Statement by H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Second Regular Session of the Executive Board of UNICEF
Thematic discussion on the work of UNICEF in humanitarian situations
11 September 2012
First of all, I would like to thank the Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, for providing the opportunity to discuss UNICEF’s humanitarian activities. Japan values the openness with which he has engaged himself in dialogue with Member States, as well as his efforts to promote accountability at UNICEF. I would also like to thank Ms. Yoka Brandt and other members of Executive Director’s team for the presentation. I also thank the speaker from the member EU for her statement that had important messages.
As described in the report, UNICEF is an organization which can respond rapidly in circumstances where humanitarian support is needed. All the Member States recognize that UNICEF has made numerous important contributions to the safety and well-being of women and children under such conditions, especially given that women and children are particularly vulnerable to humanitarian crises.
In the supplementary budget for the fiscal year ending in March 2012 alone, the Government of Japan provided USD 117.3 million worth of humanitarian assistance through UNICEF to such locale as Afghanistan, sub-Sahara Africa, Palestine and Yemen.
My country is very much interested in the “Transformative Agenda” discussed in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and its implementation by UNICEF. With regard to the issue of strengthening coordination among various actors and stakeholders as set out in the “Transformative Agenda”, UNICEF’s role is quite important since it is a lead organization for many clusters in various fields. For effective and efficient implementation of humanitarian assistance, my delegation would like to see UNICEF play an important role, in cooperation with OCHA, in the discussions on the “Transformative Agenda”. We are also of the opinion that it is important for UNICEF to contribute to the strengthening of leadership in the “Transformative Agenda” context. In this regard, my country believes that it would be important for UNICEF to actively present candidates for the position of UN Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC).
In Japan, humanitarian assistance is understood to include not only immediate responses to emergencies but also such areas as disaster prevention, relief and reconstruction. It is considered as part of the effort to realize human security. Transition from an emergency assistance to a more mid- to long- term development assistance requires seamless and smooth transition.
As part of such development assistance, my country committed to contributing USD 5 billion over five years starting from 2011 to address issues of global health, as announced at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly on MDGs in September 2010. We are steadily implementing that commitment. Japan intends to continue to actively contribute to efforts to achieve the MDGs, while continuing to build upon the close relationships we have with relevant organizations including UNICEF.
With regard to the shape of the post-2015 global development agenda, Japan has been actively contributing to the efforts in setting that agenda through such means as holding meetings of the ‘Post-MDGs Contact Group’ since last year. In the recently announced High-level Panel on post-2015 development agenda, Mr. Naoto Kan, Former Prime Minister of Japan, was appointed as one of its members. My country believes that the post-2015 development agenda needs to be formulated in such a way as to effectively utilize the many valuable lessons learned from the process of implementing the current MDGs, as well as to take advantage of opportunities for new kinds of partnership and stakeholder participation that have arisen over the last decade.
We shall be undertaking the quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR) of UN operational activities for development in short time, and on the basis of that result, the next mid-term strategic plan (MTSP) (2014-2017) of UNICEF is to be formulated. In this regard, my delegation hopes that UNICEF, under the leadership of Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, will develop an effective and efficient strategic plan that has focus while putting emphasis on equity.
Finally, I wish to conclude my statement by thanking the participating countries and the international organizations, including UNICEF, for their active contributions to the World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction in Tohoku and the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan, both of which were held in Japan last July. My country hopes to continue to play a leading role in the fields of assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and disaster risk reduction, in cooperation with the related entities including international organizations.
Thank you Mr. President.