The Government of Japan as a Prime Mover on the issue of Environmental Education under the framework of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) hosted the 4th Dialogue on Environmental Education on 26 - 27 June 2007 in Kitakyushu, Japan. The dialogue was convened to focus on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with this year’s theme being Environmental Education as a measure to address global warming.
The objectives of the 4th Dialogue were to reach a common understanding of ACD member countries to address the critical issue of global warming, enhance the understanding of the contribution of Asian countries and promote public awareness on the issue. Participants had the opportunity to exchange views and best practices to solve global environmental problems.
The Meeting was a successful event. Representatives of ACD member countries presented mitigation measures taken by their respective government and national agencies to handle environmental problems. The Ministry of Environment of the Government of Japan briefed the Meeting on the national initiatives aiming for sustainable development with the Kitakyushu City Office presenting on the Commune initiative to corporately solve environmental issues and maintain the current progress of the initiative.
Within the framework of the Dialogue, ACD member countries presented their experiences and best practices and discussed on the lack of awareness of the environmental concerns in the Asia Pacific region and the necessity for increased public participation, the transfer of technology and scientific knowledge from developed countries to developing countries, and improve the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) framework.
The Meeting took note that in the arena of Environmental education, the region poses various bottlenecks including the lack of a holistic approach and coordination among Ministries to come up with an Action Plan, insufficient number of teaching staffs and the shortage of educational centers and resources. Recommendations on possible means to enhance the development of ESD, raise public awareness on global environmental issues in the region, as well as adopt a holistic approach in the resolution of environmental problems were made during the Meeting.
The Government of Japan also organized a site visit to the Kitakyushu Ecotown enterprises to illustrate the initiative of Japan in combating the damage to the environment. The Kitakyushu Initiative is a joint effort of the citizens, the local government and the industrial sector. The Ecotown Project established the dual objectives of revitalization of local industries and the protection of the environment while moving “Towards the creation of a World Capital of Sustainable Development”. The Integration of Environmental Conservation Policy and Industry Promotion Policy to promote the industrialization of environmental projects and make existing industry more environmentally conscious and the formation of a Resource-recycling-based Society are the comprehensive focus of the project. The Government of Japan has also continually promoted public awareness on the issue through Government Public relations campaigns and incorporation of the acquired knowledge into the curriculum of the Educational system.