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Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Meeting of the Security Council on Haiti
28 August 2013
I would like to express my appreciation to you for chairing this debate. I would also like to congratulate Ms. Sandra Honoré on taking up the post of Special Representative of the Secretary-General for MINUSTAH and I thank her for her comprehensive briefing today as well as her significant contribution to the mission. I also pay tribute to the men and women of MINUSTAH for the commitment and fortitude they have demonstrated under difficult circumstances.
I welcome the Secretary-General’s report on MINUSTAH, issued on 19 August. As the report mentions, Haiti has made progress. The Government of Haiti established a transitional Electoral Council on 19 April and has been advancing President Martelly administration’s “5 E” policy of employment, education, environment, energy and establishment of the Rule of Law. Regarding the recovery process, since the earthquake in 2010, more than ten million cubic meters of debris, which amounts to almost 80 percent of the total debris, has been removed. And the number of IDPs has been reduced by 82 percent, according to the Secretary-General’s Report.
In recognition of this shift on the ground, Japan withdrew its Ground Self-Defense Force’s engineering unit in Haiti last December. The number of personnel who have served in the Japanese contingent since 2010 totals approximately 2,200. And, in this regard, Japan welcomes the MINUSTAH Consolidation Plan showed in the Secretary General’s last report and the fact that the Consolidation Plan has been progressing in cooperation with the Government of Haiti.
Haiti, certainly, continues to face many challenges. As the Secretary-General’s report points out, continued delays in the implementation of long-overdue elections and constrained relations between the executive and legislative branches of the Government risks thwarting progress in the stabilization process. Japan welcomes the fact that Haiti established its transitional electoral council this April but more work will be needed for the Government to carry out its next election in a peaceful and democratic manner.
Basic infrastructure in the country remains fragile. In addition to the earthquake in 2010, Hurricane Sandy last October left significant damages in the country. Although the international community responded right after the hurricane, Haiti still needs to improve its basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity and provisions of potable water, as well as social services including access to education and medicine. High unemployment also remains a big concern.
To respond to these important needs, the Government of Japan has already disbursed more than 150 million U.S. dollars, exceeding 100 million U.S. dollars pledged in the New York Conference in 2010. Even after the withdrawal of its Ground Self-Defense Force’s engineering unit, Japan intends to continue to support and cooperate with Haiti. When the engineering unit left Haiti, Japan donated engineering equipment to the Government of Haiti and contributed to human resources development in Haiti through the sharing of expertise of this equipment, and Japan currently supports to strengthen the capacity of national authorities for debris management and operation of engineering equipment. The Government of Japan will continue to provide support to Haiti for its restoration and establishment of basic social services, mainly in the fields of health, hygiene and education.
As you are aware, Mr. President, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck Japan in March 2011, about a year after the significant earthquake hit Haiti. Japan, as a country where natural disasters occur frequently like Haiti, has the strong intention to continue collaborating with Haiti.