The Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting

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    Joint Communique
    The 18th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting
    Among Japan, Korea and China
    26-27 April 2016, Shizuoka, Japan

    1. At the invitation of Minister MARUKAWA Tamayo of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Minister YOON Seongkyu of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea and Minister CHEN Jining of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People's Republic of China, visited Shizuoka, where the three Ministers met for the 18th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting (TEMM18) on 26-27 April 2016.

    2. The Korean and Chinese Ministers conveyed their sincere condolence to Japan, which had been hit hard by massive earthquake in Kumamoto area of Japan in April 2016, and expressed their willingness to provide every possible support to help Japan recover from the disasters.

    The Commitment made by the Leaders of the Three Countries

    3. The Ministers noted ''Joint Statement on Environmental Cooperation'' issued by the leaders of the three countries at the 6th Trilateral Summit in Seoul, Korea in November 2015. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of sustainable development for building a future of peace and prosperity where people live in harmony with the planet. In this regard, the three countries will make concerted efforts to realize sustainable development and transform our world by balancing economic development, social integration and environmental protection, based on global solidarity and shared responsibility.

    4.The Ministers recalled that the importance of the tripartite environment cooperation was emphasized and the adoption of the Tripartite Joint Action Plan on Environmental Cooperation (2015-2019) was welcomed by the leaders, and reaffirmed the importance of further enhancement of the environmental cooperation among the three countries.

    Latest Development of Environmental Policies in Three Countries
    5. The Ministers shared the recent progress in each country regarding environmental policies since TEMM17. They delivered speeches titled, "Latest Trends in Environmental Policy" by Japan, "Policies for High Quality Environmental Welfare 2016" by the Republic of Korea and "Adhere to the Concept of Green Development and Achieve the Overall Improvement of Ecological Environment Quality" by the People's Republic of China. The Ministers welcomed the progress and shared their recognition that these environmental policies would contribute to the integrated sustainability of environment, economy and society in Northeast Asia, and would lay a solid foundation for solving environmental in the regions as well as on a global scale.

    6. In response to the Kumamoto Earthquake, the Minister MARUKAWA emphasized the importance of preparing environment related measures such as managing the wastes originating from natural disasters, and proposed that Japan would prepare an opportunity among the three countries to share experience and know-how on disaster waste management including proper management and reuse of the large amount of wastes generated from disaster sites, enhancement of waste management facilities resilient to disasters, and enrichment of networks for supporting affected municipalities. The Chinese and Korean Ministers welcomed the proposal of Japan and shared the recognition on the importance of close cooperation among the three countries in this regard.

    Major Policies to Address Regional and Global Environmental Issues

    7. The Ministers welcomed the adoption of the two important international frameworks, "the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" and "the Paris Agreement," which were finalized in the relevant meetings of the United Nations last year, and recognized that the implementation of policies and measures from this year is important to achieve their goals and targets.

    The Ministers exchanged their respective countries' major policies for addressing global and regional environmental issues, specifically "Key Policies for Global and Regional Environmental Issues" by Japan, "Response to Regional & Global Environmental Challenges" by the Republic of Korea and "Jointly Promoting Tripartite Environmental Cooperation to Realize Regional Green Development" by the People's Republic of China.

    8. The Ministers confirmed that they are willing to build capacity for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the regional level by sharing the three countries' examples and information. In addition, the Ministers exchanged ideas, including climate change response and regional initiatives for sustainable development [such as Belt and Road Initiative, Euroasia Initiative and High Level Seminar on Environmentally Sustainable Cities.

    Review of Progress on Tripartite Joint Action Plan on Environmental Cooperation (2015-2019)

    9. The Ministers reviewed the progress of the Tripartite Joint Action Plan on Environmental Cooperation 2015-2019 adopted at TEMM17 in April 2015 in Shanghai, China. They confirmed the progress of the tripartite cooperative projects under the nine priority areas contained in the Plan, and committed to continue the cooperative efforts among the three countries.

    Environmental Cooperation in Each Priority Area

    I. Air Quality Improvement

    10. The Ministers shared their concerns relating to the risks posed by air pollution on human health and the environment, re-emphasized the necessity to further improve air quality in the region, and underscored the compelling need for cooperation among the three countries on tackling air pollution in the region. Thereby they took note of the Tripartite Policy Dialogue on Air Pollution (TPDAP) promoting the cooperation for regional air pollution control through sharing good practices and efforts.

    The Ministers welcomed the progress of collaboration under the TPDAP, especially the first meetings of the two Working Groups under the TPDAP (WGI: Scientific Research on Prevention and Control, and WGII: Technology/Policy on Air Quality Monitoring and Prediction) to launch trilateral cooperation on policies and technologies for tackling air pollution caused by VOCs, PM2.5 and O3, respectively held in September 2015 in China and in October 2015 in Korea. The Ministers recognized the fruitful result of the meetings in finalizing the work plans of the two Working Groups that present the detailed future direction to enhance information exchanges in areas including policies and technical measures for VOCs, the chemical composition of PM2.5, methodologies for constructing national emission inventories, and monitoring PM2.5 and O3. The Ministers also welcomed the Third TPDAP held in February 2016 in Tokyo to further strengthen the cooperation among the three countries on countermeasures against air pollution and reporting of the dialogues' summary to the Directors General Meeting (DGM) for TEMM18 in March 2016 in Shizuoka City, Japan. They noted that the Fourth TPDAP will be held in February 2017 in Hangzhou, China

    The Ministers welcomed the success of the Tripartite Policy and Technology Seminar on the Management of VOCs Emissions from Industrial Sources held in June and October 2015 in Beijing, China, and decided to reflect the outcome of these seminars in the activities of the two Working Groups under the TPDAP.

    The Ministers acknowledged the progress achieved in ongoing cooperative activities in this field, such as the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) and the Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollutants in Northeast Asia (LTP) and recognized the need to further expand and intensify the collaborative activities of these mechanisms.

    11. Understanding the significance of the Dust and Sandstorms (DSS) issue as a major environmental challenge in the region, the Ministers urged to strengthen collaboration in the field of the DSS.

    They appreciated the progress made at the Working Group I (WGI) Meeting held in December 2015 in Fukuoka, Japan, at the Working Group II (WGII) Meeting held in December 2015 in Gunsan city, Korea and at the Joint Workshop between the WGI and the WGII for Joint Research on the DSS held in February 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.

    The Ministers noted the importance of exchanging relevant data, proper assessment of the prevention and control effect of the restoration measures against DSS, publication of the significant outcomes produced throughout the cooperation process and the collaboration between the two Working Groups, and they welcomed that the second Joint Workshop would be held in 2017 in Korea for further discussion on the collaboration menu.

    II. Biodiversity

    12. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promote work towards fulfilling the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), i.e. conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

    The Ministers welcomed the Third Tripartite Policy Dialogue on Biodiversity held in April 2016 in Nanjing, China. They noted that the Fourth Tripartite Policy Dialogue on Biodiversity will be held in Japan.

    The Ministers confirmed to share experience and information on other issues that need to be addressed at the regional level, including methods assessing progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), Business and Biodiversity Initiative, the researches on valuation of ecosystem services, adaptation to climate change, invasive alien species control, and restoring endangered species.

    They noted the importance of information sharing to prepare for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, and decided to continue cooperation on access and benefit sharing (ABS). The Ministers welcomed the Tripartite Seminar on ABS held in April 2016 in Nanjing, China.

    The Ministers confirmed to formulate and promote tripartite joint actions such as cooperative research on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through collaborative initiatives in international and regional platforms such as the Satoyama Initiative, the Asia-Pacific Biodiversity Observation Network (AP-BON), and the East and Southeast Asia Biodiversity Information Initiative (ESABII), and Bio-Bridge Initiative (BBI) to deepen cooperation in the area of biodiversity conservation.

    The Ministers confirmed to cooperate with each other towards the success of CBD/COP13 to be held in Cancun, Mexico in December 2016.

    III. Chemical Management and Environmental Emergency Response

    13. The Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the 9th Tripartite Policy Dialogue on Chemicals Management among China, Japan and Korea held in November 2015 in Nanjing, China, and expressed their expectation for the information exchange on evaluation and assessment methods of chemical substances and the framework of Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) , etc. at the next and succeeding dialogues, and for the development of the tripartite action plan up to 2019, which will enhance tripartite activities in this area.

    The Ministers welcomed the outcome of the joint research on fish acute toxicity tests from the Expert Meeting on Joint Research for Chemicals held in November 2015 in Nanjing, China and welcomed further progress on the joint research for seeking harmonization of assessment methods among the three countries.

    The Ministers shared a common view on enhancing the activities for an early entry into force and the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

    The Ministers also welcomed the progress made under the framework of the Tripartite Presidents Meeting among CRAES, NIES and NIER (TPM) on the risk assessment of environmental disasters and affirmed the sharing of experience and technologies obtained through these research activities.

    IV. Circulative Management of Resources/3R/Transboundary Movement of E-Waste

    14. The Ministers welcomed the 9th Sound Material Cycle Society/Circular Economy/3R/ Transboundary Movement of E-waste Seminar held in December 2015 in Seoul, Korea, and noted that this Seminar had been productive in tripartite cooperation in this area. They decided to continue the seminar with the objectives to exchange information on waste management policies of the three countries including policies relating to E-waste management, and to jointly respond to the request of the international community concerning the implementation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, and agreed to establish a hotline mechanism on transboundary E-waste among Japan, Korea and China. The Ministers confirmed to continue the efforts for further cooperation including sharing the latest information and best practices about related systems and laws of the three countries taking into account international trends about resource efficiency and the 3Rs.

    V. Climate Change Response

    15. The three countries welcomed the Paris Agreement adopted in Paris at the end of 2015, which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change including long-term goals, and will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. They agreed on the importance of early entry into force and implementation of the Paris Agreement through proceeding with their respective domestic processes.

    The three countries agreed to take concrete actions and work tirelessly to implement the Paris Agreement.

    The three countries underline the need for further development of an enhanced transparency framework under the Paris Agreement building on collective experience, in order to build mutual trust and confidence and promote effective implementation including through reporting and review of action and support, with flexibility to developing countries that need it in light of their capacities. The three countries confirmed to exchange information, knowledge and best practices in regard to their policies and experiences.

    16. The Ministers recalled that the COP21 decision recognized the important role of providing incentives for emission reduction activities, including tools such as domestic policies and carbon pricing. The Ministers recognized the importance of pursuing greenhouse gas mitigation through market mechanisms, and noted the three countries' efforts in this respect including the Emission Trading Schemes being operated in Korea, the national emission trading system to be started in 2017 in China and the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) initiated by Japan.

    The Ministers welcomed the opportunity to exchange information among three countries, which will be held to identify specific themes for activities in this priority area in collaboration with Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS).

    VI. Conservation of Water and Marine Environment

    17. The Ministers shared the recognition that they would endeavor to promote sampling the policy issues that are suitable for sharing information and discuss the specific efforts from the point of view of promoting the recognitions about water environment management and the tripartite cooperation including underground water.

    18. The Ministers welcomed the first workshop on marine litter held in September 2015 in Yentai, China as the joint workshop with Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) and the common intention reached at the workshop for accelerating data sharing on marine litter. They also decided to hold a workshop and a working-level meeting on marine litter annually to enhance exchanging information on each country's policies and research results of the three countries under the TEMM framework. Furthermore, they recognized the importance of promoting their efforts to understand the current situation on marine litter among the three countries and decided to strengthen the tripartite cooperation for efficient and effective solutions addressing marine litter. As the first step toward this goal, they recognized the need for scientist-led workshops.

    VII. Environmental Education, Public Awareness and Corporate Social Responsibility

    19. The Ministers acknowledged that enhancing environmental education, raising public awareness and encouraging public participation are essential to promote environmental protection. They welcomed the substantial outcomes of the 16th Tripartite Environmental Education Network (TEEN) symposium and workshop held in October 2015 in Okayama, Japan for incorporating a global-local perspective. They also welcomed that the 15th Tripartite Environmental Training held in November 2015 in Beijing, China had provided a good opportunity for information exchange on the environmental policies of the three countries. In addition, the Ministers welcomed the progress of the general public awareness project in which a consultation meeting is planned for the discussion on specific themes and activities in collaboration with TCS.

    Having noted the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the environment, the Ministers agreed to promote cooperation on environmental CSR at the TREB in the future.

    VIII. Rural Environmental Management

    20. The Ministers recognized the importance of rural environment quality improvement and took note of the ongoing domestic efforts of the three countries that are Model Region of Regional Revitalization of Japan, Eco Energy Town of Korea and Eco Village of China. They welcomed the 1st Tripartite Rural Environment Policy Dialogue held in March 2016 in Beijing, China themed "Rural Household Waste Disposal and Rural Domestic Sewage Treatment" and decided to expand the exchange of knowledge and experience in the area of rural and local level environmental management.

    IX. Transition to Green Economy

    21. The Ministers reaffirmed the crucial role played by cooperation in the field of environmental industry and technologies for the transition to green economy.

    They welcomed the success of the Seminar on Green Finance among Japan, Korea and China held in December 2015 in Jinan, China. The Ministers recognized the Seminar as a good beginning for further cooperation among the three countries on green finance. The Ministers welcomed that China would hold this seminer on a regular basis and decided to cooperate for the successful operation.

    22. In order to promote information exchange on environmental technologies among the three countries which was valued by the leaders at the 6th Trilateral Summit, the Ministers decided to launch "Tripartite Cooperation Network for Environmental Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies" as a new action. It will start from the area of the countries' interest including air pollution in the way of establishing a website, holding environmental technology seminars and exhibitions. The three Ministers welcomed that the environment Ministries of the three countries signed the MOU on Tripartite Cooperation Network for Environmental Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies on the occasion of TEMM18 and expressed their expectation for the successful implementation.

    Regarding the Joint Research on Green Economy and Low Carbon Society, the Ministers will begin by exchanging information about their policies relating to the green economy at both the national and subnational levels and develop a future plan for their activity.

    Youth Forum and the Tripartite Roundtable on Environmental Business

    23. The Ministers recognized that the discussions among business and youth representatives from the three countries are very meaningful. The Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the Tripartite Roundtable on Environmental Business themed "Active Role of Environmental Industry in the Regional Transition to Green Economy" and the Youth Forum themed "Nature's Benefits to People". They encouraged more communications and exchanges respectively among the business and the youth sectors in the future.

    TEMM Environmental Awards

    24. The Ministers congratulated and praised the awardees of the TEMM Environment Awards ceremony. Dr. Sugaya Yoshio, Environmental Science Center for Health and Environmental Risk Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Dr. Ko Taewon, Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute and Dr. LI Jinhui, Tsinghua University were awarded for their contribution to the environmental cooperation among the three countries.

    TEMM 19

    25. The Ministers decided that TEMM 19 will be held in 2017 in the Republic of Korea. The date and venue will be suggested by the host country and subsequently confirmed by the People's Republic of China and Japan.


    26. The Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the fruitful outcome of TEMM18. Minister YOON Seongkyu and Minister CHEN Jining extended their deep appreciation to Minister MARUKAWA Tamayo, the Japanese government, Shizuoka Prefecture and Shizuoka City for hosting the meeting and the great hospitality accorded to all participants.

    April 27 2016, Shizuoka, Japan

    YOON Seongkyu

    Ministry of Environment
    Republic of Korea

    MARUKAWA Tamayo
    Ministry of the Environment

    CHEN Jining
    Ministry of Environmental Protection
    People's Republic of China