In September 2015, “the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was adopted at the United Nations. The agenda addresses three dimensions of sustainable development - economic, social, and environmental. Also, as many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are closely linked with the environmental dimension, it can be said that environmental problems are still considered as a commonly important issue to be overcome by the international community. In particular, many countries in developing regions are facing increasing problems such as urban air pollution, water pollution, deterioration of health environment, forest and soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, and marine pollution, due to the combination of various factors including population growth, urbanization, industrialization, and poverty. Moreover, the world is now facing wide-ranging issues such as climate change and acid precipitation due to transboundary pollutants discharged from many countries.
Such problems have threatened not only human life and health, but also endanger the base for development of future generations due to deterioration of environmental resources. In order to eradicate poverty and ensure that environmental wealth is passed on to future generations, it is necessary to tackle these environmental problems in line with the concept of “sustainable development.”
The Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOEJ) has contributed to various types of international cooperation under the concept of Clean Asia Initiative (CAI). Japan has experienced serious industrial pollution and other environmental degradation in the process of its rapid economic development, and has overcome these problems through all-out efforts by the national and local governments, business sector, and each citizen. Today, Japan is working on the problems of waste disposal and other pollution issues related to everyday living, global warming and conservation of nature. By taking advantage of these experiences and technologies developed through such processes, Japan is promoting international cooperation to deal with environmental problems. Making use of these experiences and technologies, Japan also contributes to achieving sustainable development in cooperation with other countries around the world, in particular on environmental protection activities in developing countries.