Statement by H. E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Joint Debate of the General Assembly
On Agenda Item 123 (a): Strengthening of the United Nations system
2 December 2011
It gives me great pleasure to address the General Assembly today on the report of the Secretary-General on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict, which was issued as a response to the independent review by the Senior Advisory Group under the able leadership of Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno. We welcome the fact that meetings have already taken place among the Chair of the Steering Committee, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Ms. Susana Malcorra, the Civilian Capacity Project Team, and the Member States, following the issuance of the Secretary-General report in late August to exchange views on this important topic.
The report identifies what actions the United Nations should take to improve the quality, speed and effectiveness of civilian support in conflict-affected countries. Japan supports the three axes of the report, namely, (1) underlining ownership and developing greater national capacity in our post-conflict response; (2) improving external partnerships and making the necessary adjustments within the United Nations system to source the civilian capacities required; and (3) exercising the organizational and financial agility necessary to respond nimbly to unpredictable post-conflict situations. In particular, we strongly believe that reform of the security and judicial sectors and strengthening of the rule of law are areas that require addressing at the early stages of post-conflict situations in order to ensure a foundation for smooth reconstruction. In this context, Japan has been working to build the national capacities of affected countries and support and boost their ownership through provision of bilateral Official Development Assistance, assistance to peacekeeping operations training centers and implementation of the program for human resource development for peacebuilding in the Global South.
Now with the Secretary-General report that sets out good ideas on the table, the challenge is to ensure their effective implementation and to generate visible and tangible successes on the ground. In this process, we should give due consideration to better utilization of assets of the Global South and the enhancement of the role of women. Furthermore, we believe that better collaboration with the regional and subregional organizations as well as strengthened cooperation with the Peacebuilding Commission are essential in order to achieve maximum impact on the ground.
Needless to say, agility and transparency are crucial in deploying civilian capacity, and internal reform must be encouraged within the UN to make improvements in these areas. For example, although the idea to develop a “virtual marketplace” of civilian capacity by creating an online platform where needs and capacities can be listed publicly merits consideration, we must be careful to ensure that it does not follow the path of some roster systems, in which the reality has not met initial expectations. Furthermore, in the reform process, promotion of balanced geographic representation reflecting the diversity of the United Nations should be given due consideration. In addition, in our efforts to enhance the agility of the use of financial resources, our initial step should be to assess and fully utilize the potential of the existing budgetary systems. Close collaboration with other reform initiatives such as those pursued by the UN Change Management Team should also be encouraged.
In closing, I wish to reaffirm Japan’s strong and continuing interest in strengthening the international response for civilian support in conflict-affected countries. We promise to remain engaged in the civilian capacity review as well as to continue to support the work of the Secretariat in this regard. We look forward to seeing substantive progress in next year’s report on this very important issue.
Thank you, Mr. President.