Statement by H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki,
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the General Debate of the Second Committee of the General Assembly
(New York, October 2012)
I would like to begin my statement by congratulating you, Ambassador George Wilfred Talbot, on assuming the chairmanship of this very important Committee. Our congratulations also go to the other bureau members on their election. My delegation will spare no effort in supporting you as you discharge your important responsibilities in this Committee.
(Great East Japan Earthquake and Disaster Reduction)
It has been one and a half years since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck my country in March of last year. The Japanese people have been making efforts to revive their hometowns with an unyielding spirit. Further, it has become our commitment to the souls of the victims to hand down the lessons learned from the disaster to future generations both within and beyond our national borders. With this in mind, Japan aims to host the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015. In this regard, we would very much like to obtain a formal approval on Japan hosting this conference from this Committee this year so that we may proceed with the preparations.
(Human Security and Africa’s Development)
It is noteworthy that a resolution on “human security” was adopted by the General Assembly last month. Human security is an effective approach in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of people, which strengthens capacity building and the empowerment of individuals and communities, especially women and young people. Based on this General Assembly resolution, Japan intends to contribute to further promoting “human security” in every corner of the world in close collaboration with various stakeholders, bearing in mind that the three pillars of the United Nations, namely, peace and security, development and human rights, are interlinked and mutually reinforcing. To this end, the Government of Japan announced a contribution of 10 million US dollar to the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security. Also, on the occasion of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD V, to be held in Japan in June next year, the Government of Japan will aim to discuss the various measures that could be taken and put into action, with a view to realizing human security, by the participating African States and their people and communities.
(The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs))
Our efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are as important as ever. Japan is determined to contribute to accelerating worldwide efforts to achieve the MDGs. At the same time, we are at the point where we should start full-fledged discussions on the global development agenda beyond 2015. In this regard, my delegation welcomes the establishment as well as the recent first meeting of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Our former Prime Minister Naoto Kan is participating in this meeting.
With a view to substantively contributing to the post-2015 discussions, Japan has taken the lead in organizing an informal policy dialogue group called the Post-MDGs Contact Group, since the end of last year. I would like to take this opportunity to share with my fellow colleagues some of the findings that have emerged through the Contact Group meetings so far.
Firstly, the new development agenda framework should be established through an inclusive process anchored on a broad partnership. We need to mobilize the will and power of not only traditional donors and international organizations but also various stakeholders, including emerging countries, local governments, civil society and the private sector.
Secondly, the post-2015 development agenda should build on the strengths of the current MDGs. We should aim at a set of goals, targets and indicators which are simple, clear and easy to understand. They should also be measureable so that we can clearly ascertain the degree of achievement on the ground. The post-2015 development agenda should also continue to focus on poverty reduction as well as social and human development.
Thirdly, the post-2015 development agenda should be able to address emerging and re-emerging challenges, such as growth and employment, equity and equality, disaster reduction, and the environment and sustainability. Let me stress that growth generates wealth which can in turn be used for development that is sustainable. I would also like to stress that disaster reduction is essential in safeguarding the fruits of development efforts.
Fourth, there are some important guiding concepts that should be kept in mind when setting out the post-2015 development agenda. They are human security, equity, sustainability and resilience.
Fifthly and lastly, prioritization is the key. The international community already has a long-list of items it would like to accomplish. We should consider which elements to pick up and how to link them together to put forward a strong and coherent narrative.
Formulating the post-2015 development agenda requires a full-fledged discussion among various stakeholders on how to realize a future we all want. My delegation is committed to actively contributing to such a discussion.
During this challenging time of economic uncertainty, every actor in the world has to recognize its role and responsibility to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth and development. Japan will actively participate in the follow-up processes of Rio+20. One example would be the discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Japan is also committed to pursuing the Green Future Initiative, which Foreign Minister Gemba announced during Rio+20. In this regard, Japan will be holding an international conference on urban planning next year.
In order to address climate change, it is necessary that we keep advancing concrete efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, without waiting for the establishment of the future framework. It is also important that such efforts be made in an effective and efficient way, not only in each country but also through international partnerships. In this regard, my government proposed “Japan’s Vision and Action toward Low-Carbon Growth and a Climate-Resilient World” at COP 17 and has actively advanced both regional and bilateral efforts. Japan’s efforts include the East Asia Low Carbon Growth Partnership, the formulation of a strategy to promote law-carbon growth and climate resilient development under the framework of TICAD and the new flexible market mechanism which it proposed.
Energy is also one of the most important areas in the field of sustainable development and climate change. Japan will mobilize all possible policy resources to demonstrate to the world a model which will underpin a good balance between the shift toward green energy and economic growth. Taking this into account, we will actively contribute to the discussions on the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative.
(Trade and Development)
While the recent financial crisis has increased pressures on governments to impose protectionist measures and has severely affected developing countries, the responsibility and duty of the international community to keep trade and investment flowing, help developing countries integrate themselves into the multilateral trading system, promote economic growth and create and maintain employment are becoming more important than ever. In this context, Japan has steadily implemented its Aid for Trade pledge made in 2009, to provide 12 billion US dollars for trade-related assistance projects. Japan has also been fully involved in reviewing Aid for Trade, so as to share its expertise and the lessons learned in Asia with other regions, particularly Africa.
(Operational Activities of the UN for International Development Cooperation)
Regarding the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), my delegation would like to stress three points among the many important elements. First, my delegation believes that operational activities for development by the UN system should respond to the real needs of the developing countries, should be approached in a flexible manner, and should incorporate the human security perspective. Second, Japan shares the view expressed by the Secretary-General in his report on the QCPR that “the development landscape is changing, and so too should development cooperation.” Third, my delegation believes that discussions concerning core funding and non-core funding should be advanced to a level which reflects the current realities, where there exist diverse funding modalities that cannot be bundled together and labeled “non-core.”
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my delegation’s resolve to work closely with you and all other delegations to find effective solutions to the crucial economic and development challenges that this Committee will be addressing.