Sustainable development is development that satisfies the needs of both future and present generations. Japan is making numerous efforts to realize global sustainable growth.
･Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
In 1992, the United Nation Environment and Development Summit held in Rio de Janeiro adopted the action plan titled “Agenda 21” that were related to international efforts concerning the environment, and the CSD was established at the United Nations. Japan is a participating country, and each year, particular topics are selected and discussions on the topics are held with the goal of realizing sustainable development.
･Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The United Nations has set 8 eight goals that the international society should achieve by 2015. The seventh goal includes "ensuring environmental sustainability." Japan is actively working to achieve the MDGs.
･Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD)
At the summit regarding sustainable development held in 2002, efforts to create "a world in which all people benefit from quality education and learn the values, actions, and lifestyles that are necessary for positive social change and sustainable future," were expected. This was the ideal of DESD proposed by Japan.
The Japanese government has positioned efforts related to global issues such as environmental problems a high priority within its "official development assistance (ODA) guidelines" and "medium-term ODA policy." Japan takes into account the environment when conducting ODA work, has created environment-friendly guidelines for the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and strives to thoroughly take the environment into account.
At the 2004 G8 Sea Island Summit, Japan proposed the adopted 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) as keywords to create an environmental-friendly society that balances the environment with the economy. There was an awareness of the importance of the 3Rs that are based on the idea spirit of mottainai (wasteful) from the perspective of conserving energy and natural resources.
Wangari Maathai (the Kenyan Vice Minister of the Environment) who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize was impressed by the Japanese word mottainai, and decided to spread the word along with the 3Rs throughout the world. In addition, at the 2005 meeting of the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women, she called on nations to make effective use of limited resources through sustainable development, realizable by the 4Rs (3R + repair) activities.
At all venues, including the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, and unofficial meetings related to "further actions to combat climate change" held in Tokyo since 2002, Japan has aggressively pushed all countries to create common rules.
･United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFC CC)
This is a convention on climate change which was adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit. The goals of the convention are to stabilize concentrations of green house gases, such as CO2 and methane, in the atmosphere. There are fears that these green house gases will negatively affect the ecosystem.
The Kyoto Protocol set a target for the reduction in emissions of gases such as CO2 by advanced countries and countries transitioning to a market economy by at least 5% (6% for Japan) compared to present levels between 2008 and 2012.
･United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
This is a convention that regulates support by parties such as international organizations and advanced countries that are signatories to the convention, to combat desertification in China, Mongolia, and Africa, which are facing serious droughts and desertification. The damage from "yellow sand" (Chinese dust storms) is also becoming serious for Japan, and the Japanese government is taking various steps to support the fight against desertification, which includes efforts based on official development aid (ODA).
Illegal logging is one man-made cause of forest destruction, a serious problem. Based on the basic idea that lumber from illegally-cut trees should not be used, Japan has promoted work towards sustainable forest management, which includes measures to combat illegal logging, at various venues such at G8 Summits and at conferences with the International Tropical Timber Organization and Asia Forest Partnership. These efforts are based on both bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Based on the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands that aims to protect internationally important wetlands as habitats for water birds and the animals and plants that populate wetlands, and to promote the appropriate use of these wetlands, Japan has designated 33 locations within Japan, such as the Kushiro Wetlands, as wetlands covered by the convention, and supports programs to restore wetlands, particularly in Asia, and activities to train personnel, to educate the public, and to spread knowledge regarding the problem.
In order to protect the ozone layer that shields the ecosystem and humans from ultraviolet light, Japan, as an advanced country with the technology and experience to protect the ozone layer, actively cooperates with internationally organizations.