2005 Statement

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Statement by Mr. Kazuo Sunaga

Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

At the 38th Session of the Commission on Population and Development

New York

4 April 2005

Mr. Chairman,

I join the others in congratulating you on your assumption of the leadership of this important Commission. I would also like to thank the Secretariat for producing such excellent reports for our deliberations here.

This year we will review the response of the international community to the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs and chart a course towards the achievement of these goals. It is therefore an opportune moment to discuss how much progress has been made in implementing the Programme of Action of the ICPD.

Four out of eight of the MDGs, namely, achieving universal primary education, reducing infant and child mortality, improving maternal health, and combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases, are directly related to the Programme of Action. Clearly, then, the MDGs cannot be realized without its full implementation. Member States, UNFPA, and other international organizations must accordingly continue to make every effort to that end.

Mr. Chairman,

We believe that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the most formidable challenges to human life and dignity today. As the Secretary-General’s report shows, HIV/AIDS also has a major impact on mortality, population growth and the number of orphans in the world, as well as on overall economic and social development. HIV/AIDS saps the strength of the workforce and prevents young people from engaging in economic and social activities. And of course, HIV/AIDS threatens the security of the entire world.

In February, Japan announced its medium-term policy on official development assistance. In this policy, we focus on the individual, emphasizing the concept of human security and the necessity of taking crosscutting approaches to break the vicious cycle of HIV/AIDS and poverty.

The approaches we have taken towards infections disease reflect our own experience. We have implemented measures ranging from universal access to primary health care to water and sanitation. These measures have proven highly successful and contributed to making Japan the country with the highest life expectancy in the world.

Mr. Chairman,

We would like to stress three points essential to combating HIV/AIDS.

First, we must engage in prevention as well as medical treatment. Comprehensive and pragmatic measures, including information and education programmes aimed primarily at young people, voluntary counseling and testing, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, need to be promoted. Since women are becoming infected in greater numbers than men, prevention needs to be geared towards women and girls. In this regard, reproductive health care, which includes preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, should be further emphasized.

Second, care and support needs to be strengthened for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. It is imperative that we protect and care for orphans and vulnerable children. The elimination of stigmas and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS is also essential.

Third, adequate primary health care systems must be put in place in developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

With these three points in mind, the Government of Japan is providing financial and technical assistance to developing countries in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. At the Kyushu-Okinawa G8 Summit Meeting in 2000, Japan announced the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative (IDI) and pledged to provide support totaling three billion dollars over the next five years. In addition, my Government took the initiative in creating the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in 2002, a public-private partnership to which it has contributed 328 million dollars to date.

Last month the Japanese Government announced a new Initiative on Gender and Development (GAD) to strengthen its efforts to promote gender equality and empowerment of women in developing countries. Under this initiative, we will address the specific needs of women and girls, who suffer disproportionately from the negative impact of HIV/AIDS, and strive to reduce the vulnerability of women.

Mr. Chairman,

Finally, Japan reaffirms its commitment to pursuing sustainable activities related to HIV/AIDS and population and development. It will make every effort to share its experience and knowledge with its international partners, take an active part in discussing sustainable and practical approaches, and implement comprehensive measures in response to this terrible crisis.

Thank you for your attention.