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Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to express my deepest congratulations, together with the distinguished champions, on the 70th anniversary of WHO. Japan has assisted WHO as an active member state and as a core donor because we believe in the organization’s mandate. As stipulated in its Constitution, the mandate of WHO is to ensure health for all, which in current terms means “Universal Health Coverage” (UHC). It embodies also the notion of no one left behind, the core principle of SDGs, and human security, which Japan fundamentally subscribes to.
Last December, world leaders including Secretary-General Guterres and the heads of WHO, UNICEF and World Bank gathered together in Tokyo and agreed to extend essential health coverage to 1 billion additional people and halve from 100 million to 50 million the number of people being pushed into extreme poverty by health expenses by 2023, the midpoint towards 2030.
From our end, Prime Minister Abe committed to contributing a total of 2.9 billion US dollars towards achieving this goal. If we are serious about achieving UHC by 2030, we need to join forces to take concrete action towards these targets.
Here in New York, we have tremendous opportunities ahead. This year, Japan, together with Antigua and Barbuda, is co-facilitating the process towards the UNGA High-level Meeting on Tuberculosis coupled with the High-level Meeting on NCDs. I myself am co-chairing STI Forum in June, where Science, Technology and Innovation for SDGs will be discussed. In 2019, the UNGA will convene a High-level Meeting on UHC. These events are prime opportunities for us to mutually reinforce and renew our commitments to ensuring health for all through UHC.
Japan will maximize every opportunity including the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, as well as the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD, in Yokohama, both in 2019.
The world needs WHO now more than ever to lead the way to achieving UHC. Japan stands ready to facilitate in every way possible for this noble cause so that no one will be left behind from highest attainable health.