1. The 19th meeting of the Republic of Korea-Japan joint committee on environmental cooperation took place at Tsukuba International Congress Center in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, on June 29, with Deputy Director-General for Climate Change and Environmental Affairs Kwon Sei-joong of the ROK Foreign Ministry and Deputy Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Takizaki Shigeki of the Japanese Foreign Ministry leading their respective delegations.
o The two sides discussed ways to strengthen environmental cooperation between the two countries, including on marine waste management and an agreement on the protection of migratory birds, as well as ways to expand regional and multilateral cooperation on environmental issues, including air pollution and climate change.
2. With next year marking the 20th anniversary of the joint committee, the two sides reviewed the progress in bilateral cooperation and explored ways to further enhance cooperation, and agreed to work to move forward successfully with ten cooperation projects currently underway.
o In particular, the ROK side proposed a publication of a report to review the progress in bilateral cooperation and explore the way forward for future cooperation in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the joint committee next year.
3. In the latest meeting, the two sides also agreed on the importance of cooperation among neighboring countries to reduce air pollution, including fine dust in Northeast Asia, and exchanged views on ways to launch the North-East Asia Clean Air Partnership, being pursued by the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC).
o The two sides took note of the role which the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among the ROK, China and Japan (TEMM) has played as an effective consultative mechanism in solving environmental problems in Northeast Asia. The two sides also agreed to closely work together towards a successful hosting of the 19th TEMM (August 24-25, Suwon), to be held for the first time since the inauguration of the new government in the ROK.
4. In the meeting, the Japanese side explained its Joint Credit Mechanism (JCM), a mechanism to secure carbon emissions rights through projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in other countries. The ROK side also explained measures to utilize the carbon market, including its emissions trading scheme, thereby providing a useful opportunity to better understand each other’s policies.
o Furthermore, the two sides agreed to work together in the global response to climate change through close cooperation in the follow-up negotiations on the Paris Agreement and in the implementation of the Agreement.
* unofficial translation