Statement by Minister Counsellor Mr. MIZUTA Shinichi, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Ambassadorial Level Meeting on the Sahel region

(As delivered)
I thank Mr. Chair, Ambassador Bob Rae for convening this meeting. I also thank all briefers for their comprehensive and in-depth briefings.
Japan believes that the keys for stability in the Sahel are trust and governance. They are currently at risk on many fronts as the countries of the region continue to face a multifaceted human security crisis highlighted by both widespread insecurity and COVID-19. Political stability is being tested where state and local institutions have failed to deliver sufficient health care, education, youth employment and other basic social services in the face of the pandemic. People flee and do not return to their communities, and youth fall prey to recruitment by violent extremist groups where weak institutions cannot offer protection and livelihoods.
Trust and governance cannot be built in days or weeks. It requires conscious and continuous effort to build trust and to enhance governance, and it needs to be “institutionalized”. That is why Japan’s “New Approach for Peace and Stability in Africa (NAPSA)”, launched during TICAD7 last year, has prioritized assistance for institution building, strengthening of governance and capacity building with the aim of ensuring human security and strengthening local resilience in coordination with state and local authorities.
Japan’s assistance in the Sahel is aligned with this principle. Let me explain with some examples. In Liptako-Gourma, Japan has assisted UNDP’s project to strengthen institutional capacity in order to build trust among the local population. The project provides training to uniformed and civilian Malian personnel to raise their awareness about local communities, including on the participation of youth and women in local peace and security initiatives, before they deploy to the border area. In Burkina Faso, Japan has supported UNDP’s vocational training program for vulnerable populations including youth, women, and internally displaced persons, who are particularly susceptible to violence or recruitment by violent extremist groups.
What I would like to highlight here is the importance of partnerships. Japan’s assistance in the Sahel has been made possible thanks to partnerships with UNDP and other UN agencies, funds, and programmes. In this regard, Japan commends the important role of the Peacebuilding Fund in integrating the activities of UN entities and other actors as well as in catalyzing additional funding. 
As Prime Minister SUGA expressed in his statement at the General Debate on 25 September, Japan will continue to contribute to sustaining peace in the Sahel and around the world, including through our work at the PBC and through engaging in strengthening institutions and building capacities, based on the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace”.
I thank you.