Statement by H.E. Ambassador Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
to the United Nations
At the Thematic Debate of the General Assembly
On the Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Africa
26 April 2013
I am delighted to make a statement on behalf of my Government at this important thematic debate on the Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Africa. Allow me to express my gratitude to the President of the General Assembly for his initiative in organizing today’s event as well as the African Union Commission for its support.
Africa has come a long way. Just last week, the Security Council, under the Rwandan Presidency, held a briefing on “Conflict prevention in Africa: addressing the root causes.” This briefing not only showed the intricate and deep-rooted structural challenges faced by African nations, but also underscored how far Africa has come, such as its readiness to take a lead in prevention and resolution of conflicts in the region, as well as its determination to institutionally react better, namely through the African Peace and Security Architecture. The African Union (AU) today is not the same as its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The AU, with greater unity and determination, is becoming an organ which embodies our shared belief – that regional ownership should be at the center of conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa.
The relationship between the U.N. and the AU has evolved most notably in the field of peace operations. From the U.N. taking over regional peace operations in countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Burundi, to the dispatching of joint-missions in Darfur and the U.N. logistical support provided to AMISOM in Somalia, new forms of cooperation have risen over the last decades. Japan welcomes such enhanced cooperation. While new crises unfold in places such as Mali, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the need for the U.N. to forge stronger cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations is greater than ever. In this sense, the current close collaboration between the U.N. Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council should be further strengthened.
Japan, for its part, has long been committed to strengthening the capacities of the AU and other sub-regional organizations through contributions to the AU Peace Fund and sub-regional ones. Moreover, we have also been actively supporting 10 regional peacekeeping training centers, in countries like Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda, and South Africa.
Although peace operations attract more attention in discussions of the U.N.-AU partnership, today’s debate also provides us with a valuable opportunity to reaffirm the vital link between “peace and security” and “development.” Needless to say, there is no sustainable peace without state capacity to ensure security, justice, and educational and economic opportunities for the youth. It is out of this belief that Japan has been very actively engaged in the field of peacebuilding, both bilaterally and through the U.N. peacebuilding architecture. In addition, our engineering unit to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), is not only contributing to stability but also to laying a foundation for long-lasting development in the country.
Furthermore, from our conviction that there is a vital linkage between “peace and security” and “development”, Japan will co-organize the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in Yokohama in early June, together with the AU Commission, the U.N. Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (UNOSAA), the UNDP, and the World Bank. Since its first conference in 1993, TICAD has evolved into an open, multilateral policy forum where discussions are made not only on economic, but also on social and institutional development, as well as peace and stability of the African continent. This underscores Japan’s conviction that the peace and stability are the basis for the development. In this context, Japan has just announced a contribution of approximately US$550 million for peace and stability in Africa at the TICAD V Ministerial Preparatory Meeting, which took place on March 16 and 17 in Addis Ababa. We look forward to the discussion in June and hope that this will mark another important threshold in our long lasting partnership with “a more dynamic Africa.”
In conclusion, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the OAU, which also coincides with the 20th anniversary of TICAD, I would like to reiterate Japan’s strong commitment to the enhanced partnership between the U.N. and the AU. We expect that this effective and dynamic partnership will allow the international community as a whole to be engaged in delivering peace dividends to the people of Africa.
I thank you, Mr. President.