Opening Remarks by Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Briefing on the UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis “United to End TB: A Critical Opportunity to End a Global Emergency”

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
          At the outset, I would like to thank the organizers, co-sponsors, and key partners gathered here today for making this briefing possible.
          The enormous global burden of TB affects too many people, particularly those vulnerable and marginalized. However, the fact of the matter is, as WHO revealed recently, the path toward ending TB is not on track. To stamp out this top infectious killer worldwide and the leading cause of deaths due to anti-microbial resistance by 2030 as promised in the SDGs, we need reinvigorated commitment.
          In this regard, we should congratulate the recent success of the First WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB held in Moscow. Issues addressed in the Moscow Declaration including financing for universal coverage, research and development and a multi-sectoral accountability framework require our uninterrupted efforts for advancement with a view to forging the highest level of commitments, culminating in a successful UNGA high-level meeting on TB next year.
          What underpins all these efforts is the importance of Universal Health Coverage. Effective TB response requires robust health systems with universal and equitable access to quality and affordable TB prevention, treatment, care and support.  TB used to be a number one killer in Japan, but through achieving UHC and collaborative care systems by involving public and private partners, we managed to control the epidemic. With this and more recent experiences under its belt, Japan has contributed to global TB response through its support to the WHO, the Global Fund and via bilateral channels, with close attention to system and human resource aspects.
          I trust today’s briefing will serve as a successful kick-off toward a fruitful and impactful UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018. Japan and myself stand ready to meaningfully engage in this process to make the most of next year’s meeting for the noble cause of ending TB and leaving no one behind.
Thank you.