Statement by Ambassador Takahiro Shinyo
Charges d'affaires ad interim and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan
On the Role of the Security Council in Supporting Security Sector Reform

Security Council
20 February 2007

Mr. President,

We thank you for convening today's open debate on this vitally important subject. My delegation highly commends the excellent preparatory work by the Government of Slovakia, in particular the holding of a series of roundtables and an Arria-formula meeting over the past six months, on which we build today's discussion, focusing on a number of specific issues that have proved to warrant close attention by the Security Council.

Security sector reform, particularly for countries emerging from conflict, provides one of the critical foundations of a State and is an essential element for the return and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as for rebuilding the life of the local population. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the eventual success of reconstruction and peacebuilding of a given country hinges on whether SSR can be implemented effectively, and therefore SSR should not be seen merely as one aspect of institution building.

It is for this reason that Japan has been giving significant attention to security sector reform. My government has been helping women and men in Afghanistan, Iraq, Timor-Leste and other countries in their SSR activities.

Mr. President,

We fully support your view that the objective of security sector reform is to ensure that security and justice are delivered to the State and its people, in an environment consistent with democratic norms and the principles of good governance and the rule of law, thereby promoting human security. This "human security" aspect is quite important in SSR. In addition to its political, technical and institutional aspects, we need to pay sufficient attention to its psychological aspect, as SSR is as much a question of winning the hearts and minds of the people. In other words, SSR can be achieved only if human security is ensured and people are able to go through their daily lives with confidence and a sense of reassurance. Security institutions therefore must be developed with the perspectives of individuals and communities in mind, in addition to those of the State.

Mr. President,

We fully endorse your view that a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated approach is needed for security sector reform. Insofar as it is an important pillar of the rule of law and the democratic governance of a State, SSR should be undertaken in a comprehensive fashion. Furthermore, a wide range of outside actors have roles to play. The efforts of bilateral donors, UN organs, regional organizations, international financial institutions and NGOs must also be adequately harmonized, while encouraging local ownership of the SSR process.

My delegation highly commends ongoing coordination efforts within the UN system in the framework of the interagency working group among the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UNDP and others. We hope that such efforts will continue to further advance coordination on SSR, while fully utilizing existing mechanisms. When we talk about coordination, there is often the risk of narrowing our discussion to focus on building a new coordination mechanism, but we should remember that that is not what the individual men and women on the ground are hoping for. My government recently utilized Afghanistan's existing coordination body, the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, to propose a joint effort between Japan and Germany towards reforming the Ministry of Interior.

Mr. President,

There is no doubt that the role of the Security Council is quite important with respect to security sector reform. For the eventual handover of security sector responsibilities from the international community to local government to be conducted smoothly, it is imperative, first and foremost, that the Security Council ensure that the intervention of the international community in a conflict, whenever the Council decides to authorize one, is made with legitimacy. It is also important for the Security Council to see to it that sufficient consideration is given to SSR aspects at an early stage, especially during the negotiations for a peace agreement.

The mandates of peacekeeping missions, in which SSR is an important element, will be significantly enriched if the Security Council conducts dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders in the course of its deliberations. It was from this perspective that my delegation stressed the importance of the Council's communication with non-Council actors during our term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2005 and 2006.

Mr. President,

In order to bridge the critical gap between the post-conflict situation and sustainable development, the smooth transfer of the principal local mandate from a PKO to an integrated UN mission and then to a UN country team is essential. In this connection, it will be useful to closely coordinate the exit strategy of a peacekeeping operation or an integrated mission, both of which come under the Security Council's purview, with the longer-term integrated peacebuilding strategy that the Peacebuilding Commission has just begun formulating. In this process, substantive progress in SSR provides a nexus between the peacekeeping phase and the peacebuilding phase. Effective collaboration between the Security Council and the PBC will therefore be important.

In conclusion, Mr. President,

We need to build on today's discussion and continue our efforts to make a difference on the ground. In our follow-up efforts, we must ensure a coherent approach within the UN system, so as to make the most of available financial resources. We must also continue to respect and promote post-conflict countries' sense of ownership. From these viewpoints, Japan fully supports the Presidential Statement that refers to a report of the Secretary-General on this important subject.

Thank you.

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