Address by H.E. Mr. Naoto Kan
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for coming to Japan, to Aichi, to Nagoya from various parts of the world to discuss global biodiversity. As the Prime Minister of the host country of COP10, I sincerely welcome you all.
Forty years ago, I was majoring in natural science at university and learned the following about biodiversity. When the earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, no life existed on this planet. Its distance from the sun kept temperature modest, and the existence of water, carbon dioxide and a variety of other factors made possible the production of organic compounds from minerals, and four billion years ago the very first manifestation of life appeared. Thereafter, that life was configured into various forms and extended to various parts of the earth. Planet earth in its current form, with its abundant plants and animals, was created from a grand coincidence of pivotal events in the universe. It is not too much to say that this creation of biodiversity was a miracle.
Today, we are losing this diversity of plants and animals in a manner unprecedented in both speed and scale. Forests equivalent to one-third of the area of the Japanese Archipelago are disappearing from the earth every year. Unfortunately, this ongoing mass extinction is being caused mainly by the activities of us human beings. If this destruction continues at its current pace, the abundant gift of nature that human beings have been enjoying will be lost forever. As a result, the very existence of human beings on this earth could be threatened. Our generation must resist the ongoing extinction and bequeath to future generations our rich and abundant earth - the most precious planet in the entire universe. We must succeed it to the generation of those children we have just seen.
Towards that end, it is essential to agree upon a"Post 2010 Target" at this COP10. To reach an agreement on a global common goal, I sincerely ask for the cooperation of every one of you. To achieve the "Post 2010 Target", our actions up to 2020 are of decisive significance. Japan urges the strengthening of efforts within the entire United Nations system and proposes the launching of the "United Nations Decade of Biodiversity".
We also need to aim to adopt a protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing of genetic resources. I strongly hope that the new partnership will promote the development of pharmaceutical products utilizing genetic resources and will thus contribute greatly to human beings. At the same time, the profits need to be reinvested in the habitats concerned so as to enhance efforts at conserving the ecosystem.
I am delighted that the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol was adopted at MOP5, which was held before COP10. This is a significant achievement. So as to register further progress, I sincerely would like to ask for the enhanced efforts of the representatives of each country at this COP10 meeting.
Once the "Post 2010 Target" is agreed upon, Japan is prepared to lead the world in achieving it. All Japanese are familiar with the traditional image of an old man collecting firewood in the mountains and an old woman, his wife, doing the laundry in the river. This scene, encompassing the essence of "SATOYAMA", depicts the notion of living in harmony with nature. Since ancient times, we in Japan have been living side by side with nature, applying its bounty in our lives and cultural pursuits. The theme of the world expo held here in Aichi prefecture five years ago was also "Nature's Wisdom".
The Government of Japan will utilize the wisdom learned from such traditions, combined with the technology and experience nurtured in our country, to provide assistance to developing countries. We will launch a "Life in Harmony Initiative" to support the developing countries' efforts to compile their national strategies and implement them. We will provide assistance in the amount of 2 billion US dollars over three years from 2010. The strengthening of the management capacities of protected areas with the participation of local people, the implementation of sustainable use through the "SATOYAMA Initiative", and the promotion of access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources are areas that we would like to extend to the world through this initiative.
Since early times, Japanese people have been making origami cranes in the hope that their relatives or friends would recover from illnesses. It is believed that with 1000 cranes the wish will reach heaven. The logo of COP10 is illustrated with various origami animals and plants. To prevent our children in the future from not being able to experience these animals or plants, let us engrave our wish to reenergize our earth and our determination to "Live in Harmony with Nature" on these origami from Aichi, from Nagoya, and deliver them to the world. To pass an energetic earth on to future generations, I sincerely wish COP10, including the High Level Segment starting from today, to be a big step forward for us to carry out our responsibility for future, and would like to ask for your further efforts.
Thank you for your attention.