November 21, 2011
“Africa is one of the regions which are most vulnerable to climate change, but this is also a great opportunity for the region to achieve low-carbon growth and sustainable development resilient to climate change,” according to Tsuneo Kurokawa, Vice President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
His statement came in a recent Tokyo dialogue between the Japanese government and climate change negotiators and representatives from 16 African countries on how Japan and Africa can work together in global climate change negotiations.
The dialogue was held in the context of the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) which was held in May 2008 and subsequent ministerial follow-up meetings. Japan helps African countries through this TICAD process which is co-organized by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (UN-OSAA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank. Measures against climate change are one of the pillars of the Yokohama Action Plan which was adopted at TICAD IV.
During the two-day dialogue, government officials explained how Japan can help Africa achieve low-carbon and resilient growth while academics highlighted the continent’s potential in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Business sector representatives showcased Japanese low-carbon and environmental technologies such as solar and wind power generation and water purification technologies.
JICA presented several ongoing low-carbon development projects including geothermal and wind power projects in Kenya and Egypt. Given that the continent is considered to be the most vulnerable to climate change and variability, the importance of agricultural resilience and disaster risk management was emphasized. The agency also explained ‘JICA Climate FIT’, its proprietary tool for estimating the benefit of climate change countermeasures, and its overall policy to tackle climate change agenda.
The dialogue is expected to help Japan strengthen ties with African countries and better coordinate with them in the forthcoming 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled from 28 November to 9 December 2011 in Durban, South Africa. Also, JICA and the participants agreed on the importance of strengthening collaboration to tackle with climate change in the future TICAD processes.
JICA undertakes a myriad of climate change and related projects across the world, ranging from afforestation projects as far afield as China and Ethiopia, satellite technology to preserve the great rainforests of the Amazon, development of clean energy sources in Africa and Indonesia, to scientific research for seeking solutions to glacial retreats in the Himalayan mountains.