2011 Statement

Statement by H.E. Mr. Shigeki Sumi
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
First Regular Session of the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS

UNFPA Segment
1 February 2011

Madam President,


At the outset, let me extend my heartfelt welcome and congratulations to Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin upon his appointment as the new Executive Director of UNFPA. The Government of Japan looks forward to working closely with UNFPA under his leadership.


Madam President,


I wish to take this opportunity given to the Members of this Executive Board to interact formally and directly with the new Executive Director to explain three points my Government deems important for UNFPA and for Japan’s relationship with UNFPA.


First, I would like to emphasize the importance of efficient and effective delivery of UNFPA’s assistance on the ground. Under the difficult economic and fiscal situation the traditional donor countries including Japan are currently placed, we are in search of partnerships with international organizations that are capable of realizing the results in the most efficient manner.


In this respect, the creation of UN Women should be taken seriously by all UN agencies working in the field of gender. In the near future, as UN Women builds up the capacity to implement more activities at the country level, others, including UNFPA are expected to establish a complementary relationship with UN Women and not to compete with and duplicate one another.


In this process, UNFPA might consider shedding more light on its “population and development” pillar, which shows significant evolution from the traditional agenda to new ones, such as aging, calling for new types of international cooperation. My delegation hopes that UNFPA, under its new leader, will give serious consideration to its future direction through the process of the midterm review of its Strategic Plan through this year.

Madam President,


Secondly, I would like to touch upon the concept of human security that Japan has been actively promoting. My Government promotes the global health agenda in its foreign policy because we believe it is a global issue directly linked to human security. My delegation highly appreciates UNFPA for having attached importance to this concept in implementing its core mandate.


Indeed, the human security approach proposes people-centered, bottom-up, context-specific and comprehensive measures to protect and empower individuals. It also encourages multi-stakeholder engagement at the country and community levels, in particular the participation of the civil society. We are deeply convinced that such approach is relevant to the pursuit of UNFPA’s mandate.


The ICPD Programme of Action makes clear that in order to address population issues, countries should adopt reproductive health policies based on the viewpoint of individuals. Today, universal access to health care has become one of the most important challenges in achieving MDGs and implementing the ICPD Programme of Action. Against this backdrop also, I would like to encourage the new Executive Director to continue to adopt the human security approach in the agency’s activities.


Madam President,


Thirdly, as I stated earlier, my Government attaches great importance to global health. At the High-level Plenary on MDGs last September, the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Naoto Kan announced a new initiative on global health focusing on maternal and child health and major infectious diseases with a commitment to allocate a total of USD 5 billion from this year to 2015.


My Government expects UNFPA, in collaboration with other international organization and NGO’s, to support this initiative and assist us in building partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, both internationally and at the country level.


Last but not least, the Government of Japan welcomes the Executive Director to visit Japan at his earliest convenience in order to further build upon the traditional relationship my country has maintained with UNFPA.


Thank you very much.