Address by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Japan
On the Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization

At the 63rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
6 October 2008

Mr. President,

First of all, I wish to express my deep appreciation to the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his dedication to lead the wide-ranging activities of the Organization. Japan support wholeheartedly his determination to make a more efficient and dynamic Secretariat.

The most pressing challenge before the United Nations is above all to save the bottom billion people from their poverty and destitute and enable them to pursue a safe and dignified life. All means available to the United Nations should be mobilized to achieve MDGs. The High-Level mid-term review on 25 September provided an ideal opportunity for world leaders to recommit to act together for the achievement of the MDGs back on track. We welcome the positive outcome of the review.

Japan took to place the MDGs at the top of the agenda at the two important summits it hosted earlier this year. The G8 Summit in Hokkaido focused on the actions for health, water and sanitation, and education. The TICAD IV emphasized the need to accelerate broad-based economic growth with a view to achieving a vibrant Africa and came up with concrete action plan for the next 5 years. Japan is determined to follow through the effective implementation of those commitments.

The steep rise in global food and commodities prices adversely affects the efforts of achieving MDGs. The food security is a multifaceted and structural challenge that requires a fully coordinated response from the international community. We welcome the strong personal initiative of the Secretary-General Ban to mobilize the entire UN system to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for short and medium term food security. The Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA) will serve as a good basis for implementation plans for countries in need. For too long agriculture and food production has not been given priority in development policies of many countries as they deserve. We should turn this crisis into an opportunity for the international community to recognize more strongly about the importance in investing agriculture and food production aiming to increasing food self-sufficiency.

Pursuit for reduction of poverty alone will not lead us to achieve the MDGs because large segments of the bottom billion poor are trapped in conflict or struggling for the survival in fragile post-conflict situation. In recent record, about a half of the post-conflict countries experienced relapsing of conflict in ten years. The end of conflict should be accompanied by immediate actions to strengthen social and economic stability. The vicious cycle of armed conflict and poverty is a major challenge for the current world. In order to terminate this cycle, tackling both poverty and conflict together in an integrated manner is essential. The Peacebuilding Commission is the key organ to fill some of these gaps. The PBC deserves full support of Member States.

Conflict resolution, peace-keeping and peace-building are core activities of the United Nations. With its universal and impartial characteristics, there is no more effective and more legitimate Organization than the United Nations to take lead on these vital activities. Japan will spare no effort to strengthen peace operations in support of the Secretary-General.

When we think about peace, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation should gather no less attention. As the only country that has suffered nuclear devastation, we are determined to stop proliferation and work together for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Japan will submit another draft resolution at this session of the General Assembly to lay out concrete measures towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Mr. President,

Climate Change is another major challenge to humankind in our generation and after. Its impacts affect our day-to-day livelihood and economy, and directly relates to sustainable development. The G8 leaders this summer agreed on a global long-term target of reducing emissions and to seek to create an effective global framework under the United Nations in which all major economies participate in a responsible way. We must mobilize our wisdom towards an effective post-2013 international climate regime, and Japan is determined to play a leading role in such efforts. We welcomes to support, through the Cool Earth 50 initiative, the effort of developing countries to mitigate and adapt, fully utilizing its environmental technology and its financial resources.

This year the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is celebrated all over the world, including Japan. Human rights are the birthright of the people of every nation, and no government may shirk its responsibility to protect and promote them. We support the efforts of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to strengthen its role to provide and assistance to countries in need.

The protection and promotion of human rights should be vigorously pursued with the nexus of peace, human rights and development in mind. Human security advocates the human centered and integrated approach which is essential in tackling freedom from fear and also freedom from want, putting the livelihood and dignity of individuals and communities at the center of our focus. We are pleased with the broad support to such approach among member states as manifested in the fourth round of Friends of Human Security and the thematic debate of the General Assembly in last May. Japan will work together with other interested countries to see that the human security perspective is better reflected in the broad areas of activities of the UN which I mentioned, such as MDGs, food security, peacebuilding, climate change, and protection of human rights.

We need to enhance the capacity of the UN to work more coherently and effectively for individuals in need on the ground. The ongoing efforts of the UN reform must be accelerated to restructure it to meet the reality and requirement of the contemporary world.

First, the system-wide coherence of UN normative and operational activities should be pursued with the bottom up perspective, always focusing on the protection and empowerment of the individual and community.

For instance, Japan believes that coordination and partnerships within the UN system for achieving gender equality and empowering women are critical. With a view to filling the gaps that have been revealed in the support on the ground, we should continue to discuss how best the UN might carry out its operations in a more coherent and effective manner.

Secondly, Japan attaches great importance to transparent, effective and efficient management of the UN, and fully supports the Secretary-General's management reform efforts. No doubt, human resources are the UN's most precious resources. Contractual arrangements and condition of service have to be considered in conjunction with key policy issues such as mobility and rotation, geographical distribution, career development, performance evaluation, and accountability. These measures should help hold the Secretariat accountable and responsible to Member States.

Sound and prudent financial management is essential to ensure strong continued commitment of Member States to the UN activities. Japan to that end stands ready to contribute to formulating a consensus on the UN budget.

Lastly, the UN reform is not complete without a meaningful Security Council reform. Japan welcomes the unanimous decision of the General Assembly on the last day of its 62nd session to commence intergovernmental negotiations in informal plenary of the General Assembly not later than the end of next February. Japan continues to believe the Security Council needs to be reformed by expanding both the permanent and non-permanent memberships in order to reflect the reality of the 21st century. We will act constructively and participate in forthcoming intergovernmental negotiations for earliest possible reform.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude my remarks by renewing Japan's firm commitment to making a more effective and better functioning United Nations.

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