Global Environment

National Action Plan for Agenda 21 -Chap. 40

[Agenda 21] National Action Plan for Agenda 21


A) Bridging the Data Gap

In order to realize sustainable development, it is necessary to have the deliberate and continuous collection and adjustment of accurate and appropriate information, which is the basis of decision-making.

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

Japan will continuously conduct observation, monitoring and surveys of the conditions of environmental pollution, including those of the air, the quality of public water bodies, ground water and soil, as well as observation, monitoring and surveys of the state of the natural environment, including biota, while substantiating and improving systems, as well as the related details and methods. As regards information concerning environmental changes on a global scale, Japan will conduct observation and monitoring from a long-range perspective, through international concerted action and cooperation, including the use of artificial satellites that make possible periodic and long-range observation of a wide scope of homogeneous data. Japan will also study the means by which international cooperation should be conducted, which is necessary for the promotion of the global-scale integration of geographical information, as well as conduct related technological development.
Japan will actively promote surveys and research, as well as joint international research, including the development of a high performance sensor, which make up the basis of the obtainment of high-quality information.
For sustainable development, Japan will promote the development of the indicator system for which environmental factors have been appropriately assessed, including the new System of National Account (SNA) that includes the Satellite System for Integrated Environmental and Economic accounting.
Clarifying the whole scope of environmental information through the development of the inventories of sources of environment-related information, Japan will work to improve the information which has been poorly developed despite its necessity for studying sustainable development.
Japan will actively participate in the planning and cooperate in international networks for development of environmental information.

40-B) Improving Availability of Information

For wide availability of necessary information for decision- making, the following issues are vital: providing information appropriately regarding the state of environmental load; providing information on policy measures and other activities for environmental conservation, with consideration given to the rights and benefits of individuals and companies; further improving the function of integrating the information and linking it to both understanding the actual environment and making decisions for improving the environment.

For this purpose, Japan has been carrying out; 1) annual submission to the Diet and publishing the 'Quality of the Environment' (white paper on environment protection), 2) development of the sources of environmental information, 3) development of methodologies for environmental indices in cooperation with the OECD etc. In addition to this, development of environmental information and its provision to the local people are promoted by local authorities, and other actions, such as making databases on environmental conservation activities, are taken by the private sector.

As an international activity, Japan begins to improve and provide information on global resources in the UNEP/GRID (United Nations Environment Programme/Global Resource Information Database) Tsukuba, and conducts activities related to databases regarding global environment and information networks in order to contribute to international and interdisciplinary research on the global environment. Japan has also put into practice the Committee for the Earth Observation Satellite/International Directory Network (CEOS/IDN), for the purpose of distributing directory information regarding catalogue information as well as the effects of earth science technology.

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

Promoting further public availability of environmental information, including that of environmental conditions, Japan will continue to make efforts for the easy access to environmental information.
Furthermore, Japan will do the following:
Through the UNEP/GRID Tsukuba, in addition to serving the function as a network for enriching the management of environmental information, particularly in Asia, Japan will place importance on constructing databases which include socioeconomic data in the world and promote the construction of a network which is coordinated with other research programs on the global environment.
Japan will promote the further enhancement and improvement of databases of environmental and other related information, as well as the provision of such information at a low cost.
Japan will appropriately conduct the collection, improvement and provision of information, which is necessary for environmental conservation activities by private organizations, including foreign organizations.
Japan will improve and expand the network of observation data from Earth observation satellites, including the expansion of this network into the Asia-Pacific region.
Japan will make technological developments, studying ways of international cooperation in improving geographical information on the entire Earth.
Japan will promote the improvement of data that assist development and improvement of the indicators for sustainable development such as environmental resource accounting.
By collecting environmental information both in Japan and abroad, in order to further promote the integration of environmental information and the use of this information in decision-making, Japan will further enhance and improve the organizations which carry out the main functions of collection, improvement and analysis of environmental information in national and local authorities, and provide support for these kinds of privately conducted activities.
Among these organizations, Japan will improve the mutual use of environmental information, as well as improve the basis of the network for providing related assistance. Particularly, Japan will enhance the role of local authorities, which have accumulated knowledge regarding the improvement of environmental information and understand the needs of local people properly.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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