Statement by Mr. Kazuo Sunaga, Minister
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda item 56: Groups of Countries in Special Situations
8 November 2006
First, on agenda item 56 (a), least developed countries (LDCs): The Government of Japan considers the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the midterm review of the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) a success. Member States acknowledged both the progress made since 2001 and the challenges that remain. For its part, Japan will renew its efforts to work with LDCs as well as other development partners to carry out the BPoA and realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Japan's commitment to assisting LDCs has been translated into concrete action. Prior to the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference last December, then-Prime Minister Koizumi announced the Development Initiatives for Trade, based on the idea of "aid for trade." The initiative addresses every phase of the trade process, namely, "Produce", "Sell", and "Buy," in an effort to promote exports from developing countries. Under this initiative, Japan has already initiated domestic procedures to implement a duty-free and quota-free treatment for LDCs. However, improvement in market access alone is not enough. In order to fully reap the benefits of the multilateral trade system, it is necessary that the supply side capacity of developing countries also be enhanced. Hence, under this initiative, Japan provides technical assistance to improve the production capacity of LDCs from productivity and product quality to packaging. The initiative also provides financial assistance to improve basic economic infrastructure such as roads and ports. Japan intends to implement this initiative regardless of the progress of the WTO round negotiation.
Given current trends, many LDCs are unlikely to achieve the goals and objectives set out in the BPoA. What the UN system and donors should bear in mind is the framework within which national and international efforts must be made. ODA to LDCs rose by about 75 percent between 2001 and 2004, and it is estimated that there will be a further increase if commitments of additional ODA that have been made since 2004 are fulfilled. The expenditures of the UN system on operational activities for development in LDCs were also 80 percent higher in 2005 than in 2000. Full advantage should be taken of this increase by coordinating the work of the UN with that of other development partners. And their activities should be supported by the self-help efforts of LDCs.
Let me turn to agenda item 56 (b), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). Japan welcomes the first summit meeting of LLDCs held this September in Cuba, in which it had the privilege to have participated as an observer. Japan believes that the declaration adopted in the meeting will prove to be a cornerstone for the further implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action.
One of the issues addressed in the declaration is the mid-term review of that implementation. Clearly, it is necessary to assess the progress made so far and identify the work that remains to be done. Japan therefore recognizes the importance of the review, and looks forward to discussing it further in the General Assembly.
Japan also recognizes the importance of infrastructure and capacity-building in the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action. It accordingly provides ODA grants and concessional loans to assist in the creation of infrastructure and the improvement of regional transportation networks, as well as technical assistance that has taken the form of seminars on a range of subjects.
Japan will continue to support LLDCs as they address the unique set of problems they face, and it will also make the utmost effort to ensure that the Almaty Programme of Action is fully implemented.
Thank you, Madam President.
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