2002 Statement



Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge dfAffaires

At the Public Meeting of the Security Council on the Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa

22 May 2002

Mr. President,

I would like to express, on behalf of the Government of Japan, my sincere appreciation to Your Excellency, Professor Jayakumar, for convening this debate, and thus giving non-members of the Security Council, particularly countries from Africa, an opportunity to speak on the working methods of the Working Group. I would also like to thank Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul of Mauritius for his briefing on the activities of the Working Group; and Ambassador Simonovic, President of the Economic and Social Council; Ambassador Kebe, Permanent Observer of the OAU; and Mr. Fall, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, for their very informative statements.

Mr. President,

Convinced that world stability and prosperity will not prevail in the 21st century unless the problems of Africa are resolved, the Government of Japan has addressed the situation in Africa as one of the most important foreign policy issues for Japan. From this standpoint, today I would like to discuss three points with respect to the activities of the Working Group.

The first point concerns the enhancement of cooperation with ECOSOC, as indicated in the mandate of the Group. We have stressed that for effective conflict prevention it is imperative to take a comprehensive approach which integrates political, economic, social and humanitarian measures based on requirements from moment to moment. Such approach should be applied to all steps, from conflict prevention to post-conflict peacemaking. Furthermore, it goes without saying that it is important to ensure cooperation and coordination among the entities engaged in conflict prevention. To achieve lasting solutions to the conflicts in Africa, it is necessary to take, again, a comprehensive approach that envisions not only traditional peacekeeping operations, but also the observation of elections and the demilitarization, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants as well as post-conflict assistance for reconstruction and development. I believe such a comprehensive approach requires well-coordinated cooperation between the work of the Security Council, which bears primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and that of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), whose function is to make recommendations to the General Assembly, the UN Member States and the specialized agencies concerned with international economic and social problems. Thus I welcome the fact that the Working Group is focusing on this issue.

As referred to in the Group’s Programme of Work, ECOSOC is now carefully considering the possible establishment of an ad-hoc advisory group on emerging conflicts in African countries in order to encourage the international community to extend its support during the transition from peacekeeping to peacemaking. Although ECOSOC has not yet concluded its work, it is important to avoid any duplication of work by the two groups. Thus, if such advisory group is in fact established, it should co-organize meetings with the Working Group and jointly propose ways of bridging the gap between emergency relief activities during a conflict, and reconstruction and development assistance once a conflict has been resolved. In doing so, the Security Council and ECOSOC could together present an entire roadmap for conflict resolution and the achievement of lasting peace.

The second point I would like to raise concerns NEPAD, the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development, which was initiated by the African countries themselves. As pre-conditions for development, NEPAD stresses such aspects as the importance of prevention, management and resolution of conflicts; peace enforcement, peacekeeping and peacemaking; post-conflict reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction; and issues relating to small arms and demining. This approach coincides with the comprehensive approach I just described. I look forward to a constructive dialogue between the Working Group and the OAU/AU on this issue.

My third point concerns the transparency of the Working Group’s activities. Although the Group is essentially an informal body, in focusing on measures to deal with the post-conflict situation while a conflict is coming to resolution, it could benefit from input by non-members of the Security Council which have the experience and ability to play a major role in post-conflict reconstruction and development assistance. In this sense, we consider today’s debate quite useful, and hope that interested non-members of the Security Council will be briefed on its activities, if possible, at each meeting of the Group.

Mr. President,

The international situation continues to be extremely tenuous due in large part to the political and economic impact of the terrorist attacks in the United States last September. But even under such circumstances, the international community needs to strengthen its joint efforts to resolve the conflicts Africa is now facing. The international community must provide proactive and continuous support for the ownership efforts initiated by African countries themselves.

At the end of 2003, the Government of Japan expects to convene TICAD III, the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development. Designating the year or so leading up to that event as the "Year for Soaring Cooperation with Africa", the Government of Japan will take concrete measures to further enhance Japanfs policies toward Africa.

In closing, Mr. President, let me express our hope that, under the leadership of Ambassador Koonjul, the Working Group will achieve positive results contributing to the efforts of the international community, including those of Japan.

Thank you very much.