2011 Statement

Statement by H.E. Mr. Shigeki Sumi
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

UNICEF Executive Board, First regular session 2011
Item 3: Annual report to the Economic and Social Council
8 February 2011


Madam President,


At the outset, I would like to thank Ambassador Abdul Momen for his excellent work as the President for the past year and extend my warmest congratulations to you, Ambassador Stiglic, on your election as the President for 2011. Let me also congratulate the newly elected Vice-Presidents. My delegation is fully committed to work constructively through the new Bureau to serve the best interests of this important Board.


I would like to make some comments on the annual report to the ECOSOC as well as on some of the important themes mentioned by the Executive Director, Mr. Tony Lake, in his thought-provoking statement at the opening session.


First, let me touch upon the issue of funding. The funding trend in 2009 as described in the report to ECOSOC is quite worrisome. According to the report, UNICEF recorded a drop of 4 per cent in its annual income in 2009. Income from both public and private sector donors dropped and funding for both core and non-core resource fell.


While we wait for the latest data for 2010 and hope for the positive effects of the world-wide advocacy made towards and during the MDGs Summit in September last year, my Government expects UNICEF to make additional efforts this year for fundraising from Governments and the private sector, including by further encouraging newly emerging donors for further support.


Two weeks ago, the Government of Japan submitted to the Diet the proposal of the regular budget for FY2011. For UNICEF, my Government requested an overall increase of more than 55%, including over 20% increase for regular resources, compared to FY2010. This reflects my Government’s trust in UNICEF as being an effective organization to deliver for children in need. At the same time, it will entail our growing expectation to UNICEF to be even more efficient and accountable in its work.


Madam President,


Secondly, I would like to briefly comment on UNICEF’s programmatic work explained in the report to ECOSOC and in the Executive Director’s statement.


My delegation appreciates the emphasis made on participatory approaches for capacity development, in partnership with not only national Governments but also local stakeholders. We also evaluate positively UNICEF’s contribution to the transition from relief to development, building on its capacity to operate under both humanitarian and development phases and to address directly the needs at the community level. Furthermore, my delegation welcomes the Executive Director’s emphasis on promoting integrated interventions to achieve the MDGs.


All these elements are in line with the human security approach to development, which proposes people-centred, bottom-up and comprehensive measures in order to protect and empower individuals. It also encourages multi-stakeholder engagement at the country and community levels. I hope the relevance of the human security approach will be demonstrated through UNICEF’s operations.


Madam President,


Third and lastly, I would like to touch upon UNICEF’s strategic partnerships with other multilateral stakeholders.


My delegation welcomes the firm commitment of the Executive Director to the UN system-wide coherence. This agenda does not limit itself to “delivering as one” at the country level and the harmonization of business processes, but extends to substantive programmatic policies. In this respect, my delegation was deeply impressed by the fruitful discussion we had with the heads of agencies at the Joint Meeting of the Boards during the last two working days.


Japan welcomes also UNICEF’s collaboration with the World Bank at the country level as explained in the report to ECOSOC. My delegation believes that a clear complementary relationship exists between UNICEF and the multilateral development banks and it merits being further explored.


In this regard, my Government plans to co-organize with UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank a ministerial level follow-up meeting on the MDGs in early June in Tokyo. It will focus on the most vulnerable people and the ways to fill the gaps from the viewpoint of human security and equity. I expect the conference will offer a good occasion to promote the “equity approach” launched at the MDGs Summit.


I thank you.