1. The G8 Ministers and European Commissioner responsible for the environment met in Kobe from May 24 to 26, 2008. They were joined by ministers and senior officials from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Slovenia and South Africa and heads and senior officials of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the Secretariat of the Basel Convention, and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The meeting was held with a view to providing appropriate inputs to the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit to be held in July.
2. The meeting highlighted the global environmental issues that the international community faces at present, encouraged each country to further strengthen their efforts at all levels, including national, regional, and global levels, and underlined the importance of facilitating such efforts through international cooperation.
3. Three themes were set as the agenda of this meeting, namely biological diversity, the 3Rs, and climate change, and discussions were held on these topics accordingly. Prior to the discussions among the ministers and other participants, a dialogue with representatives of relevant stakeholders was held, generating valuable input. A summary of the G8 ministers and other participants' discussions during the meeting is as follows.
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Noting the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC), the importance of setting long-term goals towards the realization
of the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC was recognized. It was recalled
that at the Heiligendamm Summit in 2007, the G8 leaders agreed to seriously
consider reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least
half by 2050. Strong political will was expressed to go beyond this
agreement and reach agreement on a shared vision of long-term global
goal at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. It was noted that in order to
halve global GHG emissions, developed countries should take the lead
in achieving a significant reduction.
Transitioning to low-carbon societies and establishing an international research network on low-carbon societies
5. To realize such long-term goals, it is necessary to change the current
socio-economic structures and transition to low-carbon societies. In
so doing, there was general recognition of the importance of all the
countries to have a clear vision of low-carbon societies. Strong support
for establishing an international research network of institutions involved
in the research on low-carbon societies was shown by a number of countries,
and other countries also expressed their support for the consideration
of its establishment.
Actions to realize low-carbon societies
To achieve low-carbon societies, all countries need innovations in their
lifestyle, production and consumption patterns, and social infrastructure
in addition to technological innovations. It was recognized that technology
transfer and capacity building are necessary to achieve low-carbon societies
at the global scale. The importance of research and development, information
infrastructures and institutional planning was also pointed out. It
was highlighted that there is a need to promote further development
of technologies such as carbon capture and storage and biofuels. Carbon
offsetting was also recognized as an effective mechanism that provides
a wide range of stakeholders such as citizens, companies, and governments
with opportunities to contribute to mitigation actions. It was observed
that in shifting toward low-carbon societies, international cooperation
on carbon offsets will play an important role.
Use of economic instruments for sound emission reductions
The view was shared that market mechanisms such as emissions trading,
tax incentives, performance-based regulations, fees or taxes, and consumer
labelling could assist in setting a price for carbon, send price signals
to the market, serve as vital economic incentives that offer long-term
certainty to the private sector as well as further incentives to promote
CDM projects, and constitute a critical set of instruments for the greater
reduction of GHG emissions. Especially regarding emission trading, there
were descriptions of actions taken in several countries. It was recognized
that countries should further explore the possible utilization of these
economic instruments according to their own national circumstances.
Such instruments should be designed in a way to avoid carbon leakage.
8. It was noted that, in the context of financial and capital markets, it is useful to inform shareholders of significant risks and opportunities raised by climate change through carbon disclosure efforts.
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Co-benefits and technology transfer
9. The need for technology
innovation, development and deployment as well as financial support
for technology transfer to promote further mitigation actions in developing
countries was recognized. In particular, it was indicated that a co-benefits
approach can be an effective means to promote mitigation actions in
developing countries. The importance of the following activities was
pointed out: compiling best practices and developing technology maps
and tools to identify projects generating significant co-benefits, especially
in the area of pollution abatement, forest conservation, and the 3Rs.
Also, the importance of assisting developing countries in building sufficient
capacity to use these tools was emphasized. It was also acknowledged
that it would be useful to consider how to mainstream policy and measures
with co-benefits into development by expanding the current efforts by
the OECD to mainstream adaptation into climate-related policy and development
efforts. The necessity to improve the current CDM to enhance its contribution
to sustainable development was highlighted.
10. Adaptation is an urgent
issue for all, particularly for least developed countries and small
island developing states. It was observed that adaptation requires immediate
actions in a wide range of areas such as water resources, disaster prevention,
food, public health, and coastal management and therefore, capacity
building in such areas is urgently needed. As part of this, it is important
to mainstream adaptation into development policies and strategies, and
in this regard, the OECD's current efforts in this area were commended.
For mainstreaming to succeed, it is essential to strengthen the capacity
for scientific impact assessments in developing countries. In addition,
it is necessary to strengthen international cooperation on observation
and monitoring systems for current and future climate conditions as
well as on early-warning for natural disasters. The importance of assisting
developing countries with these matters was recognized.
Finance to assist developing countries
11. The gap between the need
for sufficient flow of financial resources, both public and private,
and current funding levels needs to be acknowledged. The ways and means
to bridge such a gap should be elaborated. To support mitigation measures
in developing countries, in addition to public funding, private sector
investments are essential. The active use of carbon markets and public-private
partnerships (PPP), as well as innovative funding mechanisms should
be considered for these purposes. The World Bank presented its work
to establish a comprehensive financial framework to address climate
change and development. Mexico elaborated its proposal for a Multilateral
Fund and Climate Change. Furthermore, it was explained that Japan, US
and the UK are inviting other donors to join their efforts in establishing
a new multilateral fund.
Capacity building and Education for Sustainable Development
12. It was pointed out that the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) is important in order to promote capacity building for realizing a sustainable society and the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to convene in Germany in March 2009 was welcomed. In order to further promote ESD, it may be helpful to share best practices such as partnership projects by related stakeholders and to assist capacity building in developing countries through networks among higher educational institution in developing and developed countries and international organizations.
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Contribution to UN negotiations
13. The importance of concluding
negotiations on a post-2012 framework in line with the Bali Action Plan
no later than December 2009 was emphasized.
14. The need was expressed
for effective mid-term targets which take into account the findings
of the IPCC.
Commitment and actions by developed countries and actions by developing countries
15. It was recognized that
there is considerable work already being undertaken by both developed
and developing countries. At the same time, the need to strengthen our
efforts to make a shift to low-carbon societies was emphasized. For
the total global GHG emissions to peak and then decrease within the
next 10-20 years, bearing in mind the principle of common but differentiated
responsibilities and respective capabilities, developed countries must
commit to quantified national emission targets, actively adopting measures
to reduce GHG emissions, while further mitigation actions by developing
countries are also necessary. Incentives for such actions by developing
countries are also necessary. For countries with rapidly increasing
GHG emissions, it is especially critical to strive to curb the rate
of increase. Elaborating on such commitments and actions is an important
element of implementing the Bali Action Plan, and providing support
to the process is necessary.
Effectiveness of sectoral approach
16. Bottom-up analyses of
GHG emissions reduction potentials can be useful tools for setting national
reduction targets. In this context, a gap that might occur between reduction
potentials based on a bottom-up approach on one hand and required emissions
reductions levels calculated by a top-down approach on the other must
be bridged to ensure environmental integrity. These gaps can be bridged
by exploring further emission reductions using policies and measures,
innovative technologies, and changes in lifestyles through national
campaigns. It was clarified by a proponent of the sectoral approaches
that sectoral approaches would be used to set national targets, not
as a substitute for them. Analyses of the mitigation potentials can
provide scientific and objective knowledge that contribute to the formulation
of an effective future regime. It was pointed out that reduction potentials
in developing countries are likely to be large and relatively inexpensive,
and the cooperative sectoral approach backed by assistances from developed
countries could contribute to realizing these potentials.
Assistance towards mitigation actions in developing countries
17. It was recognized that
mitigation actions in developing countries require support and incentives
from developed countries.
Measurability, reportability, and verifiability
18. It is essential to develop
methodologies to enable the measuring, reporting, and verifying of countries'
commitments and actions based on the Bali Action Plan. It is also important
to collect methodologies to formulate and promote environmental policies,
and to provide them to the UNFCCC process. It was noted that setting
up and running GHG inventories in developing countries is of fundamental
importance and G8 countries should consider supporting capacity building
in developing countries for the collection and provision of data.
Importance of dialogues among major economies and the "Kobe Initiative"
19. A continuation of dialogues
among major economies would be a valuable input for confidence-building
towards the establishment of an effective post-2012 framework. There
was wide support to follow up on the outcome of this meeting as the
"Kobe Initiative". Appreciation was expressed to the UK and
Italy for hosting meetings focusing on an international research network
on low-carbon societies for later this year (UK), and next spring (Italy).
The Kobe Initiative involves:
i. International research network on low-carbon societies
ii. Analysis on bottom-up sectoral mitigation potentials
iii. Promotion of co-benefits among relevant policies
iv. Capacity building support for developing countries on inventories and data collection (measurability, reportability, and verifiability [MRV])
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Significance of biodiversity
20. It is underlined that
a high proportion of ecosystems have been degraded and that many species
are threatened with extinction by human activities. It is recognized
that biodiversity is the basis of human security and that the loss of
biodiversity exacerbates inequality and instability in human society.
The three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity are reaffirmed,
namely the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use
of its components, and the access to and fair and equitable sharing
of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.
Achieving the 2010 Biodiversity Target and effective follow-up
21. It is recognized that
further efforts, including the development and implementation of National
Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, are necessary to achieve the
2010 Biodiversity Target, which was reaffirmed at the G8 Environment
Ministers Meeting in Potsdam, Germany in 2007, and to develop effective
Scientific approach to biodiversity
22. The significance
is recognised of scientific monitoring, assessment, information provision
and the strengthening of research activities. It is noted that some
countries expressed their determination to provide leadership in improving
the interface between these activities and the public and policy makers,
building upon the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the outcome of
IMoSEB consultations. It is also noted that some countries called for
actions to engage with the UNEP-sponsored process, including a dedicated
conference, to address operational steps relating to the above mentioned
Sustainable use of biodiversity
23. In addition to the conservation
of pristine nature, the importance is recognized of realizing biodiversity
conservation and sustainable natural resource management in secondary
nature such as satoyama in Japan, including agricultural lands and their
surrounding ecosystems, where people utilize natural resources through
such activities as agriculture and forestry, in order to realize conservation
and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Tackling illegal logging
24. It is reaffirmed that
deforestation leads to the loss of biodiversity and high GHG emission
and the international community is urged to tackle illegal logging which
is a contributing factor to deforestation. Recognition is shared on
the effectiveness of actions by both importing and exporting countries
to exclude illegally logged timber from the market as well as on the
improvement of forest governance. The G8 Forest Experts' Report on Illegal
Logging is welcomed and it is agreed to forward the report to the Chair
of the G8 in 2008. Some concrete proposals on illegal logging presented
by participants including GLOBE International are taken into consideration.
Access and benefit sharing
25. Concerns expressed by
some outreach countries regarding access to and benefit sharing (ABS)
of genetic resources are taken note of. The need to elaborate an appropriate
international regime was emphasized by some countries. Attention was
drawn to the fact that discussion on an international regime is being
held at COP 9 of the CBD in Bonn right now.
Technology transfer and finance
26. The issue regarding technology
transfer and financing raised by outreach countries is recognized. To
promote conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in developing
countries, it is recognized that appropriate technologies and funding
provided by the international community are necessary. In addition to
the maximum utilization of existing financial mechanisms, further discussions
are considered necessary to address this issue more sufficiently.
Promotion of private sector involvement
27. The importance is reaffirmed
of promoting involvement of all social actors including actors from
the private sector in facilitating conservation and sustainable use
Linkage to climate change
28. It is emphasized that
climate change is expected to have serious impacts on biodiversity,
even threatening the very basis of human survival. The need to pay sufficient
attention to the linkage between climate change and biodiversity was
Biodiversity and protected areas
29. The importance of protected
areas is reconfirmed and emphasis is given to the significance of developing
ecological networks of protected areas that carry significance in maintaining
Call for action
30. The urgent need to engage in further efforts to tackle the aforementioned challenges on biodiversity is reaffirmed and G8 members agree on the "Kobe Call for Action for Biodiversity"proposed by the Chair. Japan, the Chair country, announced its "Commitments for the Implementation of the 'Kobe Call for Action for Biodiversity'" for the implementation of the "Call for Action," including the SATOYAMA Initiative.
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Progress of the 3R Initiative
31. The contributions of the 3R Initiative
in advancing 3Rs activities in each G8 member country and other countries
since its proposal at the G8 Sea Island Summit in 2004 were recognized.
It was also recognized that the 3R Initiative has provided a platform
for sharing information and exchanging views and experiences on 3Rs-related
policies among the G8 and other countries. It
was noted that the 3R Initiative has demonstrated the G8 countries'
determination to contribute to the establishment of a sustainable society.
Prioritized implementation of 3Rs policies and increases in resource productivity
32. It was observed that the promotion of the 3Rs and increases in resource productivity are important for achieving sustainable development in both the G8 and other countries. Towards that end it was also observed that comprehensive policies comprising both regulatory and market-based tools, and addressing the full life-cycles of products are needed. Furthermore, the need for policies to further stimulate technological development and innovation and to create markets for resource-efficient products was acknowledged. However, it was also recognized that governments alone cannot produce the necessary changes and that the contribution of all actors and sectors of society is crucial.
33. In addition to environmentally sound waste treatment and recycling, high priority was placed on waste reduction. Several efforts to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags and other single-use consumer products were described. Japan observed that China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea will jointly call for other countries to follow suit. It was noted that substantial reductions of waste generation and resource utilization require fundamental changes in awareness and lifestyle.
34. It was noted that both G8 and non-G8 countries recognize that strong linkages and the co-benefits exist between the promotion of environmentally sound waste management and the 3Rs, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the views from non-G8 countries emphasizing the importance of developing and disseminating technologies for the promotion of the 3Rs in accordance with national circumstances were also noted.
35. The progress and achievements of the
work by the OECD on material flow analysis and resource productivity
and the contributions on sustainable resource management by UNEP were
Establishment of an international sound material-cycle society
36. The occurrence of severe health
and environmental problems related with improper recycling of end-of-life
products, such as e-waste, as well as with improper ship dismantling,
in developing countries were considered. However, the potential resource
value of such materials was also recognised. The hope was expressed
that further collaboration between the 3R Initiative and the Basel Convention will
both promote capacity building for environmentally sound waste management
in developing countries and facilitate sound international resource
Confirmation of the significance of collaboration for capacity development in developing countries
37. The importance of technical and
financial support toward capacity development for the 3Rs in developing
countries, building on existing frameworks, was observed. It was also
observed that there is a need for improved coordination of international
assistance related with the 3Rs and better synchronization of development
agencies' activities in this field were called for. Furthermore, it
was noted that effective capacity development requires a multi-stakeholder
approach, involving the private sector, local governments and NGOs.
Agreement on Kobe 3R Action Plan
38. G8 Ministers agreed on the Kobe
3R Action Plan and to report the progress in 2011. Finally, Japan observed
that it has launched its "New Action Plan towards a Global Zero
Waste Society," which it hopes will stimulate further international
co-operation in the spirit of the Kobe 3R Action Plan.
United States is not a party to the Basel Convention.
Source: Ministry of the Environment (Japan)
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