Statement by H.E. Ambassador Jun Yamazaki
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Annual Session of the Executive Board of UNICEF
Item 3: Annual Report of the Executive Director of UNICEF:
Performance and results for 2013, including a report on the implementation
Of the quadrennial comprehensive review
3 June 2014
I would like to thank the Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, for his very comprehensive statement. I would also like to thank Mr. Jeffrey O’Malley for his presentation of the annual report on performance and results for 2013, including a report on the implementation of the quadrennial comprehensive review.
As mentioned earlier, this year we mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Japan ratified this Convention in 1994. It looks forward to actively participating in the High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention to be held this fall.
The MDGs related to the focus areas of the Mid-Term Strategic Plan (MTSP) are all making good progress and Japan has contributed to this progress in cooperation with UNICEF. We would like to continue to contribute to the implementation of the MDGs with UNICEF.
That being said, there are still some goals which have not been achieved and there are also many cases where domestic disparities have increased but are not adequately reflected in the indicators for the MDGs. Responding to the needs and challenges of all people, especially the most vulnerable, continues to be important. We know that UNICEF is taking an approach which focuses on “equity" not only because it is the right thing to do but also because of its efficiency and effectiveness. Japan values highly such an approach.
This approach taken by UNICEF has many things in common with human security, to which my government attaches importance. My delegation expects the UN system organizations, including UNICEF, to continue to implement many projects that will contribute towards achieving human security.
With regard to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Japan would like to deepen the discussions, especially in the fields of education, health and disaster risk reduction (DRR) together with UNICEF.
We recognize that UNICEF regards DRR as one of the three pillars of “building resilience” and that it intends to promote “DRR mainstreaming,” that is, always considering DRR as an inter-sectorial matter across the assistance areas. My delegation also recognizes that UNICEF intends to strengthen its headquarters in order to strengthen its governance function. My government, which places importance on DRR, can support the direction that UNICEF intends to take.
Japan will be hosting the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March next year in Sendai, in the Miyagi Prefecture. We very much would like to make the conference a great success together with the cooperation of all related UN system organizations, which of course includes UNICEF. We look forward to Mr. Lake coming to Sendai once again to attend the Conference.
The Executive Director's recent visits to Japan, one in June of last year and another in February of this year, were certainly both very fruitful for my Government and the people of Japan. We hope that they were also meaningful for Mr. Lake and his organization. We were able to see concrete results, such as our assistance for Africa through the TICAD process and cooperation in the field of DRR, as the outcome of such visits. It is also important that the Japanese people are given a chance to learn and be updated about UNICEF’s activities through visits of the Executive Director.
UNICEF’s core resources decreased in 2013, while being indispensable for it to achieve its mandates. Given that situation, and based on UNICEF's request, the Government of Japan increased its contribution to the core resources by 31% last year. We also have already disbursed this year’s contribution, which is almost the same amount as the previous year.
The Government of Japan, together with our National Committee, has long been one of the top donors to UNICEF. I wish to emphasize that my Government has made these contributions notwithstanding our two difficulties--the severe budgetary situation and the recent depreciation of the Japanese yen against the US dollar. We expect UNICEF to make every effort to continue to implement its activities effectively and efficiently so that the high esteem that UNICEF is held in Japan will be maintained.
My delegation would like to briefly comment on the organizational reform which UNICEF is planning to undertake.
On the proposed establishment of a Deputy Executive Director position for field operations at the level of Assistant Secretary-General, Japan would be able to support this post if it leads to a strengthening of UNICEF's management and does not impact the approved institutional budget. It would be appreciated if the Executive Director or his colleagues could further elaborate on how they intend to strengthen management to achieve programmatic results as well as sound financial management. We would also be interested to know the kind of talent you are seeking for the new Deputy Executive Director.
We also take note of the plan to combine and integrate the Public-Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization Office (PARMO) and the Office of Governance, UN and Multilateral Affairs by the middle of 2015. It is assumed that this integration will enhance UNICEF’s efficiency by allowing it to handle all its revenue streams within a single division. We therefore can support the direction of this plan. Japan further expects that this reform will not only lead to increased efficiency but will also allow for utilization of new synergies in resource mobilization.
I wish to conclude my statement by expressing my Government’s expectation that UNICEF will continue to attach importance to efficient and effective implementation of its activities with an even focused approach, while of course mindful of inclusiveness and equity.
On a personal note, since this will be the last Executive Board meeting that I will be attending, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, for his continued dedication and commitment to UNICEF's very important work as well as its relationship with Japan and its people, and my heartfelt gratitude to the friendship and the cordial relationship extended to myself and to the Permanent Mission of Japan.
Thank you, Mr. President.