Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Japan
Annual Session of the Executive Board of UNICEF
Item 3: Annual report of the Executive Director:
Progress and Achievement in 2010
20 June 2011
First of all, I would like to thank Executive Director, Mr. Tony Lake, for his thoughtful opening statement and the presentation of his annual report on progress and achievement against UNICEF’s medium-term strategic plan.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my Government’s heartfelt gratitude for the warm sympathy and overwhelming offers of assistance by Member States, international organizations and civil society in the wake of the earthquake that hit Japan on March 11. My Government is particularly thankful to the support from UNICEF and its National Committees as well as to the recent visit of the Executive Director to the disaster affected areas.
Despite the unprecedented magnitude of the disaster, Japan will remain fully engaged in international cooperation for development and will continue to honor its commitments. Japan’s voluntary contribution to UNICEF’s regular resources for 2011, representing an increase of over 20% compared to last year, will shortly be disbursed in accordance with the pledge my delegation made in February during the first regular session.
The annual report of the Executive Director includes, inter alia, the review of progress UNICEF has made towards achieving the MDGs, building on the discussion at the MDGs Summit last September. I would like to share with the Board some of the most recent developments in our efforts to achieve the MDGs, in the context of Japan’s collaboration with UNICEF.
On June 2 and 3, less than three months after the earthquake, Japan co-organized with UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank and JICA the MDGs Follow-up Meeting in Tokyo. My Government is grateful to Mr. Tony Lake for his personal presence at the meeting and also to UNICEF for its contribution to the preparatory process. The Meeting aimed to maintain the momentum and accelerate the process towards 2015 and was attended by over 110 countries, including 24 ministerial-level heads of delegation and 20 regional and international organizations, NGOs and private sector representatives.
The Ministerial Meeting discussed how to narrow the implementation gap and reaffirmed the necessity of reaching the poorest and most marginalized populations at the community-level by focusing on “equity” as has been forcefully advocated by Mr. Lake, and in line with the concept of human security, which Japan has been promoting.
In relation to UNICEF’s focus area 1: Young child survival and development and focus area 3: HIV/AIDS and children, the Meeting discussed the issues of maternal, newborn and child health as well as infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS. One of the conclusions reached was the need to deliver an effective package of interventions, including nutrition, and ensuring continuum of care from pre-pregnancy to after childbirth. In this respect, my delegation welcomes the reference made in the Executive Director’s annual report to Japan’s new global health policy which was developed in close consultation with UNICEF before proposing it at the MDGs Summit.
Regarding UNICEF’s focus area 2: Basic education and gender equality, the participants reaffirmed the importance of improving the quality of education, increasing both access and retention of girls in schools and starting with early childhood development. It was also recognized that the outcomes in education, as in health, are greatly influenced by factors beyond that narrow sector, such as nutrition, clean water, sanitation, infrastructure and social protection in general. In our view, the capacity to adopt such a multi-sectoral approach on the ground is the real strength of UNICEF.
A second example of Japan’s collaboration with UNICEF regarding the MDGs relates to sanitation. As mentioned in the annual report, the MDGs target on halving the population without basic sanitation is seriously lagging behind. Japan, in partnership with UNICEF and the Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), took the lead in formulating the initiative named “Sustainable sanitation: five-year drive to 2015”. The launch of the initiative will take place tomorrow morning in this building in presence of the Secretary General and the Executive Director of UNICEF.
Last but not least, I should emphasize that Japan is a traditional supporter of UNICEF’s humanitarian actions in natural disaster and conflict affected countries as well as in areas such as polio eradication. My delegation appreciates that the annual report puts special focus and provides useful information on UNICEF’s humanitarian actions in 2010. In this respect, Japan supported in 2010 and this year UNICEF’s emergency and humanitarian actions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Haiti as well as in Africa through our non-core contributions.
To conclude, the Government of Japan is pleased to see the achievements by UNICEF in 2010 and encourages UNICEF to continue in that path towards 2015. Japan will remain fully committed to strengthening its partnership with UNICEF in upstream policy settings, advocacy and awareness raising, and downstream actions to address the real needs of vulnerable children on the ground.
Thank you for your attention.