Statement by H.E. Mr. Shigeki Sumi
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
First Regular Session of the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA
UNDP Segment, 19 January 2010
At the outset, I would like to congratulate, on behalf of the Government of Japan, Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda on his election to the Presidency of UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board and the four Vice-Presidents on their election as the new Bureau members. I would also like to congratulate Ms. Rebecca Grynspan on her appointment as new Associate Administrator. My Government looks forward to working with you in a manner that will renew and further strengthen our firm partnership.
The Japanese Government would like to take this opportunity to express its profound sentiment of grief upon learning the devastating loss of life and damage in Haiti due to the recent earthquakes. We are struck by the fact that dedicated staff members of UNDP were no exception in being affected by the tragic disaster. Japan decided to extend assistance to Haiti, including emergency grant aid, emergency relief goods and dispatch of an emergency survey team. Japan has already dispatched Japan Disaster Relief Team (Medical Team) to Haiti and they started providing medical treatment to those who are suffering from the earthquake as of today. In addition, an advanced team of the Self Defense Force is now on the ground and conducting a survey to explore the possibility of dispatching a SDF medical unit. Japan and its people extend their deepest condolences to all those suffering from this catastrophe and sincerely hope for Haiti’s early recovery.
My delegation has heard with great interest the statement of Administrator Helen Clark. We highly appreciate her views on where we stand today, ten years since we entered the new millennium and five years to the MDGs target year of 2015, as well as her vision on addressing the global challenges we face. Japan commends her leadership and tireless effort in managing UNDP to serve effectively the growing demands of this ever complex world. Allow me to share Japan’s main focus as well as its expectations in working with this important organization.
Achievement of the MDGs will certainly be at the center of interest for the international community this year, particularly in view of the High-level Plenary Meeting in September. The global economic recession, as well as the multiple crisis we have been facing in recent years, have made the task of meeting the MDGs by 2015 even more challenging. We have high expectations for UNDP to play a major role in coordinating global efforts and supporting countries to develop capacity to address local needs and challenges. The Japanese government requests Administrator Helen Clark, not only as the Administrator of UNDP, but as the Chair of UN Development Group and the manager of the Resident Coordinator system to demonstrate her leadership in mobilizing the UN Development system to create renewed global momentum toward 2015.
Climate change remains one of the highest priorities for the entire world for 2010. Japan has always considered this issue in conjunction with the development agenda and as a serious threat to human security. Japan-UNDP Joint Framework, established with the funding of USD 92 million from Japan, is being implemented steadily to support integrated and comprehensive approaches to climate change adaptation in Africa. During COP 15 in Copenhagen last month, the Government of Japan announced the “Hatoyama Initiative” to scale up its support for developing countries in the field of climate change. We expect UNDP to continue as the Administrator explained in details in her speech playing an important role in connecting climate change to development, to help developing countries take measures for mitigation and adaptation to the negative impacts.
Third area that I would like to touch upon is the UNDP’s role in crisis prevention and recovery, in particular in the post-conflict peacebuilding. Japan has partnered with UNDP for many years in this field. The Japanese government will submit to the ordinary session of the Diet which started yesterday, the supplementary budget proposal containing its assistance through UNDP to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Ethiopia which totals more than USD 250 million. Subjected to the final approval by the Diet, the amount is expected to be disbursed to UNDP by March.
In the contexts of achieving the MDGs, climate change and peacebuilding as well, Africa is no doubt one of the most vulnerable regions. Japan has worked in tandem with UNDP as co-organizers of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to prepare for TICAD IV held in Yokohama in May 2008 and looks forward to working even more closely to follow up on its outcome.
The last area of UNDP’s programmatic activities I would like to mention is South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation. As I stated on the occasion of United Nation’s High Level Conference on South-South Cooperation in Nairobi last month, which adopted the Nairobi Declaration, Japan has been and will continue to be the leading practitioner of triangular cooperation. UNDP’s report entitled “Enhancing South-South and Triangular Cooperation”, launched at the conference was a product of joint exercise between Japan and UNDP which gave a first insight look to the impact of South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation.
Now I would like to touch upon some of the managerial issues. My delegation appreciates the tremendous work dedicated to drawing up the biennial support budget 2010-2011 presented to this meeting. It recognizes also the effort made by UNDP to cut down on expenses and posts and directing the new organizational investments to the strategic areas. Taking into account such efforts, the Government of Japan supports this BSB proposal. We would also like to give full support to the security measures reflected in the 2010-2011 biennium. The security of UN staff is critical and a major concern for us as well. We expect UNDP to continue to consider taking appropriate measures in securing its staff safety. My delegation welcomes the progress seen in the area of accountability and transparency, in particular with regard to auditing and evaluation. We would like to encourage the Administrator and her staff to continue to work with the member states in a transparent manner in tackling the forthcoming task of IPSAS implementation and introduction of the integrated budget. My delegation supports the new initiative taken by the Administrator to improve the existing working methods within the organization. We hope that it will be more efficient, speedy, flexible and accountable to cope with the wide breadth of needs that UNDP is expected to meet.
Last but not least, I would like to share with this Board some of the highlights of the visit of the Administrator to Japan in November last year. In her meetings with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and with other ministers, both sides confirmed a strong convergence of priorities between UNDP and my government including reconstruction of Afghanistan, climate change, the MDGs and Africa. The Administrator also successfully advocated for the importance of Japan’s strategic partnership with UN organizations.
On this occasion, Administrator Helen Clark signed with Madam Sadako Ogata, President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a Memorandum of Understanding to further strengthen the collaboration. In the past, the two agencies have conducted, for example, joint studies on common approaches to capacity development. Under the new framework, cooperation at the field level as well is being envisaged.
In conclusion, Japan makes it clear to continue to work with UNDP for the betterment of the world.
Thank you for your attention.