(As delivered)Thank you, Mr. President.
I thank the President for convening this important meeting. We commend your leadership on this issue. We welcomed the adoption of the resolution this morning, which we cosponsored. Let me also express my gratitude to the briefers for their insightful remarks.
The goal of silencing the guns in Africa by 2020 is ambitious and worthy. As USG DiCarlo said in her briefing this morning, it demands that we address the drivers and roots causes of conflict and fragility in a holistic manner. With that in mind, my remarks today will focus on three issues: small arms, prevention, and institution-building.
First, we must tackle the actual guns themselves.
Small arms and light weapons are the greatest common factor among various types of security threats on the African continent. These weapons are a force multiplier of instability, exacerbating and prolonging the conflict in whatever arena they enter.
In this regard, Japan welcomes the newly established funding mechanism called the “Saving-Lives Entity” or “SALIENT” launched under the Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda. Small arms issues are cross-cutting and affect the entire spectrum of conflict resolution.
Japan believes this approach, which enables the strengthening of institutional capacities for controlling small arms, will pave the way for a more coherent UN response. For this reason, Japan has recently decided, and today has announced to disburse $2 million dollars to SALIENT.
Japan also decided to newly provide more than half a million dollars for the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament, or UNREC in Lome, Togo.
Small arms and light weapons are borderless and regional cooperation is imperative. We look forward to seeing UNREC enhance the capacities of disarmament institutions in Africa through its coordination with regional partners.
On top of this, most of the UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa already have mandates associating with small arms. It would be useful for the UN and the AU to look at this issue horizontally and synergize their efforts.
Secondly, just managing small arms is not enough.
The UN and the AU need to boost prevention efforts. It is better to prevent a gun from being fired in the first place than to have to silence one that is already firing. Both the UN and AU have respective preventative tools, from early warning to mediation to peacebuilding, which can and should complement each other in the quest for political solutions. Japan believes that if this Council and the AU Peace and Security Council put heavier weight on prevention, it will have a powerful impact towards silencing the guns. We highlight the role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) here as well.
The recent peace agreement in Central African Republic (CAR) is a great example of the collaborative mediation efforts by the UN, AU, and sub-regional organizations. Japan contributed financially to the “African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation” for Central African Republic through the AU Peace Fund.
Finally, strengthening institutional capacity is crucial.
The foundation for sustaining peace is built on institutions that serve the people. This is why Japan strongly emphasizes institution-building in Africa. We believe the UN and AU can leverage their strategic partnership to strengthen institutional capacity-building in Africa towards the goal of silencing the guns. Japan will do its part in promoting this, including at the upcoming 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD7, this August.
I thank you, Mr. President.