(As delivered)Thank you, Excellency,
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the co-organizers, led by Tajikistan, the President of the General Assembly, distinguished delegates and partners for making this event possible. This event today is indeed timely held just before tomorrow’s High-Level Meeting on Climate Protection for All organized by the President of the General Assembly.
Almost 90% of the people affected by global natural disasters are victims of water-related disasters, including floods, landslides, droughts, and tsunamis. Climate change is multiplying and intensifying many of these water-related disasters.
Based on the many disasters it has experienced, Japan has been working to mainstream disaster risk reduction, including against water-related disasters. This includes our efforts to promote the “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction”, the designation of November 5th as “World Tsunami Awareness Day”, and our support for the "UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters" held biennially at UN Headquarters.
On the opposite end of excessive water, we also share serious concern, as speakers before me pointed out, that some 2.1 billion people in the world today still lack access to safe water. This number could well be exacerbated by climate change. Improvement of the water and sanitation environment is essential for healthier life and for achieving Universal Health Coverage, which will be discussed at the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting in September.
This year, we have numerous opportunities to reinforce the relevance of water in the context of climate change. Among those opportunities, I would like to highlight the Fourth UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disaster to be convened on June 24 here at ECOSOC Chamber. The primary objective of the event is to address the overarching issue of water-related extreme incidents as a core aspect of adaptation to Climate Change and as crucial challenges for the achievement of sustainable development. This Special Thematic Session will also serve as a milestone for other major UN conferences, including the Water Conferences in 2021 and 2023. I would like to encourage active participation by Member States and other stakeholders.
Last December under the leadership of Tajikistan, Japan co-sponsored the resolution on the midterm comprehensive review of the Water Action Decade 2018-2028. I look forward to the discussions today, as I trust today’s event will generate concrete actions and facilitate the implementation of the Water Action Decade.
I thank you.