The Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting

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  • Dust and sand storms


    Tokyo, Japan ( April 7-8, 2001 )

    1. At the invitation of Minister KAWAGUCHI Yoriko of Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Minister KIM Myung Ja of the Ministry of Environment of Korea and Minister XIE Zhenhua of the State Environmental Protection Administration of China visited Tokyo for the Third Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting on April 7-8, 2001. On this occasion, the Ministers paid a courtesy call to H.E. Prime Minister MORI Yoshiro.


    2. The Ministers exchanged views on recent progress in environmental management in their respective countries and in the Northeast Asian region. The Ministers noted with great pleasure the high recognition given to the progress of TEMM by the Trilateral Meeting of the Leaders of Japan, China and Korea which was held in November 2000. They also welcomed the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan in January 2001 as an event that indicated the increasing importance of environmental administration in Japan.


    3. The Ministers stressed their recognition that the importance of environmental protection would be further increased in the 21st century and that renewed efforts are necessary to achieve sustainable development in the world. They expressed their wishes to contribute to international efforts to promote sustainable development. They shared the recognition that the outcome of TEMM should be input to other regional and global environmental meetings for this purpose.

    They reaffirmed that TEMM should play an important role in promoting environmental cooperation and sustainable development in the Northeast Asian region.


    4. The Ministers reviewed the activities of the first cycle of TEMM and noted with appreciation that TEMM has contributed to facilitating mutual understanding and to promoting environmental cooperation among the three countries. They shared views on the importance of further promoting environmental awareness and cooperation by all players including central and local governments, research institutes, businesses and NGOs.


    5. The Ministers reviewed project formation and implementation at the working level in five areas set out in the second TEMM, and noted the initial progress including the workshop on the environmental education network, creation of the TEMM web site and the technical workshop on ecological conservation in Northwest China, as well as progress made in the planning of projects in each prioritized area.

    They expressed their wishes to further promote TEMM projects.

    They also recognized that it is necessary to strengthen organizational and financial mechanisms for successful project implementation.


    6. Responding to the request by the Trilateral Meeting of Leaders to relevant Ministers to report on environmental projects to the next Trilateral Meeting, the Ministers decided that they would report the initial achievements of the TEMM projects, and that they would further develop projects for promoting various exchange programmes on environmental awareness, for building networks of environmental industry and business and for ecological conservation in Northwest China, and report the results to the Meeting.


    7. The Ministers also discussed various issues of common concern.

    Discussion covered both global issues, including climate change and preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and regional issues, such as ecological conservation in Northwest China.


    8. On climate change, the Ministers shared a strong concern about the seriousness of the situation. They reaffirmed the common recognition that all Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should further strengthen their domestic efforts and international cooperation, in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities, in order to achieve its ultimate objective. The Ministers also shared the common recognition that a successful outcome of the resumed COP6 is vital for bringing the Kyoto Protocol into force as early as possible, which is an important step in human efforts on climate change. In this context, the Ministers sincerely hope that the US government will actively work with all the Parties to attain such a successful outcome.


    9. On the WSSD, the Ministers shared the view that the comprehensive review of Agenda 21 by the WSSD in 2002 would play a crucial role in paving the way to sustainable development in the 21st century and that the three countries should contribute to ensure the successful outcome of the WSSD. They recognized the significance of regional efforts on developing innovative strategies toward the realization of sustainable development. They also expressed their expectation that the Asia-Pacific Eminent Persons Forum on Environment and Development will contribute to deliberation on sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific region.


    10. The Ministers expressed great concern about the degradation of natural conditions in Northwest China and affirmed their determination to formulate and implement projects to address this concern as one of the TEMM projects, which are expected to contribute to ecological conservation in this area and in the entire Asian region, taking a step-by-step approach. The Ministers also shared the recognition that the three countries should promote cooperation for systematic studies on sand dust (yellow sand or kosa), which is exacerbated by soil degradation, in order to identify better ways to solve this problem.


    11. On the air pollution issue, the Ministers expressed recognition that acid deposition is a common concern among the three countries.

    The Ministers commended the commencement of activities of the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) on a regular basis from January 2001 and reaffirmed their intention to continue efforts to strengthen the basis of EANET and to discuss future EANET activities. They also recognized that monitoring capacity for acid deposition should be strengthened and possible ways to conduct a cooperative program in this regard should be explored. The Ministers recognized the positive role played by the North-East Asian Subregional Programme of Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC) in the field of air pollution management at an intergovernmental level. They also noted with appreciation the progress made since the 2nd TEMM with regard to the three countries'joint research project on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollutants (LTP) and the North East Asian Centre for Environmental Data and Training (NEACEDT), and expressed their intention to continue cooperation for the further promotion of these programs.


    12. On water management, the Ministers affirmed that the sustainable management of fresh water resources and conservation of water environments are issues of global importance. They shared the recognition that the three countries should actively contribute to ensuring the successful outcome of the 9th International Conference on the Conservation and Management of Lakes in November 2001 and the Third World Water Forum in March 2003.


    13. On marine pollution, the Ministers welcomed that the establishment of the Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) of the Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP) had been agreed upon in principle, and recognized the importance of further promotion of various projects under the plan.


    14. On conservation and the sustainable use of bio-diversity, the Ministers underlined the importance of collecting and exchanging information on fauna and flora in an appropriate way, and exploring project-style cooperation. They shared the view that wetlands are important ecosystems, as they act as habitat for various wildlife including migratory birds. They also recognized the importance of cooperation among the three countries for protecting migratory birds and their habitats, by promoting the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy and the Site Networks.


    15. The Ministers decided that the next TEMM will be held in Korea.

    The date and venue will be proposed by the host country and then confirmed with the other parties. In addition, the Ministers reaffirmed the view that they would meet on the occasion of international forums attended by all three Ministers. The Ministers shared the view that they should discuss the framework and focuses of TEMM at its second cycle for the further progress of TEMM.


    16. The Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the friendly cooperative atmosphere and the achievements of this year's meeting.

    Minister XIE Zhenhua and Minister KIM Myung Ja expressed their gratitude to the host country for its kind and warm hospitality.