Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations at the ECOSOC Youth Forum 2019 Side Event on “2030 Agenda, Innovation and Social entrepreneurship in the Arab Region”

(As delivered)
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honour to co-host this side event with the UNDP Regional Arab Bureau and the Permanent Mission of Jordan.
To begin, I’m delighted to welcome many talented youths from the region. I’m also very proud to welcome Mr. Okada, one of the leading young entrepreneurs in Japan, He is the CEO and co-founder of Soramitsu, a company specializing in blockchain technology based in Japan.
Soramitsu is working closely with the National Bank of Cambodia to co-develop a more secure and efficient payment infrastructure based on blockchain technology, which they hope to expand globally in the future, and which may potentially contribute to the promotion of Sustainable Development Goals. I am sure his experiences and insights will be a great inspiration to the participants.
 In order to lead the promotion of the SDGs in the international community, Japan established the “Extended SDGs Action Plan 2018” based on the following three pillars: 1) “Promotion of Society 5.0 that corresponds to SDGs”, 2) “Regional vitalization driven by the SDGs”, and 3) “Empowerment of next generations and women”.
Today’s event focuses on the third pillar, “Empowerment of next generations and women”. The Government of Japan has high expectations for youth as an engine for the realization of the SDGs.
Japan, as a country that values a “people-centered approach” based on the concept of human security, has been working closely with UNDP and Member States in the Arab States Region to support programmes designed to engage youth and create employment, sharing its knowledge in innovation and experiences in achieving dramatic economic recovery and growth by utilizing human capital.
Japan has been increasing such programmes since 2011, and is now supporting 14 countries in the Arab Region. These programmes include partnerships with the private sector – for example, Toyota Iraq and Toyota Libya, in affiliation with Sumitomo Corporation and in partnership with UNDP, offer unique opportunities for displaced young people to find employment.
Additionally, Japan has been promoting youth empowerment through a number of programs in the region, including the Employment Creation in Innovative Public Works Program in Egypt, which has resulted in the creation of job opportunities for Egyptian youth in innovative public works using Japan’s expertise in sustainable infrastructure, as well as efforts to support national efforts to tackle terrorism and radicalization among youth in Jordan
Today’s event provides an excellent opportunity to meet with young entrepreneurs from the Arab region, together with one of the leading young entrepreneurs from Japan, and engage in a wide-ranging dialogue on the role of youth and entrepreneurship in driving development. I look forward to an energetic and fruitful discussion.
I thank you.