Statement by H.E. Ambassador Shigeki Sumi
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the General Debate of the Second Committee
(New York, 6 October 2010)
Let me begin my remarks by congratulating you, Ambassador Ochir, on assuming the chairmanship of the Second Committee. Our congratulations also go to other bureau members on their election. My delegation will spare no effort in supporting you to discharge your important responsibilities in this committee.
The High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals in September marked a significant success. The world leaders not only renewed their political commitment to achieving the MDGs by 2015, but also presented new concrete pledges and approaches for arriving at that goal.
But we must not let ourselves be complacent. We have no time to lose in following through on our commitments and promises. We all must work together more closely and effectively to deliver results, and the United Nations should certainly play a critical role in this endeavor.
For Japan’s part, at the High-level Plenary Meeting, Prime Minister Naoto Kan made clear his political belief that the role of political leaders is to reduce human suffering in the society to a minimum. It is with this firm belief that Prime Minister Kan reiterated Japan’s unshaken commitment to the MDGs, and announced new concrete promises for their achievement by 2015.
Japan’s new promises give special focus on health and education, where progress is particularly slow. Also, in the light of the concept of human security to which Japan attaches great importance, it is of utmost significance that all infant lives be saved and every child be able to develop their rich potential.
On health, Japan’s concrete measures include provision of 5 billion US dollars in assistance over five years beginning in 2011, to contribute to the achievement of the health-related MDGs. Japan’s assistance will be centering on three key areas: maternal and child health, the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria and measures to address global threats such as new influenza viruses. We will make this contribution to save the lives of 680 thousand mothers and 11.3 million children in cooperation with other partners.
As an enhanced approach to maternal and child health, Japan proposes a model we call “EMBRACE” – which stands for “Ensure Mothers and Babies Regular Access to Care – to ensure a continuum of care from pregnancy to after childbirth. We call upon developing countries to refer to this model which aims to deliver a sequence of health services, including antenatal care with routine examinations and neonatal care at facilities with quality equipment and human resources, improvement in access to hospitals and immunization.
Our commitment in the area of health includes a contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria amounting to 8 hundred million US dollars in the coming years, which was announced at the Third Replenishment Conference yesterday. As one of the founder of the Funds, Japan is very proud that the Fund has been showing an outstanding track-record in its missions.
Additionally, I would like to emphasize the importance of ensuring adequate sanitation for the poor in achieving the health-related MDGs. It is necessary for us to redouble efforts to close the sanitation gap, and in this regard Japan calls for global support to realize “Sustainable Sanitation – the 5 Year Drive to 2015”.
Regarding education, Japan will provide assistance of 3.5 billion US dollars over five years beginning in 2011, so as to contribute to the achievement of the education-related MDGs. We will provide a quality educational environment for at least 7 million children. We will also pay careful attention to post-primary education, namely, secondary education, technical and vocational training and higher education. Furthermore, based on the concept of human security, we support education in conflict and disaster affected countries.
To enhance the quality and sustainability of basic education, Japan puts forward a model called “School for All”. This model aims to improve the learning environment comprehensively, working together with schools, communities and educational administration, in such areas as quality of teachers, school management, treatment of girls and disabled students, nutrition, sanitation and child physical fitness.
At this point, I would like to recall that the outcome document of the High-level Plenary Meeting makes reference to the ongoing efforts to define the notion of human security. My delegation would like to stress that the concept of human security, which proposes comprehensive, people-centred, bottom-up and multi-stakeholder approaches to address the needs of the most vulnerable people and communities through their protection and empowerment, is truly relevant and instrumental in our endeavor to attain the MDGs.
(Agriculture development and food security)
The number of undernourished people in the world reached the critical number of one billion, although it is estimated to have declined to 925 million in 2010. This is a serious global food security concern, and we should look after this situation with a medium to long term perspective. From this perspective, it is essential to promote responsible agricultural investment (RAI) in developing countries, increase agricultural production and productivity, considering diverse conditions in each country, and eventually enable the poor to earn income. Japan is working on providing a wide range of support throughout the value-chain from primary production to distribution.
While stepping up our efforts specifically focused on the poor and the vulnerable, we must also tackle the challenges of the global sustainability, which affect all of us, but hit the poor and the vulnerable most severely.
At the UN Summit on Climate Change last year, Japan announced the target of reducing its emissions by 25 percent by 2020 if compared to the 1990 level, premised on the establishment of a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate as well as their agreement on ambitious targets.
Aiming at adopting a new and comprehensive legally binding document ultimately, Japan will continue to coordinate with other States and the United Nations to lead international negotiations for the success of COP 16 at the end of this year. Next month, Japan will host the Ministerial Meeting on REDD+ Partnership in Nagoya to promote reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. This meeting is expected to provide strong political momentum for COP16 by showing constructive and concrete action-oriented process of Partnership implementation. We will also steadily support these developing countries which are making efforts for reducing emissions and are vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, especially small island developing States and countries in Africa, through various channels, including partnership between the public and private sectors.
One consequence of climate change is that natural disasters, such as cyclones and floods, are becoming more and more severe, causing serious damage to human life and property, especially in most vulnerable countries. It is especially important that we take action to increase the resilience at the level of communities and the Hyogo Framework for Action provides us with useful guidance in this respect.
The loss of biodiversity is another global environment challenges that require immediate action. As this year marks the International Year of Biodiversity, we should be aware that if the destruction of the ecosystem continues at this pace, mankind could eternally lose most of nature's bounty in the near future.
Japan will host COP10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya later this month under the theme “Living in Harmony with Nature”. We welcome the participation of H.E. Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, in the opening session of the High-Level Segment of the conference. The conference will aim to set global targets up to 2020 and 2050 as common guidelines for formulating national strategies. The conference will also discuss a new international regime in the area of access and benefit-sharing as related to genetic resources (ABS). If the parties can agree upon a new regime, this could be an epoch-making agreement to facilitate the flow of funds for habitat conservation and thus contribute to the benefit of the entire Earth. Japan will do its utmost as the Chair to ensure that agreements are reached on these issues, and we request the support of all the parties concerned.
Japan is convinced that the issues of biodiversity merit greater attention and effort of the international community. That is why we will propose adopting a resolution on the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity at this General Assembly session. We also call for the adoption of a resolution on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) at this session of the Second Committee. Once established, the platform is expected to provide a scientific basis for the policies for biodiversity conservation and to lead to a broad understanding of the importance of such policies.
(Groups of countries in special situations)
As Japan's Prime Minister Kan addressed the High-level Review meeting on the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in September, Japan attaches importance to engaging in dialogue with SIDS in the spirit of partnership so that the assistance it provides will accord with their individual needs and priorities. Thus it has been extending assistance for the self-help efforts of Pacific island countries, and Japan hosted the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting five times since 1997. This month in Tokyo, Japan will host a Ministerial Interim Meeting in preparation for the sixth Leaders Meeting in 2012. Also in Tokyo, on the 2nd of September, Japan and CARICOM member States held the second Japan-CARICOM Ministerial-Level Conference and agreed to further enhance our partnership. Moreover, Japan has been providing assistance for SIDS in Africa, taking care that their specific needs are reflected in the measures implemented as part of the TICAD process.
2011 will be a special year for the least developed countries (LDCs) and their development partners. Japan welcomes the holding of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDCs (LDC IV) in Turkey next year. Japan has been providing active support for LDCs through ODA, trade-related technical assistance, the special measures of granting duty-free and quota-free market access to LDCs. Japan will continue its assistance to LDCs and intends to contribute positively to the LDC IV next year.
(Operational activities for development)
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate Japan’s support for the gender mainstreaming in every phase of UN activities in the areas of development and humanitarian assistance. We welcome the establishment of the UN Women and the appointment of Ms. Michelle Bachelet as its head.
My delegation is strongly convinced that the UN system should tighten the linkage between its normative and policy-making functions and its operational activities. The system should make the bottom-up and the top-down processes echo with one another and mutually reinforcing to improve the coherence and the effectiveness of its work, including in the field of gender equality and the empowerment of women as well as women and peace and security.
(Working method of the Second Committee)
Last but not the least, we welcome your initiative to streamline the working method of the Second Committee. We fully support your work on this important issue to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the Committee.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my delegation’s determination to work closely with you and all other delegations to find effective solutions to crucial development challenges that this committee will be addressing.