Statement by Mr. Mikio Mori
Minister-Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda Item 64 (a) and (b): New Partnership for Africa's Development
Agenda Item 47: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa
18 October 2007
Allow me to join the previous speakers in thanking the Secretary-General for the comprehensive report on the progress of the implementation of NEPAD. Japan also commends the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, the Economic Commission for Africa and other organs of the UN group for their tireless efforts for African development.
We are approaching the midpoint to 2015, the target year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Many African countries are making strides towards the goals, but they still face many daunting challenges. Japan believes that the international community must stand behind African countries and support their efforts to take charge of their development.
Japan is dedicated to helping African countries achieve the MDGs. Next year, Japan will co-organise the fourth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD IV) with the United Nations, the UNDP and the World Bank in May, and host the Hokkaido-Toyako G-8 Summit in July. We are determined to utilize the momentum generated by these two events to mobilize international support for African development and African countries' efforts to achieve the MDGs.
As an initiative created, led, implemented and monitored by African countries, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) deserves special recognition for its contributions to effective and sustainable development in Africa. Japan has cooperated with and supported NEPAD since its beginning in 2001. Through regular consultations between Japan and the NEPAD Secretariat, led by Chief Executive Professor Firmino Mucavele, several areas have been designated as priority areas for cooperation for the foreseeable future. These include infrastructure, agriculture, trade and investment and private sector development, and human resources development. Recently, Japan and the NEPAD secretariat have agreed to add the environment as the fifth priority sector of Japan's support to NEPAD in response to the concerns about climate change expressed by African countries at the TICAD Ministerial Conference on Energy and Environment for Sustainable Development held in Nairobi, Kenya, last March, and the second meeting of the NEPAD-Japan Dialogue held in South Africa last August.
Japan's support for NEPAD takes various forms, as indicated in paragraph 57 of the Secretary-General's report. Bilateral and sub-regional projects in the above priority areas are being developed, including seven infrastructure projects that Japan has selected for funding from NEPAD's Short Term Action Plan (STAP). Meanwhile, Japan is moving steadily towards its goal of doubling its ODA to Africa by the end of this year while mobilizing the knowledge and resources of the international community to assist Africa in the areas of "boosting economic growth," "ensuring human security," and "addressing environmental issues and climate change." Japan believes that TICAD IV will further the aims of NEPAD and contribute to making Africa "A Vibrant Continent of Hope and Opportunity." On peace consolidation, Japan, as chairman of PBC, will contribute to various peacebuilding activities in Africa.
Japan agrees with the Secretary-General's report on NEPAD that free trade and debt relief are crucial for the sustainable development of Africa. The objective of poverty reduction through economic growth has long been one of the pillars of Japan's development cooperation with Africa, along with the consolidation of peace and human-centered development. As its contribution to "Aid for Trade," Japan has been implementing steadily the "Development Initiative" launched in 2005 to help developing countries reap the benefits of free trade by building their capacity to export goods.
Regarding debt relief, the Government of Japan has implemented the Cologne Debt Initiative and has thus far contributed about 3.4 billion USD to the 18 countries in Africa eligible for the HIPC initiative.
Turning now to agenda item 47, I would like to convey to the Secretary-General my delegation's sincere appreciation for his report A/62/321 on the progress brought about by the international response to malaria.
It has been almost a decade since the Roll Back Malaria Partnership was established by the WHO, the World Bank, UNICEF and UNDP. Yet malaria continues to threaten 107 countries and territories and at least 40 percent of the world's population. More than 500 million people still suffer from acute malaria, and one million lose their lives to it every year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Secretary-General's report stresses the importance of both early diagnosis and effective treatment, especially the parasitological-based confirmation and standardized artemisin-based combination therapies, or ACTs, which the WHO recommends.
According to the report, 75 countries have implemented a monitoring system using a national sentinel site network and more than 60 of the 82 countries where falciparum malaria is endemic have shifted their antimalarial drug policies away from the use of monotherapy to ACTs. Japan is encouraged that there has been a change for the better in so many places around the world as a result of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
The Secretary-General's report also points out the importance of prevention and of the recent shift in the WHO's guidance towards the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
For its part, Japan has committed to distribute ten million long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Africa. As of August this year, 9.5 million nets had been distributed--enough to prevent the death of 150,000 African children, according to one estimate by UNICEF. Japan has also contributed 660 million USD to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has allocated 24 percent of its funding to combatting malaria. At the international level, the Global Fund accounts for 64 percent of international funding commitments for malaria.
Health is one of the most important elements of human security. In June 2005, Japan launched its "Health and Development Initiative," which promotes Japan's comprehensive aid approach as a means to achieve the three health-related MDGs, namely goals 4, 5 and 6. As a part of this initiative, Japan will help developing countries control the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria.
I assure you that Japan, through these and other efforts, will continue to improve the quality of the global response to malaria by working as a responsible partner alongside developing countries.
In closing, I would like to reaffirm Japan's commitment to supporting African countries in a manner which fully respects their ownership and leadership. Japan will continue to support NEPAD as a means of achieving a better future for Africa.
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