Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the High-Level Plenary Meeting on the “Commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development”

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Madam President,
Executive Director,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
        At the outset, I would like to thank you, Madam President, for convening this High-Level Meeting in “Commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development.” I would also like to congratulate the Member States and the Secretariat on this special year, when we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNFPA under the leadership of Executive Director Kanem.
        Japan has been a keen supporter of UNFPA since its establishment, and has witnessed its continued commitment to its mandate, even under rapidly changing demographics and global dynamics. We are proud of its significant global contributions.
        25 years ago, the world went through a paradigm shift regarding population when we adopted the ICPD Programme of Action to address population matters through a human rights-based approach that respected the quality and dignity of each person’s life and right, rather than to see the population just as a number.
        Since then, we have seen impressive progress around the world, including improved access to family planning, a decline in maternal mortality, and increasing momentum and policy development to ensure gender equality.
        On the other hand, there are still much to be done, as the title of the 2019 State of World Population Report, “Unfinished Business”, suggests. In particular, we need to make utmost efforts to ensure that people in vulnerable situations or humanitarian contexts, especially women and girls, to have access to necessary services. This must be done under the concept of human security in order to ensure that no one is left behind.
        Furthermore, we believe it is critical to address pressing population issues including declining fertility, population aging, urbanization and migration. In this regard, we have been sharing our lessons and knowledge on population aging at global and regional fora. We would also like to collaborate with the international community not just to share challenges and countermeasures but also to accelerate policy implementation from the perspective of the entire life-course, including to address low fertility and population ageing.
       Towards the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 in Kenya in November, Japan will hold the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African development or TICAD7 including side events with UNFPA next month. We trust these events will serve as a stepping stone to accelerate the momentum to achieve universal health coverage at the High-level Meeting on UHC. This will further feed into to the Nairobi Summit, so that each actor will recommit to the “Unfinished Business” of the ICPD Programme of Action.
I thank you.