Global Environment

National Action Plan for Agenda 21 -Chap. 33

[Agenda 21] National Action Plan for Agenda 21


In order to implement Agenda 21 on a global scale, it will be important for developed countries to provide assistance to developing countries in their efforts toward sustainable development. As a developed country, Japan believes that it should play a leading role in international cooperation as regards the environment and development.

I. Official Development Assistance (ODA)

As clearly indicated in Japan's Official Development Assistance Charter, which was announced in June 1992, Japan attaches central importance to support for the self-help efforts of developing countries towards economic take-off. It will therefore implement its ODA to help ensure the efficient and fair distribution of resources and "good governance" in the developing countries thorough the development of a wide range of human resources and socio-economic infrastructure, including domestic systems, and through meeting the basic human needs (BHN), thereby promoting the sound economic development of the recipient countries. In so doing, Japan will work for globally sustainable development while meeting the requirements of environmental conservation. In so doing, Japan will promote intensive policy dialogues with recipient countries, with a view to collecting and analyzing relevant information on these countries, and sharing with them basic perceptions on their development policies, taking into account their requests and ideas. At the same time, Japan's ODA will take advantage, to the maximum extent possible, of the merits of loans, grants, technical cooperation and other forms of assistance to respond to the various needs of developing countries in different stages of development. All of these forms of assistance will be organically linked together and coordinated.

Taking the above into account, Japan will attach importance to the implementation of the following activities as expressed at the UNCED.

Japan will expand its bilateral and multilateral ODA in the environmental field to around 900 billion yen to 1 trillion yen (7 to 7.7 billion US dollars) during the 5-year period beginning in fiscal year 1992.
Japan will contribute to preserving the earth's forests, waters and atmosphere and to enhancing the capacity of developing countries to tackle environmental problems through the appropriate and well-planned implementation of its aid.
As partnership with developing countries is indispensable for the successful implementation of environment-related ODA, Japan will do its utmost in the finding, formulation and implementation of effective projects through policy dialogue with developing countries.

Also, in addition to establishing the Fifth Medium-Term Target for ODA in June 1993, which provides for a total amount of 70 billion to 75 billion dollars in official development assistance over the 5-year period between 1993 and 1997, Japan announced the "Funds for Development" Initiative, which stated that over the next five years it will provide untied official financial cooperation to developing countries in an amount of approximately 120 billion dollars (not commitment base), and Japan will make efforts to steadily provide this assistance.

II. The multilateral development banks and funds

(I) The International Development Association (IDA)

Japan welcomes the agreement on IDA's tenth replenishment, totaling 13 billion SDR over a 3-year period beginning in July of 1993. Japan also notes with satisfaction the consensus among donors that poverty reduction, economic adjustment and growth, and environmental protection and improvement are IDA's principal objectives.

Japan regards the IDA highly as an important conduit for financial flows to poor developing countries. It will contribute 2.6 billion SDR, which accounts for 20% of the total amount of the tenth replenishment.

(II) The Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility should play a central role in the area of financial cooperation for dealing with global environmental problems, and in accordance with the indicator given by Agenda 21, it has been recognized that there is a necessity to encourage the prompt restructuring of the Global Environment Facility. Another important issue is the nature of the relationship to be established between the reformed Global Environment Facility and the financial mechanisms in the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" and the "Convention on Biological Diversity."

As a member state of the Global Environment Facility, Japan will take part in discussions for reforming the Global Environment Facility, thus allowing it to satisfy the conditions provided for in Agenda 21 and the two conventions mentioned above.
As it is necessary to secure appropriate financial resources for the construction of a mechanism to ensure the effective and efficient operation of the Global Environment Facility, Japan will study positive contribution to these matters.

III. Related International Agencies

(I) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

It is understood that the UNEP should play an even more important role in future as an organ for the overall coordination of activities within the United Nations System in the field of the environment, as well as an organ to play a catalytic role for the promotion of environmental conservation in the international community. Japan highly values the role played by the UNEP, and having contributed $9 million to United Nations Environment Fund in 1993, Japan will provide positive assistance to the UNEP, serving as the member state of the Governing Council of the UNEP.

Japan will continue to provide positive assistance for the activities of UNEP.
The UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre was established in Japan in October 1992, for the promotion of the transfer of environmentally sound technology to developing countries and economies in transition. This Centre was established as a result of then-Prime Minister Kaifu's initiative to invite the Centre to Japan, which he advocated at the Houston Summit. Japan will continue to provide positive assistance to the Centre.

(II) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The UNDP plays an important role in the promotion of assistance from the United Nations system to the measures taken by developing countries for implementing Agenda 21. For instance, the UNDP collects information from individual developing countries through UNDP personnel stationed in the field offices in those countries. Japan has been providing financial assistance to the UNDP, contributing $92.11 million in FY 1992, the third largest amount following the United States and Sweden. Japan considers it necessary to reinforce the network of UNDP's local offices to better meet the needs of local people and to allow UN activities at the local level to better suit local needs.

Japan will continue to vigorously support the UNDP activities.
In particular, Japan highly values the Capacity 21 project promoted by UNDP as a project that contributes to the capacity building of developing countries to deal with environmental problems, and has expressed its intention to contribute $10 million to this project. Japan will continue to support such activities.

(III)United Nations University (UNU)

The UNU, as the academic network agency in the UN system, plans to be engaged in the policy planning of actions indicated in Agenda 21, facilitate human resources, and implement those programmes aimed at policy-oriented academic studies ("UNU Agenda 21".) These actions will be implemented through its headquarters as well as research and study centres all over the world.

The UNU has compiled a report on what the UNU should do within the framework of Agenda 21 after preparatory surveys and meetings of eminent persons to effectively utilize Japan's financial contribution of $200,000.

Japan will continue to support the activities of the UNU with regard to the global environmental problems.

IV. Debt relief

Japan recognizes its international responsibility to make efforts to find a solution to the worsening accumulated debt problem of developing countries and other developed countries.

Japan has been implementing the following activities and will continue to do so.

Japan is promoting the steady expansion of official development assistance, as well as the flow of new funds to developing countries, in order to enhance self-help efforts of the developing countries. Japan has implemented the Financial Recycling Scheme for the 5-year period starting in 1987, totaling more than $65 billion and including private funding. Under this measure, it has provided assistance from official financial resources to Mexico, the Philippines and Venezuela, to which the Strengthened Debt Strategy is applied. Following the implementation of the Financial Recycling Scheme, Japan continued its assistance to the Philippines and Argentina through the application of the Strengthened Debt Strategy.
As regards low-income countries, Japan has implemented measures for grant aid for debt relief and non-project grant assistance.
As regards official debt, Japan has implemented debt relief measures through the Paris Club System. Particularly, as regards the debts of the poorest countries, Japan applies the Enhanced Toronto Terms, which is a measure to substantially reduce debts by 50%, and in regards to lower- and middle-income countries. Japan applies special measures based on long-term rescheduling.

V. Private funding

Japan recognizes that, in addition to official assistance for financial cooperation, the transfer of technology and the development of human resources, private businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play important roles in such activities.

In addition to highly valuing the activities of the private sector, Japan provides assistance for such activities of NGOs as those indicated in Chapter 27, and will continue to provide such assistance.
In May 1993 the Japan Fund for Global Environment, based on contributions from the national government and the private sector, was established. The Fund will provide assistance for the activities of NGOs toward global environmental conservation. It will also provide assistance to them concerning information, human resources, etc., which constitute a primary basis of such NGO activities.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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