25 JUNE 2007

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by thanking Mr. Karel De Gucht, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, and the Belgian delegation for having taken the initiative in organizing this timely debate on natural resources and conflict, and express our appreciation as well. Let me also express our appreciation for the diligent and expert preparations undertaken in advance of this meeting through the holding of seminars and elaboration of a concept paper.

We are aware that this is the first time the Security Council has held a thematic debate on this topic. We recognize that the proper management of natural resources is a very significant issue relating to the various phases of conflict, including conflict prevention, conflict management, post-conflict peacebuilding and, recovery and reconstruction. With that in mind, we appreciate that the concept paper has been organized in such a way as to present the necessary viewpoints to the problem incorporating the direct and indirect influence of natural resources on conflicts.

Mr. President,

With regard to the appropriate approach for addressing this issue, I would like to point out the following three elements:

First, several initiatives are already under way in this area in the international community in order to address various issues, in particular efforts at improvement of governance from different perspectives. And many stakeholders, including international organizations, governments, businesses and civil society, are involved in those initiatives. In order for such efforts to be more effective, it is essential for each of those sectors to take a serious approach to this problem, and study it in a systematic way.

Second, we must promote better use of existing initiatives. To that end, it is necessary to encourage the participation of a greater number of countries, including emerging economies, in such initiatives as EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) and the Kimberley Process. In this regard, we should also give due attention to the efforts of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), which has been implementing measures to halt illegal logging and providing support for better governance in tropical forest regions. Liberia last month expressed its intention to be reintegrated into ITTO, and we look forward to expanded participation in ITTO by other nations. Particularly as regards the issue of governance in post-conflict countries, we believe that it is important to make the best use of existing international organizations, which have the requisite knowledge and experience in this area.

Third, given the fact that conflicts in Africa in many cases have a regional dimension, it is important as well to emphasize regional undertakings. From this point of view, if regional countries in the Great Lakes region were to demonstrate an enhanced commitment to the ongoing regional process, it might become a touchstone for the solution of this problem.

Mr. President,

Now I would like to discuss ways in which the Security Council might conduct its own actions.

First, as mentioned earlier, in considering a variety of initiatives, the Security Council should consider which items are worthy of discussion, taking into account the purpose for which each initiative has been launched or established.

Second, as indicated in the concept paper, while the Security Council has various options available, such as commodity sanctions, establishment of groups of experts and creation of PKOs, it is critical for the Security Council to give careful consideration to when and how the Council can suitably transform the sanction-driven approach to a development-based approach. In such case, the level of commitment of the government concerned becomes the crucial basis for the decision. In this regard, the case of Liberia provides an instructive example. In Liberia, forestry reform and participation in the Kimberly Process have been promoted through the Security Council's presentation of clear conditions for the lifting of sanctions.

Third, although sanction measures may be effective tools to restore international peace and stability, it is necessary to consider what kind of sanction measures will be effective by taking into account the specific situation at hand.

Fourth, the reinforcement of relations between the Security Council and other relevant organizations is required. This is especially true with regard to the Peacebuilding Commission. The various undertakings of the Security Council should be reflected seamlessly into the Commission's activities, including in the elaboration of an integrated peacebuilding strategy.

For the Security Council, it is essential to follow up the outcome of today's debate. In this connection, we would appreciate if the Council would consider ways to enhance the effectiveness and coherence of its actions.

Mr. President,

Japan participates actively in the international framework, having taken part in the Kimberley Process from its inception and serving as host to ITTO. Additionally, in the bilateral context, Japan has been providing significant support to African countries in the area of capacity-building through its programs for technical training in Japan. This issue also has been taken up in the G8 process, and as chair of G8 for 2008 and co-organizer of TICAD IV, which is also scheduled for next year, Japan intends to continue its active engagement in this problem.

Thank you.

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