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Eight Priority Areas for Environmental Cooperation Adopted at TEMM21

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▷ The 21st Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among Korea, China, and Japan was held in Kitakyushu, Japan from November 23rd to the 24th.

- The Joint Communique was signed, consisting of the results of cooperation between the three countries in 2019 as well as the priority cooperation areas for the next five years.

▷ The Environment Ministers of Korea and Japan discussed paths toward cooperation for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and marine litter issues.

▷ The Environment Ministers of Korea and China agreed to specify cooperation projects for air related environmental issues, including fine dust.

The Ministry of Environment (Minister CHO Myung-rae) announced that Minister CHO discussed environmental issues with the Environment Ministers of Japan and China, and the three Ministers adopted the Joint Communique at the 21st Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among Korea, China, and Japan (TEMM21), which was held in Kitakyushu, Japan from November 23rd to the 24th. 

Before the main meeting took place, Minister CHO had bilateral meetings with Minister KOIZUMI Shinjiro of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and Minister LI Ganjie of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People's Republic of China.

The following are key results from the bilateral meeting with the Environment Minister of Japan.

First, the Ministers agreed to actively cooperate on the adoption of the guideline for establishing an international carbon market under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which will be the basis for the overseas reduction of greenhouse gases as well as the basis for the realization of carbon neutrality, at the 25th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) to be held in Madrid, Spain in December 2019. 

Second, the Ministers agreed to jointly respond to the international movements of marine litter; cooperate on the development of marine litter reduction policies; and share experiences of implementing policies to reduce the use of disposable products, including plastic bags.

Third, to reduce the damage of ecological disturbances and economic losses due to invasive alien species, including red imported fire ants, the Ministers agreed to share information on invasive alien species, elimination experiences of the species, and related policies, and to continue the cooperation on this issue.

Fourth, Minister CHO articulated the national concerns of Korea regarding Fukushima radioactive water treatment and requested the release of reliable information, including the current treatment status, to ensure the safety of radioactive water management for surrounding countries. Minister KOIZUMI responded that Japan would continue to provide related information transparently to international society, based on scientific data.

The following are key results from the bilateral meeting with the Environment Minister of China.

First, the Ministers designated the Director Generals of each country in charge of international exchange as the heads of the 'Blue Sky' plan, which was signed on November 4th, and delegated to them the establishment of a detailed action plan and the management of its implementation.

Second, starting this year, the Ministers agreed on China's provision of information to the ROK-China Environmental Cooperation Center on air quality forecasts, warning statuses, and fine dust reduction measures implemented in the Jingjinji Metropolitan Region (Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei) and its surrounding areas. These provisions will occur during the intensive air management period throughout the autumn and winter, which will be introduced in December 2019; and China also agreed to the Korean government's utilization of this information during the seasonal management period. 

Third, the Ministers agreed to do their utmost in creating the Tripartite Joint Action Plan (2020-2024) at the 7th Tripartite Policy Dialogue on Air Pollution, which will be held in Hainan, China in February 2020.

Fourth, the Ministers agreed to actively reduce greenhouse gases, which would reduce fine dust as well, and form the Policy Consultative Group for the Emission Trading Scheme to share Korea's experiences of implementing the emissions trading scheme that began in 2015. Minister LI stated that China would finish the construction of infrastructure by the end of 2020 to implement the emissions trading scheme nationwide.

Fifth, the Ministers agreed to reflect the results of previous environmental cooperation initiatives between the two countries (including the ROK-China Environmental Cooperation Center and Annual Environment Ministers Meeting) and new possible areas of cooperation (including climate change) in the MOU on the Korea-China Environmental Cooperation (signed in 2003, revised in 2014) as well as swiftly hold working-level consultations to create a revised draft.

At the main meeting, the three Ministers discussed strategies and paths toward mutual cooperation to respond to the environmental issues of Northeast Asia and of the earth; selected the priority cooperation areas for the "Tripartite Joint Action Plan for Environmental Cooperation 2020-2024"; and signed the Joint Communique consisting of the priority cooperation areas. 

The eight priority cooperation areas are as follows: (1) Air Quality Improvement; (2) 3R/Circular Economy/Zero Waste City; (3) Marine and Water Environment Management; (4) Climate Change; (5) Biodiversity; (6) Chemical Management and Environmental Emergency Response; (7) Transition to Green Economy; (8) Environmental Education, Public Awareness, and Engagement.

The Ministers decided to select future cooperation projects in the eight cooperation areas based on the bilateral and trilateral meetings, and to adopt the "Tripartite Joint Action Plan for Environmental Cooperation 2020-2024" at the 22nd Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting, to be held in Korea in 2020.

Minister CHO suggested air quality improvement, a common challenge in Northeast Asia, as well as climate change response, which requires international cooperation, as the priority cooperation areas. Also, Minister CHO suggested a cooperation system between the three countries, which would cover the period before the establishment of the new joint action plan, for follow-up joint studies on the "Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollutants in Northeast Asia (LTP) Summary Report for Policy Makers (SPM)" and for policy exchanges and joint studies on improving climate response capacity.

Furthermore, Minister CHO requested the attention and cooperation of China and Japan for the 2nd Partnering for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030 (P4G) Summit to be held in Seoul in June 2020.

"Korea, China, and Japan are one environmental community sharing the same sky and sea. The three countries must cooperate to protect this clear sky and blue sea," stated Minister CHO. 

"We three Environment Ministers have shared an understanding of this reality during this year's meeting and decided to embark on specific and effective cooperation projects regarding various environmental issues, such as fine dust, marine litter, and climate change."

Attachment: Joint Communique for TEMM21 (separate distribution).  The end.

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Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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