Statement by Mr. Tetsuya Kimura
Delegation of Japan
on agenda item 3 (a): Poverty eradication
Fifty Session of the Commission for Social Development
2 February 2012
I would first of all like to thank you for your leadership during this session of the Commission. I also wish to express my gratitude to the Bureau and the Secretariat for the excellent preparations for the session.
Poverty eradication, full employment and social integration were the main goals committed to at the World Summit for Social Development in 1995. We have been engaged in the realization of this commitment.
However, the gap between rich and poor is widening in many countries, including in developed countries. The polarization of society is ongoing. In many developing countries in particular, there is often no middle class to speak of in the first place. Many people face such poverty that they struggle to meet even their basic daily needs. Poverty eradication is interlinked with the improvement of economic and social inequality, the promotion of full employment, social integration, and economic growth. It is necessary to comprehensively promote these issues.
The eradication of extreme poverty and hunger is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) committed to by the international community. We continue to accelerate our efforts towards the achievement of the MDGs by 2015. In order to sustain momentum from the UN High-level Plenary Meeting in 2010, Japan hosted the MDGs Follow-up Meeting in Tokyo last June and a ministerial-level side-event entitled “Commitment to accelerate progress on the MDGs” in New York last September. We engaged in significant discussions on concrete methods to advance the achievement of the MDGs and the international development agenda beyond 2015. Japan will continue to participate in the discussions on this agenda beyond 2015.
Poverty reduction is a priority issue of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). For that purpose, we intend to support human and social development in developing countries in areas including “education, health and welfare, water and sanitation, and agriculture”.
For the development of technologies, employment creation, and policy and institutional building, it is important that individuals in developing countries develop their abilities through education and contribute to their society. Education is a priority issue of ODA by Japan.
I would like to introduce to you one example of Japan’s ODA. This is “The School for All Project” in West Africa, namely in Niger, Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. In this regard, parents and community members are involved in school management, and the project aims to improve the education environment and quality for children. In Burkina Faso, financial and human resources were provided from the local community, school facilities such as classrooms and bathrooms were supplied by the project, and the quality of education was improved by providing textbooks and supplementary lessons. This is an education development model that utilizes the capacity of the community and promotes cooperation between the government and the community.
We promote international cooperation for poverty eradication based on the concept of “human security”, which focuses on individual people. Japan strongly supports the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, and therefore extended approximately 10 million US dollars of assistance through the Fund in Fiscal Year 2011. We will continue to make efforts for poverty eradication with both bilateral and multilateral assistance.
Also in Japan, a divided society has already been around for several years. While maintaining social cohesion, economic growth and reviving the middle class are necessary for improving the gap.
For Japan’s economic revival, we will create employment by promoting economic partnerships and by creating new demand and industries through the innovation of technologies and services which contribute to overcoming social challenges such as an ageing society with a declining birthrate and global environmental problems. We believe that the creation of employment could lead to a revival of the middle class. Furthermore, in order to realize a society in which all participate, we support education and employment for youth, assistance for raising children, and the promotion of employment for women, older persons, and persons with disabilities. Diversity should be promoted. The foundation of a society in which individual people can live comfortably should be provided.
In conclusion, “a society for all” could be achieved by cooperation among a broad range of stakeholders such as governments, the UN system, civil society and the private sector. Japan will continue to make efforts for poverty eradication, a common goal of the international community.