(check against delivery)
Statement by Ms. Asako Okai, Minister Counsellor,
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On “Maintenance of international peace and security: conflict prevention and natural resources”
19 June 2013
I would like to thank the U.K. for its timely initiative to hold this Open Debate on conflict prevention and natural resources.
If managed correctly, natural resources can serve as a growth engine by increasing investments, state revenue, and employment opportunities. However, weak management of these resources, in particular, illegal exploitation and trading of extractive resources, may trigger and perpetuate conflicts. The international community, therefore, must engage with this issue in a coherent and coordinated manner, in an effort to build the management capacity of resource-rich yet conflict-affected countries.
Japan, in its capacity as the Chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), has addressed this topic in the past. More specifically, the meeting on 8 July 2011, which was devoted to “Economic Revitalization and Youth Employment for Peacebuilding”, generated some useful lessons on natural resource management that I wish to share with the Council today.
First, resource management is dealt with by multiple actors and is composed of multiple dimensions, including sanctions, peace negotiations, law enforcement, regulatory and transparency regimes, human rights, and environmental concerns. The international community must do more to take coordinated actions to respond to the problem. In this regard, the PBC, while it is not in a position to take the lead in all aspects of natural resource management, can take the initiative in the area of peacebuilding and coalesce all stakeholders to develop a coherent approach. For example, the PBC should facilitate the integration of natural resource issues into peacebuilding strategies, as well as in the context of security and justice sector reforms. It can also reach out to relevant institutions if gaps are identified in terms of financial and technical assistance to improve revenue management or increase transparency.
Second, post-conflict populations should be able to benefit from peace dividends derived from natural resources extracted from their own soil, otherwise they can risk relapsing into conflicts. The efforts for conflict prevention and effective resource management should always include this perspective. Assisting diversification and value addition of extractive industries also serves this purpose. We intend to further explore this theme in the upcoming meeting of the PBC’s Working Group on Lessons Learned scheduled for 10 July. As part of our discussion on domestic resource mobilization, we intend to shed light on the important linkage between the revenue raised and the actual service delivery on the ground to avoid recurrence of conflicts.
Third, voluntary initiatives such as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) are vital. Compliance with these initiatives will enhance the governance of resource-rich countries and corporate values of the private sector. In addition, the Working Group meeting highlighted the role of civil society and the internet in improving transparency, using the example of Liberia, where the government publishes mining contracts on a website to enhance confidence in contracts negotiated with private companies.
Japan, in its national capacity, has also contributed to assisting better management of natural resources.
First, improving the effectiveness of the sanctions regimes is of critical importance in restricting the flow of illicit resources. The Permanent Mission of Japan has been co-hosting a series of roundtables in order to enhance the understanding of these regimes and strengthen non-proliferation efforts.
Second, Japan has been supporting the improvement of livelihood and welfare of population in the conflict-affected mining areas, including through a project for Peace Consolidation in Mining Area in North Kivu, as well as humanitarian assistances in the Eastern Region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, based on the concept of human security. A fair and balanced distribution of peace dividend in conflict-torn areas will enhance national reconciliation efforts.
Third, Japan has supported the expansion of various international initiatives such as the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas, and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), through contribution to its Multi-Donor Trust Fund in the case of the latter. In order for these initiatives to genuinely take effect, there needs to be a wider acceptance of such initiatives.
Lastly, the outcome document of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), just held earlier this month, stipulates to “promote sustainable management of all Africa’s natural resources and conservation of biodiversity.” Japan is committed to promoting sustainable and resilient growth in Africa, in addition to supporting its efforts to maintain peace and stability.
I thank you, Mr. President.