Statement by Dr. Eiji Hinoshita
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Plenary meeting of the 68th Session of the General Assembly
Agenda Item 127: Global Health and Foreign Policy
11 December 2013
I would like to begin by thanking the Oslo Group for drafting the current resolution on Global Health and Foreign Policy, and Indonesia for facilitating it. Japan fully supported the proposal of the Oslo Group and appreciated their efforts, and subsequently decided to join in the co-sponsorship. It gives me great pleasure to briefly state my Government’s position on global health issues, including global partnership, on the occasion of the adoption of this resolution.
The Government of Japan regards global health issues as an important element of our foreign policy. As stated by Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, during the general debate of the 68th General Assembly in September, Japan has decided to promote universal health coverage (UHC). The achievement of UHC is extremely important in closing the gap in access to health services and meeting the wide ranging health needs to accomplish the health-related MDGs with limited budget. UHC can be a powerful tool to help reinforce national ownership and set priorities in search for value for money.
In 1961, Japan set up a national health insurance system and through this system has achieved UHC. In part because of this, my country has achieved the greatest average longevity of any country in the world. We would like to share our relevant experiences and knowledge with the other Member States and contribute to the health and longevity of societies all around the world.
From this point of view, as announced at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly on the MDGs, my country committed to contributing USD 5 billion over five years to address health-related development issues, and we are steadily implementing that commitment. Japan also announced at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), which was held in June that we had mobilized USD 500 million, and are at present concentrating on setting up training programmes for some 120,000 medical service providers in order to address health issues in Africa.
Global partnership, which is the theme of the current resolution, is also the core of MDG8. My delegation believes that further progress toward achieving MDG8 is essential especially for the promotion and the achievement of UHC.
Some problems have been pointed out with regard to global health policies, such as the fact that some policies only address specific diseases and/or allocate resources inappropriately for them. In order to resolve these problems, global partnerships should be improved and extended including through information sharing among different stakeholders and the coordination of assistance based on the national strategies in the assisted countries. In this regard, my delegation hopes to see such extension based on the current resolution.
Given that more and more poor people suffer from an increasingly diverse burden of diseases, and that technology is contributing to addressing these global health needs, Japan has taken a lead in formulating the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund in order to address neglected tropical diseases. The GHIT Fund is an innovative financing mechanism for global health, which overarches traditional assistance frameworks such as North-South and South-South cooperation. My delegation expects the GHIT Fund to contribute to addressing global health issues through research and development of new pharmaceuticals for the neglected tropical diseases. We also expect that other initiatives of this kind will be formulated and expand hereafter, and that this resolution will contribute to formulating more efficient and broader partnerships for health.
We would like to underscore the relationship between global health and human security. The promotion of global health is closely linked to human security, since access to basic health services and affordable quality medicine is crucial for people to be free from want and fear. Human security provides a comprehensive approach that strengthens the protection and empowerment of individuals and communities. Although human security was not incorporated into the current resolution, Japan expects it to be integrated into the next year’s resolution.
There are only two years left before the deadline for the achievement of the MDGs. Beyond that deadline, lies the post-2015 development agenda, the discussion of which Japan has been actively contributing to, through such efforts as organizing the Post-2015 Development Agenda Contact Group since 2011.
My delegation believes that it is important to continue to develop the various partnerships, which have been active over the last 10 years, and move their discussions forward, in order to enable as broader a collection of stakeholders as possible. In this regard, my Government hopes to contribute the many valuable lessons and knowledge we have accumulated from the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.
Thank you Madame President.