Speeches by the Environment Minister

Statement by YAMAGUCHI Tsuyoshi, Minister of the Environment, Japan, at UNEP@50 (March 4, 2022)

Dear President, Executive Director Ms. Andersen, distinguished participants, I am Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Environment Minister of Japan. It is my great honor to deliver this message on behalf of the Government of Japan in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of UNEP.

The history of UNEP mostly overlaps with the history of Japan's Ministry of the Environment, which started in 1971.

When the Environment Agency was established, local pollution such as air and water pollution was the major concern in Japan, but over the 50 years, global environment issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss have become major issues. The Environment Ministry now covers both domestic and international issues.

In tackling these global environment crises, there are two factors. The first is that they should be dealt with based on the latest scientific knowledge of experts, and the second is that the international community must respond in unison.

In this respect, UNEP has played a critical role. For example, the IPCC, created by UNEP and WMO, has provided the scientific basis to address climate change in unison, and numerous MEAs such as the Montreal Protocol, CBD, CITES, Basel Convention, and the Minamata Convention on Mercury, have been prepared and supported by the experts under the guidance of UNEP.

Even with these vigorous efforts, new environment issues emerge. For example, marine plastic litters. We have to establish circular economies as its solution. Japan has been providing comprehensive and extensive support, ranging from institution building of environment policy measures to implementing concrete projects, through various initiatives including "JICA Clean City Initiative." Japan will continue to work in close cooperation with UNEP and other countries to solve global environment issues.

Dear colleagues, we have to work hard together to create a healthy and rich environment, because it is the basis of all life. We need a decarbonized and circular economy and society. With UNEP, let us make our one earth sustainable and resilient.

Thank you.