CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Statement by Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Thematic debate of the General Assembly
"Recognizing the achievements, addressing the challenges, and getting back on track to achieve the MDGs by 2015"
2 April 2008
Achievement of the MDGs
At the midpoint of the Millennium Development Goals, it is important to take stock of the progress made and identify the priority areas for the years ahead. Extreme poverty is declining in East and South Asia. Notable progress has been made in areas such as primary education enrollment and access to HIV/AIDS treatment. However, there remains some distance from other goals, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The "bottom billion," who still live on less than one dollar a day, must be helped to escape the cycle of poverty and conflict through the empowerment of the individual and the consolidation of peace.
In our effort to achieve the MDGs, we need to embrace the concept of human security by protecting and empowering every individual and to build safe and healthy communities. Progress must be measured by the extent to which individuals are able to realize their full potential. In the areas of health, water, and education, Japan is promoting
- first, a comprehensive approach;
- second, a multi-sectoral approach; and
- third, a participatory approach
This May, Japan, together with the UN, UNDP, and World Bank, will host TICAD IV, with over forty African leaders expected to participate. In July, we will host the G8 Hokkaido-Toyako Summit. Through these initiatives, Japan will take up development issues, in particular health, water, and education, from the standpoint of human security. The outcomes of the two conferences will provide important inputs to the UN high-level meeting on MDGs in September.
Global health cooperation
Significant efforts and advances have been made to achieve the health-related MDGs. But under-5 and maternal mortality rates still remain unacceptably high, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The prevalence of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria continues to remain a serious threat.
Japan will promote a comprehensive approach in global health based on its own historical experience. Strengthening health systems and retaining trained personnel is the key to effectively addressing health challenges as a whole. Efforts for infectious diseases control should go hand in hand with maternal, newborn and child health programmes, and reproductive health. These efforts cannot be shouldered by the public sector alone. Japan is working to formulate a framework for action with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.
Water is the basis of all life and an indispensable resource for human activity. It is also related to conflict, poverty, health, and gender. As a nation that has made strides in water management and flood control over the last few centuries, Japan has played a leading role in international efforts to expand access to clean water and sanitation.
The year 2008 has been designated as the International Year of Sanitation by the General Assembly. Japan calls on the international community to take comprehensive action on water and sanitation and to promote conservation and recycling of water by sharing its technology and know-how. For effective water management, cooperation between central and local governments and public-private partnerships is indispensable.
Education provides the basis for a society to develop its human resources and for individuals to realize their full potential. In Japan, a high literacy rate was the driving force behind the economic and social development we have achieved since mid-nineteenth century.
In order to achieve Education for All (EFA), Japan will continue to make efforts to expand high-quality basic education. It will also make technical and vocational education, and secondary and higher education available to people with high aspirations. A multi-sectoral approach is important to maximize the overarching impact of investment in education on every aspect of social and national development.
Japan is committed to achieving the MDGs. We must mobilize every possible resource in order to attain the goals, particularly in the areas of health, water, and education.
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