Scholarly Publications and Papers
Help | Free Search | Search by Year | Search by Country | Search by Issue (Subject) | G8 Centre

Keeping Sustainable Development Commitments:
The Recent G7 Record

Ella Kokotsis

[Previous] [Document Contents] [Next]

Tokyo Summit, 1993


The leaders emphasized in Tokyo that the environment remained a high priority on their policy agenda despite enduring economic constraints. The leaders welcomed the successful first meeting of the CSD and the progress made towards implementation and ratification of the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Biodiversity Convention.

One of the new items in the Tokyo communique was the leaders' desire to push forward negotiations for a convention on desertification. The UNEP estimated in 1991 that six million hectares was lost annually due to desertification, "affecting the livelihood of more than 900 million people in 100 countries". Moreover, UNEP estimated that the cost of "preventive, corrective and rehabilitative antidesertification measures" lay somewhere between US$10-22 billion per year. Despite these statistics, however, no formal negotiation for a convention on desertification was attained by the G7 member states immediately following the Tokyo summit. (IDRC, Sept. 1994; 5, 11) One of the key reasons for the reluctance to negotiate such a convention was the fact that some states argued that desertification was not a global problem, but a regional one. (Japan Times, Sept. 28, 1994) However, in June 1994 -just days prior to the Naples summit - a Convention to Combat Desertification was adopted in Paris. (NIKKEI, June 30, 1994) Although not signed by the member states at the time of the Naples summit, the adoption of the convention indicated that the G7 - among other convention participants - were in the process of taking serious steps to deal with the issue of desertification.

The Tokyo communique also emphasized the leaders' determination to publish national action plans by the end of 1993. The Canadian government argues it had previously met this commitment by releasing on December 11, 1990, Canada's Green Plan whose framework was to "secure for current and future generations a safe and healthy environment, and a sound and prosperous economy". (Canada and the Earth Summit 1992; 7)

Currently in its fourth year, the Green Plan continues to provide Canada's national strategy and action plan for sustainable development by focusing on short-term objectives and longer term priorities. Environment Canada remains responsible for Green Plan development and for monitoring implementation. Moreover, the Canadian Government released Canada's Green Plan: The Second Year in 1993. It "reviewed the Green Plan commitments, outlined the measures taken by the Government to meet those commitments, and plan [ned] for year three". (Department of Finance Estimates, Environment, 1994-95; 137) The report outlined a number of indicators signifying that progress had been made in implementing sustainable development initiatives. The report indicated that Canada had succeeded in reducing packaged waste by 20%, that CFC consumption had declined 58% since 1986, that federal-provincial agreements had been signed to promote sustainable agriculture, that land had been set aside for the development of new national parks, that a Wild Animal and Plant Protection Act had been passed to reduce poaching and smuggling, and that the Energy and Efficiency Act had been passed to develop and commercialize new technologies for energy efficiency.

The Canadian Government also released in September 1993, a first draft National Report on the implementation of the Climate Change Convention, with a final report due for release following a period of public input. According to Department of Finance Estimates, the government spent CDN$1,105 million on global warming initiatives in 1992-1993.. (Dept. of Finance Estimates, Environment, 1994-95; 112)

Unlike Munich, the Tokyo communique pushed for the implementation and ratification of the Biodiversity Convention, which Canada had ratified in December, 1992. In 1992-93, Environment Canada established the Biodiversity Convention Office "to lead the development of a Canadian Biodiversity Strategy" along with federal departments, the provinces and territories, industry and conservation groups. A draft strategy was completed for public comment in April 1994, with the final document due for public release in November 1994. (Dept. of Finance Estimates, Environment, 1994-1995; 112)

The Tokyo communique further stated that the G7 countries would work to ensure that the GEF functions as the financial mechanism to provide funding for the costs of implementing the global environment conventions signed at Rio. The GEF continued to provide grants in 1993 to cover the additional costs of investing in efforts to protect the global environment. As stated, Canada's original contribution to the GEF's launch in 1991 had been CDN$25 million. In March 1994, Canada committed itself to replenish 4.28% of the global total ($2 billion), over a period of three years; a figure amounting to CDN$111.11 million. (IDRC, 1994; 23)

The Tokyo declaration also stressed the leaders' desire to seek appropriate internationally agreed arrangements on the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests. Following the summit, Canada proposed the creation of up to ten forest sites to serve as demonstration projects and working models for sustainable forestry development. Moreover, Canada committed to assist in "establishing international model forest projects in other countries over the next four years, to support international efforts to achieve sustainable forestry practices". (Canada's Green Plan: The Second Year, 1993) Canadian successes in forest projects overall, however, should not be overstated. According to a Government of Canada report, "harvesting rates continue to exceed regeneration by over 2 million hectares". According to one environmentalist, "in forest practices we're no closer to sustainability than we were 10 years ago". (Miller, 1994; 13)

Based on available evidence, it appears that compliance to environmental commitments by the G7 following the Tokyo summit rates satisfactory. Commitments to continue the CSD and GEF were fulfilled, as was the commitment to adopt a negotiation on the convention on desertification. The Biodiversity Convention was ratified by all G7 members, with the exception of the United States. Finally, by the end of 1993, the majority of the G7 had adopted national action plans as a basis for their guidelines to fulfil their UNCED commitments.

[Previous] [Document Contents] [Next]

G8 Centre
This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library and the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto.
Please send comments to:
This page was last updated .

All contents copyright © 1995-99. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.