Statement by H.E. Mr. Motohide Yoshikawa

Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations


At the Signing Ceremony of the Exchange of Notes with UNDP

regarding the “The Project for Transmission of Reliable Electricity to Respond

to the Immediate Humanitarian Needs in crisis-affected Communities of Syria”


Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, NY

15 April 2016



          Today UNDP and Japan sign an Exchange of Notes underwriting a critically important humanitarian and development project “the Project for Transmission of Reliable Electricity to Respond to the Immediate Humanitarian Needs in Crisis-affected Communities of Syria”.


          The people of Syria have been suffering unimaginably through a protracted six-year-long crisis. The international community has struggled to find a solution to this crisis. Almost every week we discuss the Syrian issue at the United Nations Security Council. Now, with the resumption of peace talks at the Intra-Syrian Dialogue in Geneva, Syria takes a step forward on the path back to peace.


          Syria is a beautiful country with an ancient history and a rich culture. Japan has long been involved in Syria’s development and has also provided it with humanitarian assistance. I have personally been engaged in developing the relationship between Japan and Syria.


          The project that Japan and UNDP have agreed today to implement will play a pivotal role in laying a solid foundation upon which the Syrian people may rebuild their livelihoods and Syria may once again advance its economic development. Since we cannot dispatch Japanese experts and engineers to Syria under the current circumstances, we will be conducting the project through our collaboration with UNDP.


          Japanese assistance in Syria’s power sector began in the 1980’s. Before the crisis, three power plants which had been constructed using Japanese ODA generated approximately 56% of all electricity in Syria. These power plants are in fact still producing electricity, and I understand that the power generated by these plants has been distributed broadly throughout Syria including areas controlled by opposition forces. However, the most important thing to remember is that all Syrian people regardless of where they may reside during this conflict need electricity. Electricity is a basic necessity for lives and livelihoods of the Syrian people and an indispensable component of humanitarian assistance.


          This project is not only important for its development aspect but also for its peace-building aspect. The reason why Japan is underwriting this project is to support movements toward peace. Electricity is as important to people’s lives and livelihoods as food and water. To distribute electricity is to give hope to Syria’s future. I believe this project will serve to strengthen the resilience of Syrian society, and thus can provide conditions that Syrian people may feel they want to remain in their country.


          I deeply hope that progress will be made in the Intra-Syrian Dialogue in Geneva and that Syria will move out of this current difficult situation.


          I thank you all in attendance today.


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