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Statement by Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development

23 October 2007

Mr. President,

Thank you for convening the high-level dialogue on this important issue. Our thanks also go to Ambassadors Abdelaziz and Løvald for their continued efforts as facilitators.

It is important to take stock of progress that has been made in the implementation of MDGs. The 2007 report on the MDGs shows that considerable advances are being made towards several targets. Extreme poverty is declining in East and South Asia. According to UNICEF, the number of deaths of young children has fallen below ten million for the first time since record keeping began. At the same time, however, sub-Saharan Africa is still lagging behind in all areas. At the current rate of progress, it would be difficult for sub-Saharan countries to achieve any of the goals by 2015. Without solving the challenges facing Africa, the world cannot enjoy stability and prosperity in the twenty-first century. The crucial importance of African development to the world demands a greater level of engagement of the international community.

Japan will continue to make African development a highest priority. We will host the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in Yokohama next May, together with the UN, the UNDP and the World Bank. The conference will highlight three priority areas under the theme of "Towards a vibrant Africa": "boosting economic growth," "ensuring human security" and "addressing environmental issues and climate change." Japan hopes that TICAD IV will further mobilize the knowledge, experience, and resources of the international community for African development, and thus contribute to African countries' efforts to fully achieve MDGs.

Many commitments on development funding have been made since the 2002 Monterrey Conference. But promises, no matter how eloquently they are expressed, contribute little to real development. What is most important now is to put commitments into action. Japan, despite severe financial constraints, is striving to meet its commitment to increase its ODA volume by $10 billion in aggregate between 2005 and 2009, and to double its ODA to Africa by the end of 2007 compared with the level in 2003.

(Japan's Assistance Policy)

In order to achieve the MDGs, the amount of resources and funding for development from public and private sectors is important. But it is equally important that those resources are utilized effectively. Resources for development should be used to meet the urgent human security needs of individuals. Instead of merely serving to fill short-term financial gaps, resources should also be used to build the human and institutional capacity necessary for developing countries to exercise ownership of their sustainable development. I cannot overstate the importance of individual and institutional capacity building for enabling developing countries to maximize the use of available domestic and external resources.

In fact, the most remarkable development has been seen in countries that have created self-reliant, sustainable economies by attracting trade and investment through capacity building and human resources development. Capacity development is one of the core pillars of Japan's assistance policy. We believe from our own historical experience that "nation building is after all people building." Japan attaches high importance to transferring the knowledge and skills necessary for national development through vocational training programs and other technical cooperation, and student exchange programs.

The Monterrey Consensus calls for promotion of international trade as an engine for development. To this end, Japan has provided Aid for Trade. In 2005 we launched the "Development Initiative for Trade," a comprehensive assistance program aimed at building developing countries' capacity for trade. As part of this program, Japan has expanded Duty-Free and Quota-Free market access for LDCs' products and promoted the "One Village, One Product" campaign, which has boosted exports in several countries, including Ghana, Thailand and Malawi.

Foreign direct investment is another essential engine for development that brings capital and technology and creates employment. Developing countries need to create an environment that attracts and facilitates investment and private capital. To support them, Japan is taking a multi-layered approach that includes capacity and infrastructure development, as well as bilateral investment treaties and economic partnership agreements.

Synergies between private capital and ODA are also important, and private enterprises should be encouraged to engage in activities that contribute to the sustainable economic growth of developing countries. In this respect, Japan is encouraged by the rapid increase in partnerships within the framework of the U.N. Global Compact.

As the Secretary General's report on South-South cooperation points out, the dramatic rise in trade and investment among Southern countries has major implications for development financing. Japan has long advocated and implemented South-South cooperation projects because we believe that this type of partnership enhances ownership of both emerging donors and recipients. Japan will continue to promote South-South cooperation through triangular cooperation programs.

Mr. President,

As we approach the midpoint to the 2015 target, both developed and developing countries should redouble their efforts to achieve the MDGs. Next year, Member States have a number of opportunities to review their commitments and jointly consider strategies for the road ahead. Japan will use the valuable opportunity provided by its presidency of the G-8 next year to ensure that the outcomes of TICAD IV are duly reflected in the agenda of next July's Hokkaido-Toyako Summit. We will continue to work constructively with our development partners, including African countries, to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs and other international development goals.

Thank you very much.

Related Information (United Nations)
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