Statement by Mr. Takeshi OSUGA,
Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Annual Session of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board
6 June 2011
At outset, I would like to thank the Executive Director Dr. Osotimehin for the comprehensive statement on his annual report and for the openness with which he has personally engaged himself in the dialogue with the Member States in the preparatory process for this annual session of the Board.
I would also like to express Japan’s deep gratitude for the warm sympathy demonstrated by UNFPA and its staff members in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and during the visit of the Executive Director to Japan in April. Despite this unprecedented disaster, Japan will remain fully engaged in international cooperation for development and will honor its commitments.
Mindful of the emphasis the Executive Director places on sexual and reproductive health among the ICPD agenda in the context of the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan as well as on the achievement of MDG 5, I would like to share my government’s policy in the related areas.
Japan places great importance on the issue of global health, including maternal and child health and reproductive health because it is directly linked to human security. Global health merits particular attention also because the health related MDGs, in particular MDG 5, are lagging behind towards their achievement as was explained by the Executive Director.
Accordingly, global health was one of the main themes discussed at the MDGs Follow-up Ministerial Meeting my Government organized in Tokyo last Thursday and Friday, June 2 and 3 to discuss and identify effective modalities to improve the delivery on the ground and fill the implementation gaps towards achieving the MDGs in the five remaining years.
The meeting highlighted on the maternal, newborn and child health, infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as well as the emerging challenges of non-communicable diseases. One of the conclusions reached was the need to tackle these issues with a holistic and integrated approach, through;
-identifying the vulnerable women and children
-identifying specific quality actions,
-strengthening the capacity and governance of health systems,
-delivering an effective package of interventions including nutrition and reproductive health services, and
-seeking synergy with related areas such as infrastructure, safe water and sanitation, and other social developments.
I am fully aware of having talked a lot about much broader issues than UNFPA’s core mandate and activities as defined in the current Strategic Plan. It was in my humble hope to draw the attention of UNFPA and the Board members to the importance of maintaining a wider vision and perspective in the mid-term review exercise and in the self-defining process toward the next Strategic Plan.
While there is a great merit for UNFPA to sharpen and focus its strategic direction to areas where UNFPA has comparative advantage now, all possible entry points should be carefully preserved in order to strengthen its collaboration with other stakeholders including multilateral agencies, bilateral donors, civil society organizations and others. Flexibility is indispensable for realizing the comprehensive and effective measures I have just explained. Such entry points, which would allow UNFPA to contribute to wider development agenda and the effective delivery of services to those in need, would include; all activities that fall under the pillar of “population and development” including its field-based know-how on population dynamics, humanitarian actions targeting women, and as a tool, the traditional and deep rooted relationship with civil society and parliamentarians both in program and donor countries.
In the same vein, I would like to emphasize the importance of UNFPA to continue to be strongly committed to the promotion of system-wide coherence, in particular, the harmonization of business practices. UNFPA has made significant contribution in gluing together its sister agencies which are much bigger in size than UNFPA. With the newly-born UN Women, we believe UNFPA has even more potential to contribute to inter-agency collaboration, including towards the integrated budget process. In our view, “doing more with less” can be made possible only by working together with others.
In conclusion, my Government looks forward to continue to collaborate closely with UNFPA towards achieving the MDGs and beyond.