Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Pledging Conference of UNRWA

(As delivered)
 
Mr. President,
 
We remain deeply concerned about the situation of Palestinian refugees affected by ongoing circumstances in the region including the heightened tensions in Gaza. Japan places great importance on UNRWA’s activities not only in supporting refugees but also for its contribution to the stabilization of the wider region. 
 
At the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference held in Rome in March, Japan made three commitments: 1) to disburse our regular contribution for Fiscal Year 2018 as quickly as possible, 2) to consider making additional financial contributions, and 3) to assist UNRWA’s effort to expand its donor base.
 
Today, I am pleased to report that Japan has turned these commitments into tangible actions, and is now actively working on further efforts.
 
After having swiftly transferred our regular contribution as promised at the Ministerial Conference in March, we decided to provide 10 million US dollars of additional contribution in April, sharing the same sense of urgency regarding UNRWA’s serious financial gap. This additional contribution was already disbursed earlier this month. On top of that, in May, we also provided over 5 million US dollars of contribution for food assistance.
 
Now, regarding efforts to mobilize resources from diverse donors, let me touch upon the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD). CEAPAD is a regional conference initiated by Japan to discuss assistance to Palestine by utilizing the resources and experiences of economic development of East Asian countries. At the Senior Official Meeting on 31st of May in Indonesia, we set up an individual session dedicated to “Supporting UNRWA” and invited Mr. Marc Lassouaoui, Director of External Relationship of UNRWA, to make a presentation. Under the co-chairmanship of Japan, Palestine and Indonesia, the Participants expressed their call for strengthened cooperation between CEAPAD and UNRWA in the chair’s summary.
 
The Ministerial level meeting of CEAPAD is now scheduled on 27 June in Thailand. Under the co-chairmanship of Foreign Ministers of Japan, Thailand and Palestine as well as with the presence of Commissioner-General Krähenbühl, we aim to take this opportunity to reach out to Asian countries at the Ministerial level and send a strong message of support for UNRWA. We hope UNRWA can take advantage of this momentum to further diversify its donor base.
 
Japan will continue supporting UNRWA not only through financial contributions, but also through multilateral engagement. In the meantime, we must also advance UNRWA’s administrative reform to ensure the most efficient provision of services to Palestinian refugees in a time of financial shortage. We count on the strong leadership of the Commissioner-General in this matter.
 
Thank you.