Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto will formally announce an “Initiative for Sustainable Development” aimed at boosting Japan’s assistance in environmental protection in developing nations, government sources said June 12.

Hashimoto will make the announcement during his speech on the first day of the United Nations General Assembly’s special session on the environment, which is scheduled for June 23-27 at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York, the sources said. The ISD will stress the importance of “global human security,” self-help efforts by developing countries and their sustainable development as three basic tenets, the sources said.

It will touch on various Japanese projects to help developing countries, especially those in Asia. The initiative will address issues such as acid rain and deforestation, preservation of biodiversity and coral reefs, and steps to ensure a stable supply of fresh water and enhance public awareness of environmental preservation, the sources said.

The ISD will include establishment of an East Asia network to monitor damage caused by acid rain and to foster experts on the issue in developing Asian countries, the sources said. It also will utilize the International Tropical Timber Organization, a Yokohama-based international body, to protect forests in developing countries in Asia and elsewhere, the sources said. Under the initiative, model projects for afforestation will be implemented in India and Nepal with Tokyo’s official development assistance.

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