Statement by H.E. Ambassador Shigeki SUMI
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the First Session of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee
for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries
January 10, 2011
Let me first of all congratulate the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee, Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen of Finland, on your election. Also, I would like to thank Ambassador Diarra, the Secretary-General of the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC IV) for preparing this PrepCom conference.
Japan is committed to the development of LDCs. Japan has been extending substantial assistance to LDCs in Asia. It has also been actively supporting Africa, where 33 of the 49 LDCs are found, through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, the TICAD process. And the LDCs among the small island developing states, not only those in the Pacific but also Haiti, are the major focus of Japan’s development cooperation as well.
Japan attaches great importance to LDC IV. It will provide us with a once-in-a-decade opportunity to reaffirm our determination to accelerate our efforts for the development of LDCs. LDC IV must produce an effective outcome that would promote all stakeholders’ active engagement in this endeavor. Japan supports the adoption of a concise declaration or an action plan with clear message.
More specifically, Japan proposes the following general principles and policies to be included in the outcome of LDC IV.
The LDCs’ ownership and their own self-help efforts are of fundamental necessity for any success. The role of international support based on partnership should be to back up such efforts by the LDCs themselves.
It is extremely encouraging to see many LDCs seriously consider “graduating” from that status, which is a clear sign of their commitment to their own development.
- Self-sustained development
The ultimate goal of providing assistance to LDCs is to realize their self-sustained development. It requires an autonomous economic growth mechanism which is not overly dependent on foreign assistance or the public sector, but rather driven by private sector activities. In order to facilitate and support private sector activities, it is crucially important for LDC governments to utilize “Aid for Trade” and to mainstream its trade activities. Needless to say, economic growth should also be inclusive, equitable, and environmentally sustainable.
- Strengthening the productive sector
Investment in the productive sector is a must for sustained economic growth in LDCs. The international community should support crucial areas linked to the improvement of an environment for foreign direct investment, including infrastructure, industrial development, trade, human resource development, and agriculture. These have been among the major target areas of Japan’s official development assistance.
- Continued focus on the social sector
LDCs are the countries which are most vulnerable to external shocks, including not only natural disasters such as earthquakes and cyclones but also global economic crises. But what does it mean exactly when one says “a country is vulnerable”? In our view, it means that the majority of its people has little resilience against these sudden serious downturns. Hence, we should pay attention to the most vulnerable people from the perspective of human security.
Since the creation of the UN Trust Fund for Human Security in 1999, Japan has continuously contributed to the activities of this trust fund aiming to protect and empower the most vulnerable layer of the society in 121 countries and regions.
Our effort should aim to strike the balance between the nation-wide macroeconomic growth and the development of the social sector, including health and education.
- Partnership, including South-South and triangular cooperation
Today, South-South and triangular cooperation is widely recognized as an indispensable means of international development cooperation. Japan has been a frontrunner in the promotion of South-South and triangular cooperation for over 30 years.
Since LDC III, the number of stakeholders in international development has rapidly increased. Recently, in addition to OECD-DAC members, emerging countries and the private sector including civil society organizations and private philanthropic foundations are playing a major role in LDCs’ development. Japan strongly believes that by engaging all these stakeholders in a broader partnership, LDC IV will be able to achieve tangible results.
These are the factors which Japan believes would guide us to draw up a successful outcome document of LDC IV.
Last but not least, Japan will do its utmost to ensure the success of LDC IV.
I thank you.