Statement by H.E. Mr. Joe Nakano
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
At the General Debate of the 2012 High-Level Segment
of the Economic and Social Council
3 July 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcoming the successful outcomes of RIO + 20, just 10 days ago, I would like to assure Japan’s commitment to making active and positive contribution to the important follow-up process of this conference.
Nearly sixteen months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Witnessing Japan steadily advance along the path of reconstruction, I cannot express our gratitude strongly enough for the generous support and heart-felt encouragement we have received from all over the world. The aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent efforts at reconstruction have given rise to the following questions in my mind:
How can we build a resilient society and provide social safety nets in order to mitigate the various risks that we are now facing in today’s world? How can we simultaneously realize both sustainable economic growth and the provision of social safety nets? How can we identify the most important elements of international development agenda that must be pursued in order for the entire international community to enjoy the fruit of the economic development?
(Risks to the World Economy and Building a Resilient Society)
Many people in the world, including many youth, have been affected by an unprecedented global financial crisis. Many have lost their jobs, many have lost their homes, and this has become a major source of social instability. There are still many risks to the global economy, such as the European sovereign debt issue, natural disasters, and social discontent caused by income inequality and unemployment. In today’s globally connected world, any kind of crisis in one country can easily proliferate along supply chains and financial flows.
The keys to address such risks are risk reduction and the building of resilient societies. Such efforts help ensure human security and maintain the sustainability of development.
With this firm belief, Japan was the first to announce that it would contribute US$60 billion to the IMF, and was followed by many other countries who made commitments of their own, which lead to an agreement by the G-20 in June to increase the resources available to the IMF by over $456 billion, in order to reduce risk and to build resilient societies from a financial aspect.
Natural disasters are another major source of concern. Japan is hosting the World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction in Tohoku to share lessons learned from disasters, including our experience last year, with the world and to mainstream disaster reduction in international cooperation. Japan will also provide $3 billion in support to developing countries in the field of disaster reduction over the next three years.
(Employment and the Social Safety Net)
Once a crisis rears its head, the lives of all the people in the affected country suffer from its adverse effects, one of which, more often than not, is unemployment. I believe it is essential that we spread out broad social safety nets in anticipation of inevitable risks. For over six decades, Japan has gradually enhanced its own safety net through such means as labor legislation and its social security system, and we continue to pursue improvements. Japan will also continue to make every effort to build safety nets in other countries throughout the world, in cooperation with ILO and other stakeholders.
(The Goals of Employment and Sustainable Economic Growth)
To simultaneously realize both sustainable economic growth and the creation and maintenance of jobs, Japan believes that all countries should find the best ways, within their own social and economic contexts, of setting clear strategies. Last month, the G20 and Rio+20 gave us good opportunities to rethink the issue.
We believe transitioning to a green economy, with superior energy and resource efficiency, is a promising solution to the question of realizing both sustainable growth and job creation. However, such a transition requires a means of implementation. I am convinced that the development of human resources and promotion of technology transfer could be this means of implementation. And I further believe it is the duty of Japan to share our knowledge and technology with our global friends; to this end we are dispatching some 10,000 ‘Green Cooperation Volunteers’ and providing $3 billion over the next three years to help disseminate and operationalize Japan’s advanced renewable energy technologies around the world.
(The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Beyond)
I believe that we should establish and pursue appropriate international development agenda in order for all Member States to receive the benefit of sustainable economic growth. For this reason, Japan is committed to achieving the MDGs, and so contributes to the achievement of MDGs, including through implementation of commitments in the fields of education and health made by then Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the UN MDGs Summit in 2010.
Japan is also actively taking part in current discussions on how to organize a development agenda beyond 2015. For example, Japan is prompting informal discussion among interested countries, international organizations and other stakeholders through the creation of the Post-MDGs Contact Group. In this connection, Japan would like to support the Secretary-General's initiative to set up the high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda, and will actively contribute to its discussions. Furthermore, a serious discussion as to how we will integrate the SDGs process into the post-2015 development agenda process will be required. Finally, in creating meaningful Post-MDGs agenda, I would like to stress that emerging countries and the private sector can and should play ever larger roles and we must move beyond the old dichotomy of developed and developing countries.
In closing, let us continue to work together to achieve a society in which opportunities for social participation and the fruits of economic growth are available to everyone.
Thank you for your attention.
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