Climate change manifests in various forms, including extreme natural disasters and changes in food production and water availability. It is a global challenge that poses an enormous threat to equitable and sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and human security.
In order to avoid the negative impact of global climate change to the extent possible, it is vital to aim for climate-compatible, sustainable and low-carbon development.
Recent years have seen increasing reports of phenomena that are deemed to be affected by climate change from many parts of the world. These phenomena are expected to become more intense in the future. In particular, developing countries are vulnerable to climate change not only because of the growing negative impacts of climate change itself, but also because of a lack of adaptive capacity, such as poor infrastructure and absence of economic and social institutions.
The 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris, France, is an international conference to discuss a new international framework for climate change measures. COP 21 is receiving attention because it aims for an agreement on a common platform of climate actions for both developed and developing countries.
JICA incorporates climate change considerations into its projects and programs in various sectors and makes the most of its diverse aid schemes to meet the needs of each partner country. Measures against climate change are largely divided into "mitigation" and "adaptation" measures, and both are important to address climate change. Also, they need to be implemented together with efforts to address challenges for sustainable development.
Mitigation measures are designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or increase GHG removal from the atmosphere through carbon sinks in such sectors as energy, transport, solid waste management and forestry, in order to promote low-carbon societies.
Adaptation measures, on the other hand, are undertaken in such sectors as disaster risk reduction (DRR), water and sanitation, and agriculture to make societies more resilient to impacts associated with climate change.
Here are JICA's major cooperation initiatives for climate change measures in recent years, together with related articles.
For those developing countries faced with various issues such as poverty reduction, it is important to take an approach that both reduces GHG emissions and bears benefits such as improvements in livelihood and economic development.
Conducting well testing at the Laguna Colorada geothermal power plant
Aiming at responding to future electricity demand and stabilizing Bolivia's domestic power supply through geothermal power plant construction, JICA entered an ODA Loan agreement, the first Japanese ODA assistance to Bolivia in 22 years. JICA will facilitate the development of renewable energy and help mitigate climate change under this project.
The Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant
The Great Rift Valley is a vast valley with total length of 7,000 km that cuts through the African continent from north to south, and is one of the plate boundaries. With extensive confirmed geothermal resources beneath the Great Rift Valley, Kenya has been carrying out geothermal development since the 1970s. In March 2010, JICA started its support and Japanese technologies have been contributing to reduction of air pollution and carbon dioxide.
The REDD+ Platform is an effort to promote the REDD+ climate change initiative that contributes to reducing emissions and increasing absorption of greenhouse gasses using forests. JICA, together with the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute of Japan, established "Japan Public-Private Platform for REDD+" to promote the REDD+ climate change initiative through an all-Japan effort including the private sector, organizations, research institutes and government agencies. Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has assumed the position of "Official Supporter" of the project.
This project invests in a private fund that finances various energy efficiency and renewable-energy projects in Latin America and other countries. It is expected that the highly durable and efficient technologies of Japanese companies (in solar panels, air conditioning facilities, etc.) will be used in this project, which will become a driver to spread energy conservation and renewable energy systems using Japanese technologies in this region. As a result, measures against climate change will be further promoted.
Developing countries and the poor in particular are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It is essential to address issues from the perspective of human security.
An oceanographic survey
Palau is one of the countries with the highest diversity of marine life in the world. Palau positions tourism, with a focus on its rich natural environment including coral reefs, as a main pillar of its economic development. However, there are concerns about a negative influence on the environment from global climate change, and the protection of coral reef ecosystems has become an important issue. JICA extends assistance in improving Palau's capabilities to research and maintain its coral reef and island ecosystems through joint research on the ecosystems.
To share experiences of natural disasters and knowledge of disaster risk reduction of Japan and Chile with Latin American and the Caribbean countries, JICA has launched cooperation for human resource development for disaster risk reduction and for network enhancement.
Climate change measures need to accommodate differences among regions, most notably small island states and Africa, and the development stages of partner countries (low-income, middle-income, etc.).
Pastoralists will play an important role in the economy
The Horn of Africa, which includes northern Kenya, is hit by droughts or food shortages every few years, as most parts of the region are arid or semiarid, with little precipitation. JICA supports the development of an integrated model designed for pastoralist communities in northern Kenya to enhance their resilience to droughts. The project also involves providing guidance on activities aimed at managing water facilities and securing various sources of income in anticipation of droughts.
A solar cell array in the Vaini district, Tonga
Pacific island countries are faced with two energy challenges: low energy self-sufficiency combined with a high cost of fuel imports, and power fluctuations caused by growing introduction of unstable renewable energy. To address these issues, JICA has launched the Hybrid Islands Initiative, designed to improve energy security stability of the power supply and in small island states.