The Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting

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  • Dust and sand storms


    Tokyo, Japan (4-5th December, 2004)

    1. At the invitation of Minister KOIKE Yuriko of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Minister KWAK Kyul Ho of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea and Minister XIE Zhenhua of the State Environmental Protection Administration of the People's Republic of China visited Tokyo, where the three Ministers met for the Sixth Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting (TEMM) on December 4 and 5, 2004. At the opening of the Meeting, Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado delivered a welcome address.


    2. The Ministers reemphasized their common view that TEMM was an important meeting for encouraging regional environmental cooperation and sustainable development. The Ministers highly appreciated the high recognition given to the progress of TEMM at the Trilateral Meeting of the Leaders of Korea, China and Japan in November.


    3. The ministers exchanged their opinions on the progress of the environmental actions which had been made recently in each country and in the North East Asian subregion.


    4. The Ministers welcomed Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which will bring the Protocol into force, and reconfirmed the importance of the Kyoto Protocol as a first step towards achieving the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In addition, they reconfirmed their common recognition that all three countries should enhance their domestic efforts as well as international cooperation in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities. They are also expecting positive outcomes at the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) which will be held from December 6 to 17, 2004 in Argentina.


    5. Concerning the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) under the leadership of UNEP with the goal of preserving the marine and coastal environment of the Northwest Pacific, the Ministers welcomed the inauguration of the Regional Co-ordination Unit at Busan and Toyama and expressed their expectations towards the promotion of NOWPAP activities through this Unit. The Ministers also shared the recognition that their three countries need to make joint efforts towards further collaboration for activities within the framework of NOWPAP, including the issue of marine litter in the Northwest Pacific.

    6. The Ministers noted that acid deposition is a serious problem faced by Korea, China and Japan, and reaffirmed their commitment to promote actively the activities of the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) and joint research on Long-range Trans-boundary Air Pollutants in Northeast Asia (LTP).


    7. The Ministers confirmed that the three countries would continue to take concrete actions to preserve biodiversity, including the implementation of conservation action plans and the expansion of habitat networks based on the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy.


    8. The Ministers paid attention to dust and sandstorm (DSS) issues, which have become exacerbated by droughts and land degradation in North East Asia. They recognized the necessity of capacity building for environmental management and monitoring as well as the necessity of promoting a monitoring network and information sharing for DSS. They welcomed the outputs of the ADB-GEF DSS regional technical assistance (RETA) project on DSS in the North East Asia region. The Ministers of the three countries shared the view of the necessity of launching an expert network to consider related technical issues. They agreed to make joint efforts to develop related projects for taking further actions. The Ministers welcome Mongolia and international organizations to join these efforts.


    9. The Ministers exchanged views regarding recent progress in each country regarding the sound material-cycle society and/or circular economy, and especially welcomed that the Chinese national 11th Five-Year Plan will incorporate the idea of a circular economy covering the 3R activities of reduce, reuse and recycle. The Ministers reaffirmed that 3R activities are vital to building a sound material-cycle for sustainable development. The Ministers confirmed their will to have a cooperative relationship within the Asian region. In this connection, the Ministers recognized the importance of the '3R Initiative' proposed by Japan and of the ministerial conference on the 3R Initiative to be hosted by Japan in Tokyo in April 2005 aimed at promoting 3R activities on a worldwide basis. Further, the Ministers supported the proposal raised by China that a tripartite symposium or seminar be held on the matter, with details to be confirmed at the official level.


    10. The Ministers reviewed TEMM projects from their start to the present, and they generally shared their views that TEMM projects should be outcome-oriented and implemented more effectively and efficiently. The Ministers concurred that some of the existing projects should be reorganized in terms of scope and content. Potential areas of future cooperation under the TEMM included such areas as sound material-cycle society/circular economy, trade and environment, and eco-labeling. The Ministers expressed their support for initiating information exchange and policy dialogue in these areas, which would be useful in policy development in each country regarding environment and economy. The Ministers confirmed their intention to take further steps in developing joint environmental education programs for children, which they decided at TEMM5, within the framework of the existing project. They shared the view that the three countries should encourage the participation of various social actors in TEMM projects, from the aspect of 'raising consciousness of the environmental community,' which was one of TEMM's priority areas for cooperation.


    11. The Ministers also recognized the need for the promotion of collaborative research in North East Asia to help address regional environmental problems. In this regard, the Ministers welcomed the collaborative research progress promoted by the Tripartite Presidents Meeting (TPM) among the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan, the National Institute of Environmental Research in Korea, and the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences in China. The Ministers welcomed that Korea made a proposal to establish a joint research institution and called for further consideration by relevant parties.


    12. The Ministers recognized that TEMM has brought the significant result of strengthening the environmental policy of the three countries. They also reiterated that TEMM would play a greater role in the environmental management of North East Asia henceforth. Moreover, they confirmed their will to discuss the state of environmental management of the region on a continuing basis and agreed to establish a working group which would work on this matter.


    13. The Ministers stated that TEMM would continue to promote regional environmental policy dialogue, including with other countries of the subregion. In this respect, they welcomed that the Minister of Nature and Environment of Mongolia would participate in the discussion on dust and sandstorm issues to be held upon the conclusion of the TEMM6 meeting.


    14. The Ministers confirmed that they should bring into being the output of important regional and global environmental meetings such as the ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting on the Environment which was held in October and that they should contribute to the success of meetings, including the UNESCAP Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED) which is to be held in Seoul in March of 2005.


    15. The Ministers decided to hold the next TEMM in Korea. The date and the venue will be suggested by Korea, to be confirmed by China and Japan.


    16. The Ministers expressed their satisfaction that this meeting had been held in a friendly atmosphere and had brought about such positive results. Minister Kwak and Minister Xie expressed their deep gratitude to Minister Koike and the host country of Japan.



    KWAK Kyul Ho
    Minister, Ministry of Environment
    The Republic of Korea


    XIE Zhenhua
    Minister, State Environmental Protection Administration
    The People's Republic of China


    KOIKE Yuriko
    Minister, Ministry of the Environment