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STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. TOSHIRO OZAWA
AMBASSADOR OF JAPAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN AND UNITED NATIONS RESEARCH AND TRAINING INSTITUTIONS
INFORMAL CONSULTATION OF THE PLENARY OF THE
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON MANDATE REVIEW
30 MAY 2006
Gender equality and empowerment of women
Gender equality and the empowerment of women continue to be challenges for the international community, developed and developing countries alike, and they are issues that cut across all the activities of the United Nations. The 2005 Summit Outcome Document recognized the importance of gender mainstreaming as a tool for achieving gender equality. Some progress has been made, but gaps remain in the implementation of policies and programmes relating to gender. Japan fully shares the view of the SG on the need of conducting a comprehensive review of the UN system with regard to gender equality and gender mainstreaming.
Japan believes that, within the framework of this comprehensive system-wide review, it would be essential to review the mandates of the four major institutions concerned with gender issues, namely, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, UNIFEM and INSTRAW. Clarifying their respective roles is a necessary exercise for identifying duplication of mandates and their implementation or gaps within the United Nations system.
Furthermore, Japan supports the assessment of the SG that in order to better achieve coherence, collaboration and coordination within the United Nations on gender issues, not only the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality but also the Chief Executives Board for Coordination need to be utilized more effectively with the view of ensuring senior management level involvement.
Japan fully endorses the recommendation of the SG on the simplification of reports and the consolidation of reporting obligations. Reports covering the same topic are submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women, the Third Committee of the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Commission on Human Rights. Certainly, the reports of OHCHR and DAW, which are submitted to the Commission on Human Rights and the Third Committee respectively, should be examined with a view to eliminating duplication and overlap in reporting requirements. Japan believes, as the SG suggested in his report, that much can be accomplished through consolidation of reports and by eliminating duplication of reporting requirements. We welcome the informal but concrete and detailed proposals by the Secretariat on this matter communicated to us last Friday, and hope that we can achieve tangible and immediate results based on this informal report.
Training and Research Institutes
Subventions from the UN regular budget to INSTRAW, UNITAR and UNIDIR should be discontinued. This is without prejudice to our assessment on the activities of these institutes. Subvention to these institutes, and their continued dependence on subvention, as if taken for granted, constitute a contradiction to budgetary discipline, particularly for those institutes which are, in principle, funded solely by voluntary contributions. Such situations should be corrected. The original provisions of the statutes and budgetary discipline must be strictly adhered, and these institutes should make further effort for their financial autonomy.
We believe that the role of INSTRAW should be reviewed. Recently, as gender mainstreaming has moved forward in the United Nations system, research and training for the advancement of women have also been implemented by each of the United Nations agencies and funds and programmes. Also an increasing number of governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as universities and research institutions, have become actively engaged in research and studies on gender issues. Under these circumstances, INSTRAW should be assessed on what its unique role and comparative advantage are vis-à-vis other institutes. If INSTRAW is not able to continue its activities without receiving subventions from the UN regular budget, then, serious consideration should be given to its possible consolidation with an appropriate entity.
The Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) was established as the sole expert body that reviews, evaluates and prioritizes UN programmes. It was also given the new focus on providing strategic guidance to the biennium programme plan. In recent years, however, it has failed to fulfill these responsibilities, and as a result, its effectiveness has been minimal. As an example, ECOSOC only takes note of the CPC report as a matter of procedure. The Committee makes almost no substantive contribution to the consideration of the General Assembly (the Fifth Committee). The CPC has failed to improve its working methods despite the repeated invitation from the GA to do so. Given the current situation, we would conclude that the CPC does not have the ability to carry out its mandates, and has now lost its raison d'etre. As such, we would favor the discontinuation of this committee. We would also favor discontinuing the payment of travel expenses for participants, which was initiated as an experiment over 20 years ago.
Our general discussions are expected to conclude today, and soon, under the leadership of the Co-Chairs, we are expected to conduct intensive discussions on the proposals advanced by Member States. Japan considers it critical that Member States be able to agree on tangible results in the short-term. We think that tangible results and an agreement on a roadmap for the mid- and long term would be needed.
Thank you, Mr. Co-Chair.
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