Statement by Ms. Asako Okai
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Debate of the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly
On the Independent Report of the Senior Advisory Group
on Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict
May 11, 2011
Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Chair of the Senior Advisory Group, and
Ms. Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for field support,
It gives me great pleasure to address on the independent report of the Senior Advisory Group on Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict and thank Mr. President for convening this debate. Japan welcomes the issuance of this report under able leadership of Mr. Guéhenno and looks forwards to the forthcoming first follow-up report by the Secretary-General in the summer to operationalize the recommendations contained in the independent report. The Steering Group chaired by Ms. Susana Malcorra was given the very challenging task of overcoming the current fragmented system within and beyond the UN. Japan supports the practical approach by the Steering Group which seeks fast-track delivery of recommendations that can be carried out in the short term, while taking incremental steps for implementation of the medium-to-long-term targets.
There is another recently-published report that has significant implications for the implementation of the civilian capacity review, namely the World Development Report 2011. Based on extensive research, the WDR calls for a renewed international coalition to scale up coherent support for citizen security, justice and jobs in countries emerging from conflict in order to avoid a relapse into conflict. The WDR admits that the response of the international community in these sectors to date has been fragmented and incoherent. The implementation of the recommendations of the independent report on civilian capacity has a crucial role to play in rectifying the current practice, and achieve the recommendations of the WDR.
I would like to raise three points that Japan deems important in considering the independent report.
First, we are interested in examining how the international community can improve coordination, develop planning capacities for integrated strategies, and align civilian deployment to that effect in post-conflict situations. We acknowledge that there are varying views on the proposed cluster approach on this issue, but it is clear that the international community must clarify who takes the lead responsibility in sector-wide coordination for developing cohesive strategies and deployment plans. We would like to underscore that the efforts should focus on finding practical solutions that have immediate impacts on country-specific responses, rather than on determining which agency directs which respective cluster in abstract terms. In this sense, Japan welcomes Ms. Malcorra’s notion that fast-track application of the recommendation to the field is to be seriously considered in such place as South Sudan.
Second, regarding an effective partnership mechanism for civilian deployment, we believe that it is important to build on ongoing efforts within the UN, such as the introduction of the roster system. On the other hand, we recognize that there is a critical resource gap in the existing pool, particularly in the areas of citizen security, justice and jobs as illustrated by the WDR. Thus, we consider it vital to expand the pool of resources in such resource-scarce areas by partnering with training centers outside the UN. In doing so, member states will benefit a lot from the establishment of sector-wide standards for civilian training and certification of training programs by the UN. In addition, we believe that training should take into account cultural diversity, including knowledge of local languages and legal systems, so that national institutional building and support by the deployed civilians can take place in a contextualized manner. Human resource development is a long-term endeavor, but we hope that Ms. Malcorra’s team will create a roadmap to this end.
Third, Japan understands the importance of reviewing the funding mechanism for nimble response. At the same time, we are mindful that there will be financial implications when the UN expands financial support to contributing countries or increases deployment through the roster system. We request more clarity in the envisaged division of labor between the UN missions and UN country teams, as well as the demarcation between the use of assessed and voluntary contributions. We urge the Secretariat to streamline the various funding-related recommendations of the independent report and make suggestions in the follow-up report of the Secretary General, so that the Member States can fully discuss this matter in the autumn this year.
In closing, I would like to reiterate Japan’s strong interest in improving the international response for civilian support to conflict-affected countries. We are fully committed to working closely with member states, the UN and other stakeholders in various fora on the future consideration of this matter.
I thank you, Mr. President.