Global Environment

National Action Plan for Agenda 21 -Chap. 1

[Agenda 21] National Action Plan for Agenda 21

Chapter 1 PREAMBLE

Global environmental problems threaten the very foundation of human existence and must be dealt with immediately through the mutual cooperation of countries around the world. Developed countries should take the initiative in addressing the issues of environmental conservation, including the prevention of global warming among others. Furthermore, developed countries should provide assistance to developing countries to tackle these issues on a global scale, and to enhance the capacity of developing countries to achieve this goal. In this context, the international community as a whole should make efforts toward the attainment of sustainable development.

Japan has experience in environmental conservation and has developed excellent environmental technology while at the same time conducting large-scale economic activities. Japan intends to restructure its own socio-economic system into one that will enable sustainable development with reduced environmental load in order to allow future generations to inherit favorable global environmental conditions. At the same time, Japan is determined to take advantage of its own capability to make positive contributions to the furtherance of preservation of the global environment through international cooperation, in a way which is commensurate with the position Japan occupies in the international community.
With this view in mind, Japan played a positive part in formulating the consensus through the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) process, bridging the differing views expressed by developed and developing countries. At the UNCED, Japan announced that it would expand its environmental Official Development Assistance substantially, ranging from 900 billion yen to one trillion yen (7 to 7.7 billion US dollars) during a five year period which began in FY1992.

In the follow-up process of the UNCED, Japan signed and adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. In November of 1993, Japan enacted the Basic Environment Law, which established a framework of basic principles for environmental conservation on all levels, and basic measures based on those principles, thereby promoting the creation of a society based on sustainable development.Building on such efforts, Japan supports the implementation of the following measures:

Making efforts to construct a society that will allow sustainable development with a reduced load on the global environment, and enhance public awareness of the need to alter lifestyles itself to those which are more environment-friendly.
Actively participating in, and contributing to, the creation of an effective international framework supporting the conservation of the global environment.
Actively taking part in the international negotiations for creating effective financial mechanisms, particularly restructuring the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to deal with the conservation of the global environment.
Making efforts to promote environment-related technological development, and contributing to the capacity building of developing countries to address environmental problems by providing appropriate and well-planned official development assistance, including technology transfer.
Ensuring international cooperation on observation and surveillance, and on surveys and research that relates to the conservation of the global environment, as well as actually carrying out these activities.
Enhancing the level of effective cooperation among the major constituents of society, including the central government, local authorities, businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) of the United Nations is expected to play a central part in the follow-up activities for the UNCED. At the same time, various discussions aimed at the achievement of sustainable development are being held at multilateral fora, including those of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank, other international agencies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In addition to positively contributing to such multilateral discussions, Japan would like to enhance policy coordination with various countries through bilateral policy consultations.

This action plan presents an important first step for Japan in realizing the conservation of global environment through sustainable development. Japan would like to continue to play a leading role in addressing global environmental problems on a global scale, and is determined to make even greater efforts towards the steadfast implementation of measures incorporated in Agenda 21. Accordingly, it is necessary to review this action plan as the necessity arises in the future, and to make further efforts toward building a socio-economic system that is environmentally sound and sustainable.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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