Thank you, Mr. President.
Japan supports the Secretary-General’s mediation initiatives, which are deeply interlinked with conflict prevention, peacebuilding and the sustaining peace agenda. We welcomed the establishment of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation (HLAB-M) last year, and are encouraged by his field visits and continued work on mediation activities.
Japan has for many years played a positive role in aiding the peaceful settlement of disputes. Regarding our support to the resolution of the Mindanao conflict in the Philippines, for example, Japan contributed to a peace agreement between the government and a former anti-government armed group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, by hosting a meeting of the parties. We also deployed experts to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) to monitor the ceasefire and the socio-economic situation, and to provide community development and other supports to help sustain the peace in the conflict areas.
Today, as an active player of mediation, Japan wishes to highlight 3 points, namely: inclusivity, capacity building and partnerships.
First, to achieve sustaining peace, mediation should involve not only the combatants, but all relevant actors including women, youth, civil society, local communities, and others as part of an inclusive process. In this regard, Japan welcomes greater gender balance among High Level Advisory Board on Mediation members, as well as the Secretary-General’s commitment to increase the number of women mediators. Japan also promotes women’s participation in conflict resolution and prevention based on the “National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security”. Japan contributed 1 million dollars through UN Women to reinforce women’s leadership to prevent emerging violent extremism in the Sahel region.
Second, sustaining peace will not be achieved without respecting national ownership. Here, capacity building is crucial. One of Japan’s main pillars on peacebuilding is an emphasis on people in the field. In Mindanao, after the ceasefire agreement, we supported capacity building for students, teachers, local government officers and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on peace education and conflict resolution to ensure lasting peace and prevent a relapse into conflict. Our supports are provided under the banner of Japan Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) and these are included regardless of religion. We will continue to make such efforts.
Third, peace does not happen alone. Partnerships with relevant actors including international, regional, sub-regional and local organisations must be enhanced and continued. It is encouraging to see the efforts of African regional and sub-regional organisations such as the AU, ECOWAS, IGAD and others engaging actively in the negotiations or dialogues among all relevant actors in order to resolve conflicts on the continent. Strengthening the UN’s partnership with the AU Peace and Security Council, such as by convening joint annual meetings with the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, is one way that Member States can contribute still further.
The power of mediation is widely understood. Yet challenges remain. It is indispensable to have proper conflict analysis and to share information with everyone. In this connection, those 3 points I previously highlighted—inclusivity, capacity building and partnerships—must be interlinked and enhanced.
Mediation by nature is rarely a public affair, but this open debate reaffirms its importance and helps to continue discussions both inside and outside of the UN system on how it can best serve to advance the cause of sustaining peace.
I thank you, Mr. President.