Japan announces new initiative with Asean on environment

|     James Kon     |

ITO Tadahiko, Japan’s State Minister of Environment in his opening remarks yesterday morning at the 15th Asean+3 Environment Ministers Meeting (APT EMM) held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) announced a new environmental cooperation between Asean and Japan named ‘Asean-Japan Environment Coo-peration Initiative’.

The initiative, he explained, “aims to drastically strengthen environmental cooperation between Asean and Japan”, adding that he is proposing “to collaborate with the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (ERIA) for research on circular economy and resource efficiency”.

The meeting, chaired by Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Bahrin bin Abdullah, was attended by ministers and heads of delegation from Asean member countries.

Representing the People’s Republic of China in the meeting was Vice Minister of Environment Protection Huang Runqiu, while Republic of Korea was represented by Director-General of the Ministry of Environment, Suh Min-hwan.

In his speech, the Japanese minister recalled the strong cooperative relationship bet-ween Japan and Asean in the environmental field. “Since the first Asean-Japan Summit meeting in 1977, Japan has been standing close to Asean as a partner, and contributing faithfully and steadily to the sustainable development of the region, while Asean has become the central region, both politically and economically. This is especially important for the environment, as the Asean economy is growing rapidly,” said the minister.

Ito Tadahiko, Japan’s State Minister of Environment speaking at the event. – JAMES KON

Japan and Asean have been promoting their environmental cooperation under the Asean +3 Environment Minister Meeting framework, and have utilised a scheme of the Japan Asean Integration Fund (JAIF) and Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).

Some of Asean’s achievements which have been made in collaboration with JAIF include the cleaning up of illegally-dumped tanker sludge, signing on to the Global Taxonomy Initiative for the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity, and preparation of reports for the Asean State of Environment.

In addition, to promote city-to-city cooperation in sharing Japanese expertise on overcoming pollution and climate change issues, Japan is implementing a number of JCM projects for mitigation in seven Asean member countries.

State minister of environment Tadahiko also recounted that “in 2015 when the previous AEMM was held, the world community agreed with two important commitments: the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDGs’ and ‘Paris Agreement’, which were adopted at the COP21”.

The minister continued: “Two years have passed since these epoch-making agreements. Towards overcoming the two great challenges of mankind: achieving sustainable development and reducing emission of GHG, we need to transform our environment, society and economy.”