2005 Statement



Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

At the Meeting of the General Assembly on Informal Consultations on the Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and on the United Nations Millennium Project 2005 Report

22 February 2005

Mr. President,

My delegation welcomes and thanks you for convening this round of informal consultations under your leadership following the two previous rounds of debate on the two important reports. This round, as you said, should avoid repeating the points already made but contribute to identifying and distilling more sharply the key elements for the September High-level event and for the processes leading up to it, including in particular the Secretary-General's report in March.

Under your strong, wise leadership, in this historic year marking the 60th anniversary of the Organization, we are confident that the Member States should be able to achieve important results and make necessary decisions so that the UN will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of the time.

To that end, I would like to underline a few points that we hope would be reflected in the Secretary-General's report, and offer a few remarks about the processes as we work toward the September summit, and I will do so on the four clusters that you proposed.

A large number of countries touched on the “strengthening the United Nations and institutional reforms”, particularly the Security Council reform. As you summarized at the end of the January session, there is a clear “emerging consensus on the need to reform the Security Council”. You also noted that attention should be paid not only to the expansion of its membership, but also to the improvement of its working methods, in order to make the Security Council more effective and its reform more comprehensive.

We agree with your assessment. In particular, we have noted that our discussions concerning Security Council reform both in the General Assembly last fall and our recent informal consultations indicate that an overwhelming majority of Member States, totaling some 120 countries, have expressed their support for the expansion of its membership in the permanent and non-permanent categories, including the idea of Model A as advanced in the High-level Panel report. In contrast, only a small minority, counting about 10, supported the expansion only in the non-permanent category, including Model B. We hope that an accurate description of this overall situation will be included in the Secretary-General's report as an objective observation of the trend surrounding Security Council reform.

The Secretary-General called on Member States to “reach decisions in 2005” on Security Council reform. We fully agree. Member States have invested enormous time, energy and resources on this issue over many years, and the time is approaching for us to recoup this investment. Member states should make a bold decision on an expansion of the Security Council by summer of this year, so that it can be presented as part of important issues for consideration at the September High-level event.

We also agree that the working methods of the Security Council will have to be improved. In the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), there has been over 10 years of accumulated work to determine what these certain improvements should be. Some of these have already been implemented de facto, but other possible improvements that have already been agreed to by consensus are yet to be implemented by the Security Council. Having this in mind, the General Assembly can harvest the fruit of this accumulated work done in the OEWG. It can also make additional progress by reaching consensus on further possible improvements.

The reform agenda of the United Nations is much broader than Security Council reform, however important it is. In the previous statements, we have already expressed our willingness to achieve tangible results in the reform of the other key organs such as the General Assembly and ECOSOC as well as the Secretariat. We would not repeat our comments, but we are prepared to work closely with like-minded delegations and the Secretary-General and your leadership also towards that end.

The innovative idea of a Peacebuilding Commission was embraced favorably by many Members as a valuable institutional gap-filling measure. My delegation made a suggestion during the meeting on 27 January that the Commission, if it is to be established, should better be conceived as a joint body or joint forum of the Security Council and ECOSOC, rather than a subsidiary organ of the Security Council.

We also wish to reiterate that we agree with the Panel's reflection that all the articles referring to “enemy states” should be revised by amending the Charter.

Concerning the first cluster of “peace and security”, a large number of delegations, including Japan, agreed with the High-level Panel's key analysis that international peace and security are closely linked with international development issues. The concept of this inter-connectedness is not new in itself, but a concrete, concerted international action based on such a concept would be added value, and it should enjoy a high profile in the outcome of the September summit. In this connection, in addition to the six clusters of threats discussed in the High-level Panel report, the increasingly menacing threat, a seventh threat if you like, posed by natural disasters to humanity was referred to by many delegations, including my own, as deserving more prominent treatment. In this respect, we have heard Ambassador of Samoa, on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum, making this point, and I concur to this point. The UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction held in Kobe, Japan, in January, was a testimony to this, and in our view this should be reflected accordingly.

Concerning the development cluster, key action points will need to be identified, utilizing an agreed priority scale and timeframe, from among the many useful proposals and recommendations made in the Millennium Project report. To that end, the March report of the SG would cover the important question of financial resources with which to meet the Millennium Development Goals and other development goals. We wish to underline that in international resource mobilization, a comprehensive approach should be taken that adequately reflects the need to take into account all the resources in a balanced manner, namely, domestic financial resources in developing countries, private-sector money available through trade and investment, and development funding such as ODA. In achieving the MDGs, the value of “quick wins” projects and aid efforts in areas such as water, health services, and education was recognized as deserving greater attention. Furthermore, a strategy based on the two pillars, namely, poverty reduction through economic growth and human-centered development, should be highlighted as important aid objectives for achieving the MDGs. This strategy would emphasize such basic ingredients as good governance, investment in basic infrastructure, investment in education and capacity building, among others. Likewise, we have stressed the need to incorporate the idea of “human security”, both as a guiding concept and as a practical benchmark in our approach to MDGs and development aid.

As a major development aid donor, which has shouldered close to one-fifth of the world's total volume of development assistance for the last ten years, Japan will continue to make a determined effort to achieve the MDGs based on the strategy I have described, and to that end, we will strive to increase the level of our ODA.

Regarding the cluster of “rule of law and protecting the vulnerable”, an attempt by the Panel to define “terrorism” and to clarify the concept of “responsibility to protect” was appreciated by many delegations. It is a useful contribution to strengthen collective security system responding to the emerging realities and trends in the world of the 21st century. However, various views expressed on these important issues have shown that more discussions are needed to arrive at generally agreed definition or criteria concerning legitimate use of force for intervention. It was notable that widespread support was expressed for the Panel's view that it does not favor the rewriting or reinterpretation of the Article of the Charter on the right of self-defense.

Mr. President,

The United Nations is 60 years old and at crossroads. Our Organization must re-adapt itself to new realities and overcome some of the anachronism that has become clear over these decades, if it is to keep its relevance and effectiveness. Otherwise, we will risk falling into a vicious circle of seeing our Organization with diminishing authority and declining credibility and legitimacy. Some bold decisions are needed to avoid this and to turn it into a virtuous circle. The decisions are for Member States to make, but it is our expectations that the Secretary-General's report in March will provide us with useful guidance as to substantive issues by identifying the most important issues with prioritization and describing objectively the Member States' deliberations in the preceding debates. We believe that such a report will help the Member States in finalizing the current stage of discussion and reaching necessary decisions in the coming months, in order to finish reform by the end of the year.

In addition to the four clusters of issues, you have suggested that the preparatory process be conducted in a transparent, inclusive and coordinated manner, and we welcome this suggestion as well as your appointment of the ten Facilitators, with all of whom we intend to work closely as well as other facilitators and two vice-chairs of the OEWG..

Mr. President,

Before concluding, let me mention one point about consensus, since a certain number of delegations referred to it. We, of course, support the importance of consensus, but consensus should not be used as an excuse for delay in action or inaction in the UN reform. On certain issues, votes should not be excluded for us to move forward.

Mr. President,

My delegation is confident that your leadership, the thoughtful advise of the Secretary-General, and the coordination role of the Facilitators all will combine to mobilize the political will of Member States to prepare for the historic September summit that will prove a unique opportunity for United Nation reform and to build “a world that will be safer, fairer and freer, for all inhabitants”, as Secretary-General has said. In this extremely important undertaking, you can count on my delegation's full cooperation.

Thank you, Mr. President.