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Statement by H.E. Motohide Yoshikawa
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of Japan to the U.N.
Agenda Item 7: General Debate of the Economic and Social Council
June 25, 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The U.N. humanitarian community faces grave challenges. The crisis in and around Syria continues with no political solution in sight. We have two other Level 3 crises, namely in South Sudan and the Central African Republic. The total amount of humanitarian appeals is now more than 16 billion USD –higher than ever.
Contributions for these appeals are, however, mainly concentrated from a few donor countries. For example in 2013, ten donors including Japan financed more than 75 percent of all humanitarian funding.
Financial capabilities of those donors are outstretched. We need to reform how the international community implements humanitarian assistance. We must gather our best practices and lessons learned.
Against this backdrop, Japan fully supports the Secretary-General’s initiative to hold a first-ever World Humanitarian Summit. Japan also greatly appreciates the contents of the SG’s report on strengthening the coordination of the United Nations’ humanitarian assistance. The four themes of the World Humanitarian Summit were addressed in the report, namely “Humanitarian Effectiveness”, “Reducing Vulnerability and Managing Risk”, “Transformation through Innovation”, and “Serving the Needs of People in Conflict”.
Japan will co-host, with Indonesia, the North and Southeast Asian Regional Consultation, in Tokyo from July 23 to 24. East Asia is the most natural disaster prone region in the world. Therefore I am quite certain that this coming Regional Consultation will make a substantial contribution to the Summit. I am also very grateful to Under Secretary-General Valerie Amos for her participation. We look forward to fruitful discussions at the Regional Consultation.
Japan’s contribution to the Summit is not limited to the Regional Consultation. We will strongly promote and take part in the substantial discussion on the four themes of the World Humanitarian Summit, giving light to the gender perspective as a cross-cutting issue.
As part of our efforts, my Mission is hosting, together with OCHA, a film screening event this evening at 7:30pm in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium. This event features a documentary titled, “Disaster Big Data: Saving Lives Through Information”, produced by NHK, Japan Broadcasting Corporation. It was made in cooperation with various private data companies including Google Japan, Twitter Japan and the Honda Corporation.
This film shows people’s movements right after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, by utilizing and analyzing the vast amount of data that exist on the internet, in GPS systems and from cell phone locations. These so-called “Big Data” demonstrate the various opportunities new technologies could offer for better humanitarian assistance. I hope many, or I should say, all of you will join us.
In concluding my statement, I sincerely commend the work of humanitarian organizations in helping realize more effective assistance methods, as well as the tireless efforts of aid workers on the ground, despite the world’s numerous humanitarian crises.