RIO+20: Japan to provide 'green' volunteers, $6 billion in anti-disaster ODA
RIO DE JANEIRO--Japan plans to dispatch 10,000 “green cooperation volunteers,” consisting mainly of environmental specialists, to developing countries and provide $6 billion (480 billion yen) in official development assistance for environmental and anti-disaster measures.
Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba announced the plans in his speech at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in the Brazilian city on June 20. They will be part of efforts to realize “The Future We Want” initiative, a declaration for which is expected to be adopted on June 22.
Genba said a mission of Japan, which suffered from a huge earthquake, a towering tsunami and a nuclear accident last year, is to find answers on how to build a society and civilization that are in harmony with nature.
The green volunteers, who will also include central and local government officials, will be dispatched over the next three years to help make the transition to a green economy, a concept combining clean environment and economic growth, Genba said.
The foreign minister said the $3 billion in ODA provided over three years is intended to create societies resilient to flooding and tsunami.
Saying that Japan wants to share its experience of rebuilding from the disaster, Genba called for the World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction to be held in the Tohoku region in July.
Representatives of about 190 countries are expected to give speeches during the three-day Rio+20 conference. Other speakers on June 20 included French President Francois Hollande, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
Despite an invitation from Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was unable to join the conference.
In the first Earth Summit in 1992, also held in Rio de Janeiro, then Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa did not attend.
By Shiro Namekata
The Asahi Shimbun AJW
21 June 2012