Statement by Ambassador Shigeki SUMI,
Permanent Mission of Japan to United Nations
the Second Regular Session of the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board
23 August 2010
At the outset, I would like to convey the heartfelt sympathy of the people of Japan for those in Pakistan who are suffering dearly from the severe flooding. The Government of Japan has, up to now, allocated 14.4 million US Dollars in emergency assistance to Pakistan. Japan also welcomes the current work by UNFPA to improve health, particularly maternal and child health in the devastated regions of Pakistan. With the help of the international community, Japan looks forward to a robust recovery of the flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan.
My Government would like to express its appreciation to Dr. Obaid for her leadership during her 10 years of service as Executive Director of UNFPA for the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals and for improving reproductive health and protecting rights of women. Dr. Obaid has been a strong partner of Japan in our efforts at Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD IV) and at the G8 Hokkaido-Toyoko Summit in 2008 to improve reproductive health and women’s rights within the field of African development and international cooperation on global health based upon the human security concept. Through close cooperation between my Government, the UNFPA and Executive-Director Dr Obaid we have witnessed substantial progress in numerous fields.
Dr. Obaid, through her interactions with Japan’s Parliamentarians League on Population and Development, advanced the discussions on population and development issues with many political leaders across the globe. She has maintained close cooperation with political leaders in Japan on numerous occasions including at the two events here in New York which saw the participation of former Prime Minister Fukuda organized by UNFPA during the last two years. Dr. Obaid has been contributing to Parliamentarians’ understanding of the importance of population issues on a global scale. It is our hope that we can maintain and improve upon the same close relationship with your successor.
The Government of Japan sees a direct correlation between maternal and child health and human security and thus places the issue at the heart of its foreign policy. At the recent G8 Summit in Muskoka, Canada my Government announced an additional pledge of up to JPY 50 billion over a 5-year period under the Muskoka Initiative to improve maternal and child health which, as you are all aware, is the MDG which has seen the least progress.
The largest detrimental factor in maternal and child health is deaths caused by delays in pregnant women seeking treatment. As such, Japan intends to focus its assistance on services which provide seamless treatment for mothers from anti-natal to post-natal care.
Japan wishes to play a vital role by strengthening its cooperation with UNFPA, international organizations and NGOS in order to maintain the momentum of the discussions on maternal and child health issues leading up to the MDG High-Level Summit next month.
I thank you for your attention.