Statement by Junichi Sumi, First Secretary
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Sixty-sixth Session of the General Assembly
1 November 2013
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
At the outset, I would like to pay tribute to the victims of landmines, which include many women and children. I commend the dedicated work of deminers and also pay tribute to those who lost their lives in their duty.
Landmines and unexploded ordnances pose a grave threat to the survival, livelihood and dignity of people around the world. It is an issue to which the concept of human security, a concept that Japan is determined to make further efforts to mainstream and upon which to build actual practices, well applies.
To achieve the vision of a mine-free world and as a State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Japan has been extending support to UXO and mine-affected countries to help implement their treaty obligations. Since 1998, Japan has continuously provided assistance to 49 countries and regions, amounting to approximately 530 million US dollars. These include clearance of landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnances, as well as risk education and victim assistance projects.
Within the efforts of the international community to achieve a mine-free world and to provide assistance for victims, the United Nations plays a vital role. From this viewpoint, Japan supports the mine-action efforts through the United Nations Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action, including the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), UNDP, and UNICEF. Japan has been a strong supporter of UN’s mine action for many years and we are pleased to become the largest financial contributor in 2013 to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action (UN-VTF) managed by UNMAS.
Japan welcomes the report of the Secretary-General (A/68/305) and the observations and recommendations contained therein. We also welcome the United Nations Strategy on Mine Action 2013-2018, and appreciate the efforts it has made to set clear objectives and indicators as well as outlining UN concrete activities against mines. Moreover, we welcome the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism in support of the Strategy. We are keen to see how the Strategy will be implemented in the coming years. Japan hopes that cross-cutting coordination as noted in the Strategy will improve the coherence, effectiveness and impact of collective responses in support of national authorities, and also facilitate effective engagement by international partners.
Recently, Japan nominated itself to succeed Australia as the next Chair of the Mine Action Support Group (the MASG), which is a forum of donor countries that shares information and discusses current issues on mine action. We hope to facilitate discussions among our partners in order to adequately respond to the evolving needs of mine action around the world. Additionally, in preparation for the International Day for Mine Action Awareness next year, Japan and UNMAS are planning to hold a week of activities in Geneva, New York, and affected countries to highlight women’s role in mine-action and the positive achievements which UN mine action has delivered throughout the world. Through these multiple initiatives, Japan aspires to increase the momentum for mine action with an eye to the upcoming Third Review Conference of the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention scheduled for June 2014 in Mozambique.
Japan, as a co-sponsor, supports the draft resolution on assistance in mine action to be adopted later today. We thank the delegation of Poland for their leadership in drafting the resolution, and also thank all delegations for the cooperation and flexibility they have shown during the consultations. We welcome the emphasis on the further participation of women in the programming of mine action, in addition to encouraging the United Nations to continue taking measures to improve coordination, efficiency, transparency and accountability. With the adoption of this resolution, we sincerely hope that mine-action efforts will be further strengthened throughout the international community.
Finally, Mr. Chair,
Japan shares and upholds the UN’s vision for a world free of landmines and explosive remnants of war. We acknowledge the many challenges ahead before this vision can be achieved, and in this light we renew our commitment to assisting affected countries, in partnership with all relevant stakeholders. Taking this opportunity, we would like to thank our partners at the local, national and international levels, for their efforts in making progress to achieve our common goal. We would also like to invite emerging donors to join in the global effort to eliminate the threat and socio-economic impact of these deadly weapons.
I thank you.