Remarks by H.E. Mr. Chiaki Takahashi,
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Third TICAD IV Ministerial Follow-up Meeting
in Session 4:
"Cooperation with Africa in efforts to address global challenges"
2 May 2011, Dakar, Senegal
Honorable ministers, distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the numerous expressions of sympathy and support so warmly extended from African countries for the unprecedented disaster in Japan. The dedicated contribution of the South African rescue team left a strong impression on many Japanese people. I myself visited the affected prefecture, and was touched when I saw assistance from the international community encouraging the affected people.
Japan is an industrial and trading nation. Its reconstruction is possible only within a peaceful and stable environment of the world. As Minister Matsumoto stated yesterday, in order to live up to the encouragement and solidarity shown by the international community, Japan is determined to maintain its intention to take an active role for the peace and stability of the international community. We hereby express once again our unwavering determination to continue to faithfully implement the international commitment that Japan has already made including the pledges made at TICAD IV.
Today, I would like to address three points; the consolidation of peace and good governance, reform of the United Nations Security Council and climate change.
2. TICAD's Assistance for the Consolidation of Peace and Good Governance
First, I would like to address the consolidation of peace and good governance under TICAD initiative.
In Africa, most of conflicts of the 1990's have been concluded to date. However, there still remain countries and regions in which the situation is unstable or facing governance problems even after the conclusion of the conflicts.
To address each of such stages, Japan has a line-up of assistance, from the TICAD perspective of "human security".
Under armed conflict, we provide aid in security sector. In the post-conflict phase we move to emergency humanitarian relief, such as the one for return of the displaced, followed by assistance for elections, re-integration of ex-combatants together with vocational training. Thereafter, we seamlessly shift to full-scale reconstruction assistance in such fields as infrastructure and agriculture. In addition to this, Japan has been contributing to the improvement of African peacekeeping capabilities through the PKO training centers.
At the root of the changes taking place in North Africa lies fundamental vulnerability of societies that directly affects people's lives, such as the skewed distribution of wealth and the sharp rise in food and energy prices.
"Human security" is a concept which focuses on individuals, and seeks to create a resilient society by not only protecting people from threats but also empowering them to be able to deal with threats on their own.
The people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake are striving to overcome this unprecedented national crisis. Composure, discipline, unity and resilience they showed, and commended world-wide, are, I believe, the very embodiment of "human security." Having experienced this severest disaster, I renewed my determination to continue our support to Africa conducive to building such resilient society. This concept should also be the basis for the disaster risk management seminar for Africa announced by Minister Matsumoto yesterday.
3. Reform of the United Nations Security Council
As the next item, I would like to address reform of the United Nations Security Council.
The peace and security of Africa is an agenda not only for Africa, but for the whole international community. This is why the United Nations Security Council regularly discusses and makes decisions on Africa. Problem is, however, that Africa is not represented in the Council in the form of permanent membership.
This is due to the fact that the basic structure of the Security Council has not changed since its foundation after World War II. As a result, the independence of many African states in the 1960's and onwards has not been reflected in the structure of the Council.
Japan believes that this situation must not be left unchanged any longer. As you are well aware, Japan has long been leading the discussions on Security Council reform. And now, in the United Nations, there is a new momentum for opening the door to Security Council reform. Now is the time to act. We must not let this opportunity go.
Japan is determined to advance the effort, together with African states, to make a Security Council more representative of today's world. Let us work together for the reform.
4. Climate Change
Ladies and gentlemen,
Lastly but not least, I would like to address the climate change issue.
Efforts to address climate change are closely related to how to tackle natural disasters. Africa is facing serious adverse effects such as frequent and increasingly severe droughts and floods, an expansion of infectious diseases, and persistent instability in agricultural production.
Tackling climate change is a global interest. Japan has consistently asserted the early adoption of a new and comprehensive legal document which will establish a fair and effective international framework with the participation of all major economies. Developed countries need to take the lead, but emerging economies in particular, together with other developing countries, are also expected to play an active role on this issue.
This year, it is necessary to operationalize a wide range of elements of the Cancun Agreements in the lead-up to COP17, with a sense of urgency. To this end, Japan will work in close cooperation with South Africa, the presidency of the Conference, and other African countries.
In order for developing countries to implement measures to tackle climate change, large-scale funding is necessary. At COP15, Japan announced its Fast-Start Financing for developing countries up to 2012, and over 1.2 billion US dollars has already been provided to African nations. Japan will strengthen policy dialogues on climate change with Africa and continue to assist the region in response to their needs beyond 2012, utilizing both public and private channels.
Capacity building is also important in African countries. In the course of this year, Japan will provide support for the organization of an Adaptation Fund workshop targeting for Africa and will host a seminar on MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) in Japan.
In light of what I have just stated, I have a proposal I would like to present here.
The Great East Japan Earthquake has led Japan to reaffirm the importance of tackling of natural disasters. We believe that addressing climate change is one of the most crucial issues for the international community. From this perspective, I propose to formulate a "Low-Carbon Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy in Africa" together with the African countries. This strategy will provide a medium and long term vision to address diverse mitigation and adaptation needs of African countries in different development stages.
Japan's energy-efficient and environment-related technologies can contribute to tackling climate change and to sustainable growth. Partnerships with international organizations and private sectors are also critical. In order to develop a strategy involving these elements, Japan intends to hold stakeholders meetings together with African countries in 2011, to issue an interim report at the TICAD Ministerial Meeting in 2012, and to prepare a final report by an appropriate timing during 2012. Your support will be greatly appreciated on our proposal.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
Back to Index