28 AUGUST 2007

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by thanking the delegation of the Republic of the Congo for having taken the initiative in organizing this debate on the role of the Security Council in conflict prevention and resolution, in particular in Africa. The situations in Darfur and Somalia remain critical, and in many instances consolidating peace after a conflict has ended is a challenge. The debate today is therefore most timely. Today I would like to touch upon three issues, namely the role of the Security Council in conflict prevention and resolution, relations with the African Union, and the efforts of Japanese Government in this area.

Mr. President,

We need a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, one that not only addresses the problem from the political, economic, and social perspectives, but also takes into account elements such as the rule of law and humanitarian activities.

And given the wide range of actors involved, it is essential to coordinate what they do in order to ensure that the overall effort has coherence. The Security Council has been holding thematic debates focusing on the different elements that can trigger conflicts -- small arms, food security, climate change, energy and natural resources, for example. We welcome such discussions and think it is important to try to translate their outcomes into concrete action.

In order to arrive at more effective means of conflict prevention, the Security Council should further develop cooperative relations with relevant organizations within as well as outside the United Nations. To this end, the Security Council should enhance its relationship with the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), one of its subsidiary bodies, which plays an important role in the consolidation of peace and nation-building. And in no area is this more important than preventing a conflict from recurring in a country where it has finally been brought to an end. In particular, the Council could refer to the PBC the task of following up on problems relating to the consolidation of peace that were discussed in the thematic debate on that subject. More specifically, it might request the Commission to provide an action-oriented advisory opinion with regard to ways to promote coordination among organizations and activities in the area of conflict prevention.

Mr. President,

In the area of the prevention of armed conflict and mediation in Africa, the role of the AU and sub-regional organizations has been growing, and we commend them for their efforts. It is necessary for the international community to support such undertakings, which are demonstrations of regional ownership. As for the United Nations and the role it should play, it is important for the Mediation Support Unit established within the Department of Political Affairs to further enhance its partnership with relevant regional organizations including the AU, and for the UN mediator to play a role in tying together the efforts of the different actors in the area of mediation.

With regard to peacekeeping, the UN Secretariat is already at work developing concrete cooperative projects with the AU Commission pursuant to the framework for the latter's ten year capacity-building program. In the area of conflict prevention and mediation, it is also important to promote cooperation between the two organizations by looking carefully at what kind of added values the UN can provide.

About the peacekeeping operations carried out by regional organizations, I believe that true ownership is only possible when an organization is able to sustain its activities on its own. To this end, the international community should work to enhance the capacity of regional organizations. The G8 and other bodies have already made such efforts, but it is to be hoped that in the future we will see more sharing of information by regional organizations and more communication about experiences and lessons learned by countries contributing troops to UN operations.

When it comes to financial support for the peacekeeping operations conducted by regional organizations, in principle, every such organization should be responsible for its own costs. In those instances where the UN is examining the possibility of offering financial support, the Council should consider the advisability and modality of support on a case-by-case basis, by taking into account whether such support would be consistent with the principles that govern UN PKOs and also taking steps to obtain the views of major States that are not members of the Council, - in particular, major financial contributors, when the subject is financial support - so as to ensure transparency.

Mr. President,

Japan has always sought to understand the root causes of conflicts. In order to emancipate people from fear and poverty and to assist in creating a society where people can live their lives with dignity, it has been making financial contributions through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, the United Nations Democracy Fund and the Peacebuilding Fund. Japan has also been working to enhance awareness of the importance of peace consolidation through the TICAD process, and to this end offering bilateral and multilateral assistance in such areas as the collection of small arms, DDR and the response to landmines as well as reintegration through community development based on the principle of human security. In addition, it provides significant support to the AU and sub-regional organizations in Africa in the area of capacity-building and South-South cooperation. We intend to continue to extend such assistance.

Japan has been chair of the PBC since June of this year, and will become a State Party to the International Criminal Court this October. In these capacities and for all the reasons I have outlined, we are determined to address the issue of conflict prevention and resolution in a more active way. To that end, in April of next year Japan will host the G8 Development Ministers' meeting, in May the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) and in July the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. In these forums and elsewhere, we intend to continue to take up the challenges that Africa is facing as a matter of central importance to the entire international community.

Thank you.

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