Statement by H. E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
Ambassador, Permanent MIssion of Japan to the United Nations
At the Meeting of the Security Council on Haiti
On 20 March 2013
I would like to express my appreciation to you for chairing this debate. Let me also thank Mr. Mariano Fernández, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for MINUSTAH, for his significant contribution to the mission. I also would like to thank Mr. Nigel Fisher for taking on the important responsibility for MINUSTAH. I would also like to 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 8 March. As the report mentions, Haiti continues to face many challenges. Haiti still needs to improve its basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity and provision of potable water as well as social services including access to education and medicine. High levels of unemployment and crime also persist. The establishment of temporary electoral council is also needed to carry out the next election in a peaceful and democratic manner. Many challenges remain for Haiti for its recovery, reconstruction and development. On top of that, Hurricane Sandy hit the nation in late October. The international community responded promptly and Japan provided an emergency grant of 1.2 million U.S. dollars. But more support is still needed.
The international community, however, also acknowledges and welcomes the progress that has been made in the recovery process in Haiti. Since the earthquake in 2010, more than ten million cubic meters of debris have been removed and the number of IDPs has been reduced by more than 75 percent. Now that three years have passed since the deadly earthquake, the necessity and significance of the Mission remains high but the needs of the Haitian people have shifted. Haiti has made remarkable progress since Japan pledged 100 million U.S. dollars towards emergency relief and reconstruction in 2010. Japan has actually already disbursed an amount exceeding this original pledge.
In recognition of this shift on the ground, Japan decided in July 2012 that it would wind down operations of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force’s engineering unit in Haiti, and the unit withdrew from Haiti by the end of December 2012. The number of personnel who have served in the Japanese contingent since its beginning totals approximately 2,200. The contingent has made contributions to the recovery of Haiti through various efforts, such as removal of rubble, dismantling of damaged buildings, repair of facilities in IDP camps, repair of roads, construction of orphanage facilities and distribution of water in response to the outbreak of cholera. The contingent also contributed to human resources development in Haiti through sharing of expertise on civil engineering equipments. Those equipments also were finally donated to the Haitian government.
The Japan Ground Self Defense Force’s engineering unit was able to gain much experience in MINUSTAH. In this context, we would like to share that experience here in New York at a seminar today. From 2:30 pm, the Permanent Mission of Japan, together with the Permanent Mission of Brazil, will host a seminar at the Japan Society, focusing on the evolving roles of military engineering units in peacekeeping missions. Engineering units can play a critical, enabling role in multidimensional missions as early peacebuilders. Our seminar will aim at illuminating and gaining an in-depth picture of the evolving roles of engineering units as well as identifying future opportunities and challenges.
Even after the withdrawal of its engineering unit, Japan intends to continue to support Haiti. 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. Japan recently decided to provide 5.7 million US dollars in food aid and 1.6 million US dollars in capacity-building assistance for the Haitian government.
As you are aware Mr. President, two years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck Japan in March 2011. We are most grateful that the people of Haiti expressed their sense of solidarity with the people of Japan. I am confident that both Haiti and Japan, in close collaboration with the international community, will be able to overcome difficulties as we work towards a brighter future.
I thank you.