Statement by H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
UNICEF Executive Board, First regular session 2012
Item 4: Annual report to the Economic and Social Council
7 February 2012
At the outset, I extend my warmest congratulations to you, Ambassador Ashe, on your election as President of the Board for 2012. We wish you all the success in chairing this body during this year. My congratulations also go to the newly elected Vice-Presidents. I would like to thank Ambassador Sanja Štiglic for her excellent work as President over the past year. I also welcome the newly appointed Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Yoka Brandt.
Japan highly appreciates the leadership demonstrated by Mr. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, in directing UNICEF’s efforts to support the education of children and to protect children’s rights. We also value UNICEF’s efforts to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, including the implementation of “VISION” (UNICEF’s new ERP) and IPSAS compliance. Japan also expects the various innovative approaches referred to in the remarks by Mr. Lake to be useful in overcoming barriers and bottlenecks that restrict the ability to achieve results for children.
I would like to comment on the annual report to the ECOSOC as well as on some of the important themes mentioned in the Executive Director’s thought-provoking statement at the opening session.
First, I would like to touch upon the Strategic Partnerships guided by the mid-term strategic plan (MTSP) and UNICEF’s Strategic framework for Partnerships and Collaborative Relationships. My delegation welcomes UNICEF’s continuous efforts to mobilize an ever wider range of resources from its partners including private entrepreneurs and civil society organizations. We also hope that UNICEF will explore the possibility of making new partnerships with the private sector and emerging economies to broaden its basis for support.
In this regard, Japan appreciates UNICEF’s efforts to increase funding. We had expressed some concern at the 4% drop in funding described in last year’s report to the ECOSOC. However, we are informed that UNICEF recorded a 13 % increase in its annual income in 2010 despite the global financial crisis. This trend in 2010 as described by the Executive Director should be taken note of and we commend the efforts made by UNICEF.
Second, the Government of Japan recently submitted its proposal for the regular budget for FY2012 to the Diet, which is our parliament. As part of this budget, my Government is requesting 23.9 million USD for UNICEF. Even under severe financial circumstances brought on both by the unprecedented Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that struck on 11 March 2011, and by the global financial crisis, we have managed to maintain similar level contributions to UNICEF on USD basis, because UNICEF remains an important partner in delivering support to children in need. I should at the same time point out that such request also entails our growing expectation of UNICEF to be even more efficient and accountable in its work.
We also welcome the efforts on the part of UNICEF to strengthen the relationship between itself and Japan on various fronts. For example, during the Executive Director’s visit to Japan last June, he attended the MDGs Follow-up Meeting as well as visited the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Through these activities, UNICEF reaffirmed its close cooperative relationship with Japan. My country wishes to continue to tackle various global issues in cooperation with UNICEF such as eradicating polio, supporting environmental education for children, reconstructing schools in Afghanistan, and actively contributing to the discussions concerning the post-MDGs.
I wish to conclude my statement by thanking UNICEF for providing prompt and very much needed support to mothers and children in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. This support was provided by the UNICEF national committees of countries from all over the world. As of 23 January 2012, the total support provided amounted to 3.7 billion JPY.
I would also like to inform you, Mr. President, on this occasion that the Japanese National Committee for UNICEF is planning to hold a “Great East Japan Earthquake Photo Exhibition” at the Visitor’s Lobby of the United Nations General Assembly Hall from 5 March 2012 until the end of that month. We hope as many people as possible will have a chance to see this exhibition and understand the enormity of the disaster and feel the resolve of the Japanese people in their efforts to restore the cities and their homes.