Statement by Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa,
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
On the occasion of the GA Thematic Debate:
“Responding to the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century: Human security and the Post-2015 Development Agenda”
President of the General Assembly,
Deputy Secretary-General Mr. Eliasson,
Under Secretary-General Mr. Takasu,
Ms. Sonia Picado,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to the President of the General Assembly for convening high-level events on various themes in order to gather inputs for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Today’s event is particularly gratifying for Japan, as we have been one of the pioneers in the promotion of human security.
I would also like to express my particular appreciation to Deputy Secretary-General Mr. Eliasson for his comprehensive briefing today and for his efforts over many years to promote human security. It was at the World Summit 2005, when Mr. Eliasson was the President of the General Assembly, that ‘human security’ was included in a General Assembly resolution for the first time.
I would like to express my appreciation to our moderator, Under Secretary-General Mr. Takasu, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Human Security, for his work in promoting the concept of human security.
And finally, I would like to thank the distinguished panelists for their informative presentations.
The report of the Secretary-General before us today, entitled “Follow-up to General Assembly resolution 66/290 on human security” (A/68/685), is an excellent document. The report outlines the added value of human security by providing an overview of experiences and lessons learned in the application of human security.
Paragraph 67 of the document suggests several points to be discussed in the General Assembly. In this connection, I wish to address the following four issues: namely, 1) the mainstreaming of human security within the United Nation System; 2) the relationship between human security and the post-2015 development agenda; 3) the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security; and 4) the future report of the Secretary-General on human security.
On the first point, the Secretary-General requested the General Assembly “to request the Secretary-General to promote the mainstreaming of human security into the activities of the United Nations”.
It is true that some UN Funds and Programs, such as UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF, have included the term “human security” in their strategic documents; on the other hand, even in these organizations human security is still not recognized as a guiding principle for their work. Therefore more efforts are required to mainstream human security, and I would like to request that the Secretary-General take concrete steps to mainstream human security into the activities of the United Nations.
My second point is on the relationship between human security and the post-2015 development agenda, which is the main topic of today’s event.
The Secretary-General, in his report, requested the General Assembly “to consider human security as an overarching framework in the post-2015 agenda”.
I recognize that there are still some concerns or reservations regarding the concept of human security with regards to post-2015 development agenda. One concern is that the definition of human security is not clear enough. Another is that human security is not measurable.
On the definition of human security, I would like to point out that the General Assembly resolution on human security (A/RES/66/290) adopted by consensus in September 2012 successfully defined a common understanding of the notion of human security and provides us a basis to move forward.
As to the issue of measurability, it is not our intent that human security be one of the goals of the post-2015 development agenda, rather we feel that human security ought to be an overarching framework that guides our effort to define and reach more specific and concrete goals. The United Nations is the sole organization where development, human rights and international peace and security can be integrated together.
I believe that a people-centered, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented approach based on the concept of human security can be included in the narrative of the post-2015 agenda. In this context, the Zero Draft, dated 2 June, prepared by the Co-Chairs of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals captures our thinking. The draft says “we recognize that people are at the center of sustainable development”. This is a good basis for our further discussion.
The third point is on the United Nation Trust Fund for Human Security. In this regard, the Secretary General, in his report, requests the General Assembly “to urge Member states to give financial support to the valuable work of the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security”.
Ms. Sonia Picado, the Chair of the Advisory Board on Human Security, has already made a presentation on the Trust Fund. I wish to thank her for her presentation as well as her dedication to the work of the Advisory Board. The United Nation Trust Fund for Human Security was established in 1999. The Fund has so far provided about 422 million US dollars in funding for 216 projects in 88 countries on every continent of the world. The positive effects of the fund were described in the presentations of the panelists.
Since January 2013, the Fund has launched new projects in 15 countries, Chad, Pakistan, Peru, Egypt, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tajikistan, Ecuador, and the DRC. These projects are implemented to address many very difficult situations such as post-conflict reconstruction, violence, human trafficking, extreme poverty, natural disasters, immigration, and food insecurity. They all take context-specific approach, seeking the root causes of problems.
These projects of the Trust Fund seek multi-dimensional resolutions which cover a wide range of thematic areas; including enhancement of economic activities, health, education, and primary infrastructure, and these are carried out by multiple agencies working together. And the core of the Trust Funds activities are protecting and empowering communities and individuals.
Japan has been the major contributor to the fund since its foundation. Greece, Mexico, Slovenia and Thailand have also contributed to the fund. I would like to see -as the Secretary General requests- other Member States also consider contributing to this fund.
A final point I would like to raise is that in his report the Secretary-General requests the General Assembly “to invite the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly every two years on the progress made towards the mainstreaming of human security in the activities of the United Nations and the lessons learned”. In this regard, I would like to invite the Secretary-General to continue to report to the General Assembly on this matter.
Finally, regarding the Secretary-General’s report, I have a question for Under-Secretary-General Mr. Takasu. I think that the methodology of asking Member States, UN agencies and relevant stakeholders to submit their responses to a questionnaire provided a concrete foundation to the report.
The Annex of the report states that the secretariat received 146 questionnaire responses. However, only 24 Member States and Observerssubmitted responses, and by far the majority of the responses were submitted by the United Nations agencies and other international organizations. Given that as many as 88 countries so far have been beneficiaries of the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, I feel that the number of Member States which actually submitted responses to the questionnaire was very small. I would like to hear your view on this matter.
I thank you.