Minutes of First Plenary Meeting of NPO Corporation
Partnership Center project to set up a practical environmental education
network covering five Asian countries
Date and time: November 24, 2009, 13:00hrs 〜16:30 hrs
Venue: AOSSA Plaza, Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture, Japan
Training Room # 605
Discussion among representatives of NPO Corporation Partnership Center and partner
organizations in China, Mongolia, South Korea and Myanmar to determine the overall
strategy of the project to be implemented in six identified locations in these countries.
Participants (a total of 21 people)
1. Wang, Deputy General Secretary, Zhejiang Green Environment Conservation Association,
Zhejiang Province, China
2. Zheng Zhu Yun, Deputy Secretary, Zhejiang Provincial People’s Association for
Friendship with Foreign Countries, Zheijiang Province, China
3. Hasugowa, Preparatory committee for establishing the Eco-school, Inner Mongolia, China
4. Kim, Director, Social Welfare Corporation Happy Creation, South Korea
5. Batbayar Ulziidelger, Director, NPO Forester, Mongolia
6. Kinra Tatsuta, Member, Fukui Japan- Friendship Society (Fukui-ken),
7. Tsuji Kazunori, Director, NPO Corporation Partnership Center, Japan
8. Tsuji Hideko, Project Coordinator for China and Myanmar, NPO Corporation Partnership Center, Japan
9. Kawahara Yuuiti, project staff responsible for Zhejiang, China
10. Ueno Youhei, Project Coordinator for Inner Mongolia
11. Murakami Tadaaki, Project Coordinator for South Korea
12. Itou Akihiro, project staff responsible for South Korea
13. Tsuji Hideyuki, Project Coordinator for Mongolia
14. Tsuji Kinu, Project Advisor for Myanmar
In addition, seven other NPO staff attended the plenary
The participants were welcomed to the plenary session by NPO Corporation Partnership
Center Director Tsuji Kazunori. This was followed by self-introduction by the participants.
The NPO Director Tsuji Kazunori and Project Coordinator for China and Myanmar,
Tsuji Hideko then outlined the goals and objectives of the project and the modalities
for funding the activities by the partners. They explained the purpose of setting up
the practical environmental education network and the schedule of the proposed activities.
The participants had a chance to understand the environmental education situation
in each other’s country in the context of the river water cycle and its importance for
the daily lives of local communities. The following rivers in the five countries are
covered by the project:
Presentations on the river ecosystems during the plenary meeting of the practical environmental
education network covering five Asian countries
1. Japan: Asuwa River, flowing through Fukui-shi to the Sea of Japan.
Presenter: Kawahara Yuuichi
・The Asuwa River flows down from Mount Kanmuri in Ikeda town and passes through Fukui
City before it joins the Hino River in Miyama and then continues to the Sea of Japan.
It meanders through Fukui City between flood embankments covered with rows of cherry trees
which have been chosen among the 100 best places in Japan for viewing cherry blossoms.
・The narrow width of the Asuwa in Fukui makes it flood prone and heavy rains in July 2004
led to the worst flooding in many years which saw the river break through the embankments
and cause heavy flooding in Fukui City.
・Asuwa River was a major water transport route during the warring clans’ period of Fukui’s
history. Fifty years ago, trunks of trees felled in Miyama were tied together to make rafts
and then floated down the Asuwa to the sea.
2. Mongolia: Oruhon River flowing into Lake Baikal in Russia and Seringu River
Presenter: Batbayar Ulziidelger
・It is estimated that one-thirds of the rivers and lakes in Mongolia have gone dry or
disappeared in the past 20 years. It is feared that Mongolia’s longest river, the Orkhon
may meet the same fate. A number of factors are threatening Mongolia’s water bodies.
・Deforestation to feed the growing paper factories has reduced the forest cover from 8
percent in the 1990s to just 5 percent. The annual rainfall is only for two weeks. The width
of the Orkhon river is becoming narrower and a fish species found only in the river is disappearing.
・Outdated mining techniques for gold and copper extraction using large quantities of river
water are polluting the river and killing the fish.
・The groundwater level is getting reduced owing to its excessive use to meet urban needs,
mainly in the capital city Ulaanbataar which has 1 million people. The capital depends heavily
on groundwater to meet household toilet needs and it is projected the city will face a serious
water shortage from 2012. There is a view that the city be relocated to near the Orkhon River.
A decision is expected in 2010.
・Advancing desertification from the south has brought sands to within 50 km of Ulaanbaatar City
from a distance of about 300 km away.
・The population of goats kept by the nomad herders has increased from 3 million 20 years ago to
16 million. Cashmere goats have become popular with the nomads who also keep cows and horses because
of the large market the cashmere. However, unlike cows and horses who only eat surface grass, goats
even eat the roots of the grass which makes it impossible for the soil to hold moisture. The
growing goat population has led to reduced green cover on the pastures and increasing desertification.
This has led the enactment of the law regulating the size of the goat herds.
・The Orkhon River joins the Selenge River which flows into Lake Baikal in Russia. It is also said
to be linked to Lake Baikal through an underground lake in Mongolia. The pollution in the Orkhon and
the Selenge Rivers is also causing heavy pollution in Lake Baikal for which the Selenge is a major
source of water.
3. Inner Mongolia, China: Neringoru River and Orugai River
・There is a very close relationship between the people and rivers in Inner Mongolia. As a child,
the presenter would go with his family to play on the Orugai River on which they would go boating.
The Neringoru River is in East Ujimuchin.
・The cattle and sheep herds of the nomads would drink from the river and could not survive without
the river. Before the availability of piped water in taps, people had to depend on ground water wells.
・In Inner Mongolia, people do not pollute the river by dumping household waste. There is awareness
that pollution will affect the river-life cycle in which rain makes the grass grow on which sheep feed
before being eaten by humans who when they die are returned to the soil.
4. China: Qiangtang River
Presenter: Wang, Zheng Zhu Yun
・China’s largest river, the Yangtze rises in the Tibetan plateau from where other major rivers flow
down to India and Southeast Asia. There are many small rivers in the north, south and east. Dams have
been built across the rivers.
・Zheijiang province has 10 percent water with many water bodies including the River Qiantang, the River
Yangtze, the West Lake, the Kuril Lake, the Grand Canal. The West Lake is a major water body linked to
the River Qiantang which is the longest river in Zheijiang province with a length of 285 km and a large
backflow similar to that seen in the Amazon River in Brazil. The 1,800 km Grand Canal which links
Hangzhou City to Beijing is to be granted a World Heritage site status in the first half of 2010.
The Kuril Lake is a large dam reservoir.
・In recent years, rapid economic and industrial growth has put pressure on the water resources and led
to a serious problem of water pollution. Zheijiang Province is taking conservation steps to protect its
water resources in the Qiantang river and the West Lake. Construction of factories has been prohibited
in the upper reaches of the big rivers. Government policies are being modified to control environmental
pollution caused by economic development.
・River water management was previously done by the central ministry but now there is a move to
decentralize it to the 32 provinces in China. The water-rich southern region of the country is to be
linked to the northern by construction of tunnels.
5. Myanmar: Ayyerwadi River
Presenter: Kinra Tatsuta
・Myanmar has a population about half of Japan's and an area that is about 1.8 times that of Japan.
It is a predominantly agricultural country and water is vital to people’s livelihoods. The main
river is the Ayyerwadi which flows from the north to the south before reaching the Andaman Sea.
The December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami affected the river delta region where most of the victims lived.
・The river is used for public transport and many people living on the river and there are numerous
legends about the river. But very few people seem to be interested in protecting the river and many
seem to be apathetic.
6. South Korea: Han River
・The Han River flowing in Seoul is one of four major rivers in the Republic of Korea. Urban development
in the 1970s and 1980s has seen many factories built near the river which has polluted the once clean Han.
・The no-man’s-land, 2 km north and south of the 38th parallel marking the demilitarized zone remains
pristine. The Imjin River flowing down from North Korea joins the Han south of Seoul.
・South Korea could face water shortages in the next 10 years. The government’s plan to link the four
major rivers into a canal is facing opposition.
The participants discussed the purpose of the Earth College to be established by the
project in the light of similar initiatives elsewhere in the world. The timetable
for implementing the Earth Colleges in the project locations was also discussed.
It was observed that some meetings of project preparatory committees have been held
in some project locations. The following schedules and representatives were identified
for forthcoming preparatory committee visits.
Preparatory Committee Members: Batbayar Ulziidelger, and Tsuji Hideyuki
Visit schedule: early March 2010
Project staff who visited: Tsudi Hideyuki
Zhejiang Province, China
Preparatory Committee Members: Wang, Kazunori Tsuji and Kawahara Yuuiti
Visit schedule: Late 2010, one visit in July 2009
Project staff who visited: Tsuji Kazunori, Tsuji Hideko, Kawahara Yuuiti
Inner Mongolia, China
Preparatory Committee Members: Hasugowa and Ueno Youhei
Visit schedule: Implementation committee visit in (August 2009)
Project staff who visited; Ueno Youhei
Preparatory Committee Members: Kim, Tadaaki Murakami, and Itou Akihiro
Visit schedule: Preparatory Committee will travel there in late January 2010
Project staff to visit: Tadaaki Murakami, and Itou Akihiro
Preparatory Committee Members: Kinra Tatsuta, Tsuji Hideko and Tsuji Kinu
Visit schedule: Early February 2010
Visitors: Tsuji Hideko, Tsuji Kinu