Statement by Minister Tetsuya Kimura
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda item 49: Assistance in mine action
Sixty-sixth Session of the General Assembly
28 October 2011
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
At the outset, I would like to pay tribute to the victims of landmines, which include many children and women. I commend the dedicated work of deminers and also pay tribute to those who lost their lives in their duty.
In the concerted efforts of the international community to realize a mine-free world and zero victims of landmines, the important role of the United Nations has been increasingly recognized. In this regard, Japan welcomes the report of the Secretary-General (A/66/292) and the observations and recommendations contained in the report. We expect that the ongoing evaluation by the Joint Inspection Unit on the scope, organization, effectiveness and approach of the work of the United Nations in mine action will soon be concluded, and that a new United Nations Inter-Agency Mine Action Strategy for 2011-2015 will be finalized with due consideration of the evaluation.
As a co-sponsor, Japan supports the draft resolution on assistance in mine action to be adopted later today. We thank the EU delegation for promoting the draft resolution and also thank all delegations for the cooperation and flexibility they have shown during the consultations.
Promoting universal adherence to the Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions has real effects in the world. Japan is committed to continuing its efforts in the universalization of the Conventions, and in particular to ensuring that the Asia-Pacific does not remain the region with the lowest level of membership to the Conventions. We welcome that Tuvalu has recently acceded to the Mine Ban Convention as the 157th State Party. Japan will continue to cooperate with the Special Envoy His Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan, state parties, international organizations, the ICRC, and NGOs towards the universalization of the Conventions.
Japan has extended its assistance in mine action under its “Zero New Victims” program. Since 1998, the total of Japan’s assistance in the area has reached about 436 million US dollars in 42 countries and regions. A key to mine action assistance is a comprehensive approach, ranging from mine clearance to mine risk education and victim assistance, including socio-economic reintegration of victims, while cooperating closely with NGOs operating at the grass root level. Promoting national ownership is also important in mine action. In this regard, Japan places importance on the capacity-building of the affected countries, including through methods such as technical transfer.
Japan has been promoting south-south, or triangle, cooperation schemes in its mine action assistance. For example, in 2009, Japan supported the transfer of extensive experience and knowledge from the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) to the Colombia’s Presidential Program for Comprehensive Action against Anti-personnel Mines (PAICMA). We hope that such cooperation between mine-affected countries will be further enhanced.
In addition to its bilateral cooperation in mine action, Japan has been a strong supporter for the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) since its establishment on 1997 and has worked with UNMAS hand in hand in mine action activities all over the world. We are proud that Japan became the 2010 top donor to the UN Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action managed by UNMAS.
In terms of the efficient usage of resources, we consider synergistic effects between bilateral assistance and multilateral assistance to create far greater positive results than can be gained by bilateral assistance alone. Aid coordination among donors is also important. From this perspective, Japan has established ODA Task Forces, which comprise of Japanese Embassies officials and aid implementation agencies in about 80 countries, and through these Task Forces we consistently consult with recipient countries and other donor countries and organizations. We also believe that international cooperation can be more effective if we utilize the synergies of our assistance provided to both the Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as we often provide assistance which targets unexploded ordnance, whether they be landmines or cluster munitions.
Finally, Mr. Chairman,
We welcome that the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention will be held next month in Cambodia, one of the most mine-affected countries. Japan expects that the Meeting of the States Parties will strengthen their efforts to implement the obligations under the Convention and to accelerate concrete measures in order for the impact of our mine action to be tangible on the ground and for the victims.
Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go to end the suffering caused by landmines and cluster munitions. Until that day, Japan will continue to strengthen its cooperation and assistance towards a world of zero victims of these inhuman weapons.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.