(Check against delivery)
Thank you Mr. President,
Allow me to begin by extending my deepest appreciation to Poland, Côte d'Ivoire, France and Sweden for their leadership in organizing this Arria Formula meeting and to the briefers for their insights.
It is heartbreaking to see situations where children become entangled in conflicts and suffer torments. Threats of violence tend to prey on those with little power, especially on children. Depriving children of their strength and hope is tantamount to losing the future of humanity.
The situation where conflicts continue to afflict children is totally unacceptable. Children should never suffer from grave violations. Ensuring that children are able to live free from fear and live with dignity is at the very heart of the concept of Human Security, which Japan has consistently embraced. We must end all forms of violence against children and realize a world where children can grow with dreams and hopes.
Today, I would like to introduce our commitment to the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GPeVAC) as one of Japan’s ongoing efforts to protect children in conflict situations, which Japan announced at the Solutions Summit in Stockholm last February.
This Partnership (GPeVAC) and its associated fund were established in 2016 with the aim to achieve SDG 16.2 “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.” The fund was created to support activities to achieve the vision of the Partnership, which is to realize a world in which every child grows up free from violence and exploitation. The fund provides financial support to programs that further the Partnership’s three pillars, namely （1）online sexual exploitation, （2）violence in the everyday lives of children and （3）violence against children facing conflict and crisis. Japan has just made a contribution of 5.9 million USD to the fund this March, which made us the first and only donor for its humanitarian window of the fund. We would like to encourage other states to consider supporting the humanitarian pillar of the fund together with us. We hope that the use of the fund can effectively support and supplement the Action Plans approach we discussed today.
Nowhere is this more urgent than in crisis and conflict, in particular for children living in or fleeing crisis. For example, children in northeast Nigeria are facing violence. Refugee children in Uganda have fled crises in multiple neighboring states. Their humanitarian needs are critical. Children are displaced from their homes by violence and are then faced with heightened risk of abuse, exploitation and neglect.
In order to respond to these situations, Japan financially supports 12 child protection projects in Nigeria and Uganda carried out by various UN agencies and NGOs through this fund. 10 of these are now operational, including projects which work on psychosocial support, case management for unaccompanied and separated children, and reintegration assistance for children formerly associated with armed groups.
One such project is operated by World Vision, which is being implemented in Bidibidi refugee settlement in Northern Uganda as we speak. The area is currently hosting close to 280,000 refugees from South Sudan, of which 64% are children.
The fund enabled World Vision to support a large number of children, including teenage mothers, child headed households, unaccompanied children and victims of gender based violence. The project provides not just their safety and protection but skills training and other personalized support for teenage mothers and victims of gender violence to promote their dignity and improve general well-being through empowerment.
This dual approach matches the strategy to promote Human Security, which puts its focus on strengthening the protection and empowerment of all people and all communities. Japan continues to support these efforts to end violence against children facing conflict and crisis.
We expect these positive global efforts to spread and will ultimately lead to the end of all forms of violence against children. Japan also calls for the international community to join this invaluable initiative of the GPeVAC and its fund as a measure to support and supplement the implementation of Action Plans.