"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Opening Remarks by Mr. Takeshi IWAYA Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan

[Place] Nairobi, Kenya
[Date] March 22, 2007
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Your Excellencies, Honorable Ministers, and Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would now like to announce the opening of the TICAD Ministerial Conference on Energy and Environment for Sustainable Development. On behalf of the Government of Japan and the TICAD co-organizers, namely, the United Nations, the Global Coalition for Africa, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank, I would first like to extend our heartfelt welcome to you all. Our Prime Minister ABE and Foreign Minister ASO, who were unable to be here today because of the ongoing session in the Japanese Diet, asked me to convey their messages in wishing for the success of this Conference.

In February this year, the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released. The report points out that global warming is very likely due to the increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the economic activities of human beings. It is said that climate change will cause adverse effects throughout the world, such as extensive drought, flood, and inundation of small islands by the rising sea level, and will bring serious threats not only to human beings, but also to the ecosystem at the global level. The world has long entered the stage where we all need to seriously address global environment issues and, at the same time, the need for promotion of sustainable development should be emphasized.

In Africa, energy and environment issues are not always global, but rather are day-to-day issues that pose a threat to people's lives. The decrease in firewood and the difficulty in getting access to clean water result in an increase in the physical burden imposed on the women and children who have to go out ever further to gather them. The decrease in the number of cattle due to the lack of water results in the deprivation of the nomads' peaceful lands and their immigration to more urban and populated locations, which in turn creates new sources of poverty. The lack of energy access can directly and indirectly affect the achievement of the MDGs in education, health, and poverty reduction. Therefore, the first step toward "sustainable development" for ordinary citizens is not to discuss global environment issues, but to grasp day-to-day environment and energy needs and to remove the immediate threats to their lives.


I understand that the topic of this Conference, energy and environment for sustainable development, has already been discussed under various frameworks, including the African Union, NEPAD, the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), the Forum for Energy Ministers of Africa (FEMA), and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

Being based on past discussions, this Conference aims to enhance political recognition and commitment, by specifying the best practices for solving the issues, and look for the best policy-mix measures for the future. Therefore I, as Chair, would like to focus on how we can elevate the level of cooperation among African countries, donor countries, and other international institutions.

During this Conference's proceedings, I suggest that we classify our efforts toward African energy and environment development into three categories: (a) establishing ownership, represented by local and central government initiatives; (b) promotion of regional cooperation; and (c) deepening of partnership, including public-private cooperation, by making the best use of the private sector's advanced technology. I would like to ask you all to share with us your experiences and knowledge on each aspect in order to help us move into the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Japan has experienced various types of environmental pollution during the course of its industrialization since the end of the 19th century, and a number of people's peaceful and healthy lives have been damaged. However, we have gradually overcome the problem by enacting environmental laws, sharing in the tragedies caused by pollution, and raising people's awareness toward environmental protection. In this we have been supported by new technology and innovation. In the process of assisting in African development we believe that it is useful to draw lessons from our experiences, so that African countries do not repeat our mistakes.

We are witnessing a great example of ownership toward protection of the environment in Africa. I would like to take this opportunity to express my respect to Professor Wangari Maathai of Kenya, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for the promotion of reforestation. Professor Maathai's efforts have been widely recognized by the people of Japan, and the Japanese spirit of valuing objects and reducing waste has been reflected and further promoted through the so-called "Mottainai" movement and the "3R - reduce, reuse, recycle" campaign.

Such African country ownership could be expanded to trans-border efforts by utilizing support from international and regional organizations. The nature of countries' energy and environment issues tend to be similar in the same region. Hence, synergy, complementarity, and cost-effectiveness could be enhanced through cooperation and information sharing. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has drawn up its Energy White Paper on "Expanding Energy Access" and is pursuing a common endeavor on energy issues among the member states. Japan highly appreciates such an effort.

Cooperation with the private sector, which possesses high-technology for environment protection and efficient energy use, is also essential in tackling energy and environment issues in the 21st century. We have to establish a strong partnership in which we can make better use of the resources of civil society, donor countries, and international organizations by involving the private sector. As an example of partnership, I have invited representatives from Asia with abundant experience to introduce their contributions to society in the area of energy and environment.


Japan contributed the amount of approximately US$592 million in the field of the environment and approximately US$411 million in that of energy in ODA during the five years from the year 2001. Those figures amounted to first and the second place among donor countries, respectively. In fiscal year 2005, the amount of ODA contributed by Japan to the world in the field of environment reached about US$3 billion, which accounts for 29.4 per cent of our entire ODA.

At the G8 Gleneagles Summit meeting in 2005, Japan announced its intention to increase the amount of ODA by US$10 billion in the coming five years, until 2009. Japan also announced that it would double its ODA to Africa to the amount of US$1.68 billion by the year 2007, and would make the utmost effort in implementing the commitment. The principle behind Japan's ODA stipulates that development should be compatible with environmental protection and, in accordance with that, we have valued cooperation in that field. We will continue our efforts to cooperate in the field of environment and, having understood that most environmental degradation cases in Africa arise from poverty, we will also take up the issue of the linkage between environment and poverty in this TICAD framework. In the area of energy, on which Japan has also placed importance, we will positively provide our support by pursuing efforts toward achieving access to "sustainable energy" that considers the environmental aspect.


Japan has continuously supported African development by considering the TICAD not as a mere series of conferences but as a continuous process since we initiated it 15 years ago. After the TICAD III in 2003, we held the TICAD Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference (AATIC) in Tokyo in November 2004, and discussed how to vitalize the huge potential of trade and investment between Asia and Africa for the sake of African development.

In February last year, we also had the TICAD Conference on Consolidation of Peace in Addis Ababa, where we announced an assistance initiative with the amount of approximately US$60 million, which has steadily been implemented. Japan, based on the outcome of the Conference, continued its assistance in the area of peace consolidation, amounting to about US$150 million during the year 2006 and, since the beginning of this year, we have already contributed about US$45 million.

We believe that promotion of trade and investment, consolidation of peace, and environment protection and energy securement for sustainable development can be equally important elements in composing the soil of the "home of self-endeavor." Japan will host TICAD IV next year and a series of conferences, including this one, will lead the way to TICAD IV. We would like to reflect the suggestions raised in various fields through the TICAD process, and the voices heard in this Conference, in the forthcoming TICAD IV.

Thank you for your attention.