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Statement by H.E. Mr. Takahiro Shinyo
Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Sixtieth-first Session of the General Assembly
Items 44: Culture of Peace
3 November, 2006
Last year, at the sixtieth session of the General Assembly, world leaders reaffirmed the need to promote the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace as well as the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations and its Programme of Action. My government highly appreciates that last year, UNESCO, as a leading agency, conducted the Midterm global review of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010.
The Culture of Peace is based on respect for human rights, democracy and tolerance, the promotion of development, education for peace, the free flow of information and the wider participation of women as an integral element in preventing violence and conflicts. All the activities of the United Nations contribute to promote the Culture of Peace. Based on the review, it is important to find effective approaches for the United Nations system, Member States and civil societies to further strengthen the global framework in order to promote a Culture of Peace.
Japan believes that in order to maintain a sustainable peace, it is essential to protect people from critical threats to human life, livelihood and ensure people live with dignity. With this in mind, Japan strongly promotes the concept of "Human Security" and its approach. Let me briefly touch upon the issues related to education and the dialogue among civilizations which are of particular interest to Japan.
As is often emphasized, peace, development and human rights are linked and complement one another. Japan's own experience in the 60 years since the Second World War is testimony to this point. Recognizing that education is a fundamental human right and investment in education should be the basis for nation-building, Japan has provided ODA to the education sector in the amount of 4.7 billion US dollars in the past five years. In order to achieve the goal of the Education for All (EFA), Japan announced the Basic Education for Growth Initiative (BEGIN) at the G8 Kananaskis Summit in 2002, which expresses Japan's commitment to supporting developing countries as they improve the quality of their basic education. While respecting their ownership, Japan gives support to the efforts made by developing countries with a view to ensuring the opportunity for primary education for all and improving the quality of education and educational administration systems.
In 2005, the then Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Junichiro Koizumi proposed a "Decade of Education for Sustainable Development". Recognizing that one of the key factors in achieving sustainable development is education, Japan has been contributing to the promotion of this Decade in partnership with its lead agency UNESCO, as well as with other international organizations and stakeholders, and would like to continue this support in the future.
(The Dialogue among Civilizations)
In September 2005, world leaders acknowledged in the World Summit Outcome document, the diversity of the world and reaffirmed that all cultures and civilizations contribute to the enrichment of humankind. Globalization, which can bring different civilizations closer, contributes many benefits to society but can also, sometimes, give rise to intolerance among people when they come into contact with cultures and civilizations different from their own. In order to deal with this unfortunate situation, it is of great importance to promote dialogue among people and civilizations based on the spirit of tolerance and deep mutual understanding.
In this regard, Japan highly commends UNESCO for the major role it played in implementing the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations. Within this framework, UNESCO has organized and sponsored conferences and other meetings which focused on the activities in promoting dialogue among civilizations in various regions.
Japan believes that the promotion of mutual understanding of each other's cultures and civilizations as well as mutually enhancing the development and the dignity of those who belong to the different civilizations will contribute to the promotion of the Culture of Peace. With this in mind, Japan has been actively undertaking a series of efforts to deepen the understanding among cultures and civilizations. In order to share the experiences of countries to preserve tradition while moving towards modernization, Japan held the "World Civilization Forum" in July 2005 and other dialogues, and dispatched "Japan Middle East Cultural Exchanges and Dialogue Mission". We will continue to promote similar dialogues in the future.
The culture of peace is a subject which relates to all human beings. Japan believes that it is of utmost importance to continue our endeavors in close cooperation with each other, to expand dialogue and exchange views among cultures and civilizations in order to create a world of harmony and peace where all human beings live based on the principles of equality and respect of human beings. I would therefore like to conclude my statement by reiterating that Japan is determined to redouble its efforts to bring about a culture of peace.
Thank you very much.
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