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Statement by H. E. Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi
Special Envoy of the Government of Japan
Side-Event on Water and Sanitation
"Water and Sanitation for All"
September 24, 2008, New York

Mr. Chairperson,
Distinguished Representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to have this opportunity to speak at this epoch-making side-event focusing solely on water and sanitation issues. However, this is not the only occasion when the significance of these issues has been highlighted. Rather, it is another occasion in a series of meetings, including the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) held at Yokohama in May this year, the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit held in July, tomorrow’s High-level Event on the MDGs, and the 5th World Water Forum to be held in Istanbul in March next year.

(Significance of MDG 7)

Mr. Chairperson,

Every one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) we pledged to achieve by the target date of 2015 is of critical importance. Each is also essential to human security, itself a goal that must be pursued by the international community in this twenty-first century. It is therefore a cause for dismay that in our efforts on a number of fronts, we remain behind schedule. Of the MDGs, however, the single most strategically important is MDG7, which among other things sets target for progress in the water and sanitation issues that are cross-sectoral in nature.

(Outcome of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit and TICAD IV)

It is for this reason that Japan put emphasis on water and sanitation issues at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, and prior to that at TICAD IV. In the Leaders’ Declaration issued in Toyako, the G8 reaffirmed that good water cycle management was crucial in order to address those issues and announced it would establish a G8 Water Experts Group to accelerate efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals on water and sanitation.

At TICAD IV, Japan announced that it was establishing a Water Security Action Team (W-SAT) to be dispatched to Africa, which we already started. It also pledged to provide safe drinking water for 6.5 million people and implement a water supply capacity-building program that would train 5,000 people over the next five years.

(Water Cycle Management, A Japanese Tradition, and Current Efforts)

Mr. Chairperson,

In order to vigorously address water and sanitation issues, Japan is promoting water cycle management. It is doing this based on the recognition that while water is a scarce resource that cannot be alternated by any other materials, it is possible to achieve sustainable use. Japan therefore seeks to make repeated use of water, through comprehensive management of various water cycles.

Even before modern water supply and sewerage systems had been developed, Japan had already established a water cycle system that utilized waste-water by purifying or treating it. High-technology practices such as membrane treatment, in which a thin layer of film is put to use in water filtration, and achievement of a leakage rate that, incredibly, has been reduced to as low as 3.6 percent in Tokyo, are the product of the experience and expertise our ancestors developed managing our scarce water resources.

We hope that we will be able to share with the world this knowledge, know-how, and technology through the realization of the water-cycle management approach I have just described. Certainly, the value of the concepts of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and Good Water Governance are easily demonstrated by taking water cycle management approach.

As a result of the increasing awareness of the importance of sanitation issues, we have found it necessary to deal with water and sanitation in an integrated manner. This notion, too, is part of the water cycle management approach, and Japan is committed to achieving continuing improvements in sanitation, particularly in this International Year of Sanitation but also in the years to come.


Mr. Chairperson,

By addressing water and sanitation issues successfully, we should lay the groundwork for realizing human security, and that will lead to global prosperity. It is for this reason that since the 1990s Japan has been the largest donor of support for developing countries in the water and sanitation sectors, and we shall remain true to that commitment. In fact, we are determined to do more, putting our energy into even greater efforts to address these issues through promoting water cycle management, working together with all our partners here today at this most important event.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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