The 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
Parallel event
"Resourcing Home-Based Caregivers in Africa:
Highlighting African Women's Role in Community Development"
Organized by
Permanent Mission of Japan, Huairou Commission and UNDP

Opening Speech by Ms. Chinami Nishimura
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
March 5th 2010, Delegates Dining Room

Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of UNDP,
Ms. Jan Peterson, Chair of Huairou Commission,
Representatives of NGOs,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is my great pleasure and honor to make a brief remark on behalf of the Government of Japan at the opening of this panel discussion. I wish to express my appreciation to Huairou Commission and UNDP for their dedicated work in preparing this event.

I would also like to thank all of you for joining us in this event. I am so delighted and encouraged to see so many women in the leadership positions of international agencies, civil society organizations and governments. Japanese women also, for example, Ms. Yoko Hayashi, member of CEDAW and the members of Japanese NGOs who joined us tonight are increasingly active in contributing to international effort to promote gender equality.

(Gender related agenda in 2010)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2010 is an important milestone in our effort to promote gender equality. Starting with this Beijing +15 session of CSW, in June, ECOSOC will focus on "gender equality and the empowerment of women" and in September, High-Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly will be held to discuss the progress made with regard to the Millennium Development Goals including MDG 3.

In addition, Member States are under active consultations to reach agreement on the new gender composite entity. My Government intends to participate constructively in the negotiations with a view to creating an effective, efficient and streamlined entity, capable of mainstreaming gender consideration in all UN activities.

(Human security)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prime Minister Mr. Yukio Hatoyama stated last year in the General Assembly that Japan intended to redouble its efforts towards the achievement of the MDGs and the promotion of human security. Indeed, human security is at the heart of Japan's foreign policy. Human security focuses on the protection and empowerment of individual and community, so that people's lives, livelihoods and dignity are protected and that each person can fully realize their rich potential.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women have always been at the center of Japan's human security agenda. That is why Japan and UNDP jointly established in 1995 the Japan Women in Development Fund to follow-up on the Beijing Platform for Action. Since then, 84 projects amounting to approximately USD 20 million have been supported by Japan through the fund. Please take a look at the pamphlet which describes the significant achievements of the trust fund.

(Role of home-based caregivers in Africa)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Government of Japan highly appreciates the initiative taken by Huairou Commission members to highlight the contribution of home-based caregivers, especially women, in support of HIV affected families in African communities. The report tells us with great eloquence the following two facts;

  1. these silent caregivers play significant role in protecting and empowering the most vulnerable members in the community,
  2. these caregivers themselves need to be empowered to continue toplay this important role as the basis of the local health system.

In this regard, the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) held in 2008 identified "health system strengthening" as an urgent priority in addressing the health related MDGs. In TICAD IV, my Government committed to train one hundred thousand health workers in Africa over the next five years.

I sincerely hope that the findings of this research will contribute to raising awareness of both local and central authorities in Africa as well as the donor community to the voices of these home-based caregivers and the adverse conditions they find themselves in. With this recognition as the starting point, it is strongly expected that concrete actions will be taken to strengthen health systems on the ground.

I look forward to learning from the panelists the day-to-day needs of the home-based caregivers and concrete ideas on how we can empower them and incorporate their voices to our joint effort for development.

Thank you very much.

Related Information (Women's Issues)
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations Official Web Site other site

Back to Index