2002 Statement



Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan

On the Theme "Strengthening of the Coordination of United Nations Humanitarian Assistance in Cases of Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Emergencies, With Particular Attention to Reaching the Vulnerable and the Transition from Relief to Development"

15 July 2002

Mr. President,

We have recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of the adoption of General Assembly resolution A/RES/46/182 which set out the guiding principles and mechanism for coordinating the humanitarian activities of the United Nations system. The Government of Japan believes that the international community must strictly adhere to these principles, which include impartiality and neutrality when engaging in these important activities.

The coordination mechanism has been improved steadily over the past decade, and on behalf of my Government, I would like to express sincere appreciation to all personnel involved for their efforts and dedication.

The Government of Japan believes it is important to make the memory of such efforts institutional and identify the lessons that can be learned from them. It is for that reason that we assist OCHA in convening panel discussions and publishing a book commemorating this critical resolution.

Mr. President,

I would like to touch upon the following three points.

First, as Japan has centuries of experience to cope with natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, it attaches great importance to the issue of natural disasters which victimize more than 200 million people all over the world every year. We support the efforts to expand the participation in United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coodination Teams (UNDAC) from developing countries, in particular Asia and Africa with a view to enhancing national disaster response efforts. In this connection, the Government of Japan is positively considering participating in UNDAC and is preparing to train UNDAC experts in cooperation with OCHA in Kobe, the city struck by an enormous earthquake several years ago.

The Japanese Government attaches great importance to the Guidelines for the Search and Rescue of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) and welcomes the ongoing review. It will actively participate in the consideration of searches and rescues in the coming session of the General Assembly.

Second, Mr. President, the protection of civilians in armed conflict is one of the most urgent issues that the international community must address, and we support the idea of a "culture of protection". This is why we are working with OCHA toward convening regional workshops on the matter.

The Japanese Government continues to be concerned about the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who now number more than 50 million in the whole world. It now provides the Unit on Internal Displacement with financial support, and is positively considering measures including assistance to the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons.

The allegations of sexual abuse that involve UN humanitarian workers are also a matter of grave concern. The Government of Japan hopes that the victims will receive the necessary assistance as soon as possible, and it will monitor the efforts of the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) closely.

Third, Mr. President, the international community has to make every effort to ensure a seamless transition from relief to development. In this connection, the Government of Japan highly appreciates the Immediate and Transitional Assistance Programme for the Afghan People (ITAP) which was worked out by the Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA) and the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) a few months after the launching of the Donor Alert on the humanitarian needs in and around Afghanistan. We also believe that more active involvement by international financial institutions should be sought to enhance the efforts to facilitate transitions.

The Government of Japan is determined to continue to do its utmost to ensure the funding for humanitarian activities, including those in response to "forgotten crises." On the other hand, a feasible strategy based on focused priorities and realistic funding levels is indispensable to the success of such appeals.We also believe that strengthening of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) should start with further involvement of NGOs in the formulation of the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) and promoting comprehension of the entire funding situation of humanitarian crises by developing a fund tracking system.

Mr. President,

The basis of the humanitarian activities is a shared sense of responsibility on the part of the international community. This can be demonstrated by adopting the outcome document by consensus at this humanitarian segment. Action should be taken for the sake of the vulnerable on the ground as well as humanitarian personnel working under extremely difficult conditions. In closing, Mr. President, I would like to assure you of my Governmentfs strong support for the efforts that you and the facilitator are making in this regard.

Thank you very much.