Biological Diversity

Chapter 1. Preface

1.3 Japanese Preparation for the Convention on Biological Diversity

Japan actively participated in the negotiations with other countries from the planning stage of CBD. The CBD was signed by 157 countries including Japan at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) held in June 1992 and entered into force on December 1993. Japan concluded it on May 1993 and became its 18th Party.

In parallel to this scheme formation, Japan enacted "the Basic Environment Law" in 1993, in which the "Security of Biological Diversity " is positioned as one of the items to be considered in both the planning and implementation of measures for the conservation of the environment. The Basic Environment Plan, formulated under the provisions of the Basic Environment Law in December 1994, also stipulated the planning and establishment of the National Strategy based on the CBD.

Following the entry into force of the CBD, Japan established "the Inter-ministerial Coordinating Committee to the CBD," comprising of ministries that implement measures relating to the CBD, to prepare an intra-governmental system to promote the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components.

The Inter-ministerial Coordinating Committee to the CBD took the lead in drafting the National Strategy, which was adopted in October 1995 at the Council of Ministers for Global Environment Conservation.

At present, the relevant ministries and agencies are implementing various measures based on the National Strategy in conjunction with other bodies.


Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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