Statement by Dr. Atsuko Heshiki
Alternate Representative of Japan
Item 28 (a) Advancement of Women
Item 28 (b) Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly
66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
10 October 2011
The year 2011 is a memorable year in that UN Women, established by a consensus of the international community to strengthen efforts for gender equality and women’s empowerment, officially started its work. As a member of the Executive Board, the Government of Japan will make rigorous contributions in order to deliver tangible results on the ground. The Government of Japan has made continuous efforts towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment based on the principles and documents agreed upon at the international level, including the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Today, I would like to introduce the efforts and ideas of the Government of Japan.
This year is also a special one for Japan. The Great East Japan Earthquake, which caused devastating damages in March this year, brought an opportunity to review disaster prevention, victim assistance, as well as recovery and women. The Government of Japan immediately took measures that took women’s views into account, as it was expected that their ideas and needs might not have been well incorporated in the management of our shelters. The earthquake also shed light on the central role women’s groups played in providing victim’s assistance and recovery, indicating the significant potential of women. The Government of Japan adopted the ‘Basic Policy for the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Reconstruction Efforts’ in July, which stipulates the promotion of women’s participation in all organizations and any other aspects of recovery. I am pleased to tell you that based on this policy, steady efforts have been made for recovery which maximize the capacity of women. I would like to share the Japanese experience with you all in the future.
In the international community, continuous efforts have been made to achieve the MDGs, including those that pertain to gender issues, by the end of 2015. The Government of Japan announced a new international health policy and new education policy at the MDGs UN Summit in 2010. In the health sector, the Government of Japan sees maternal and child health as one of the most important pillars and announced the contribution of 5 billion US dollars over 5 years, beginning in 2011. Together with partners, the Government of Japan aims to save the lives of 430,000 pregnant women through a maternal health support model called ‘EMBRACE’, which ensures a continuum of care from pregnancy to after childbirth. The Government of Japan will continue to contribute to the achievement of MDG5, whose progress has been slow, and will continue to make efforts to achieve MDG3, which is relevant to all MDGs.
The implementation of the Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security, of which the 10th anniversary of its adoption was commemorated last year, is one of the most pressing issues in the international community, and I hope the indicators set by the Secretary-General will be utilized globally and at the country-level in a timely manner. In order to have the voice of local women heard and to promote the advancement of local women into society, the Government of Japan dispatched a female self-defense official as a Military Liaison Officer to the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). The Government of Japan deeply appreciates the significance of strengthening women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution as well as peace-building. Also, the government recognizes the high importance of securing women’s participation in the establishment and amendment of the constitution and laws and political processes during the nation-building phase of countries in political and economic transition. These issues are paid due consideration when providing official development assistance. For instance, the Government of Japan, through JICA, has been supporting policy planning and implementation in Nepal to resolve the causes of conflict, namely the exclusion of certain ethnic and social groups and women. The assistance has been provided in response to the adoption of the transitional constitution and the Three Year National Development Plan in Nepal after the peace agreement in 2006. The assistance aims to promote gender equality and social inclusion both at the national and local level. The assistance supports the establishment of a mechanism by creating a committee which formulates, implements and monitors the training and development plan of the local development committee, the Women Development Office (MDO), and the municipal government.
The Government of Japan made a cabinet decision on the 3rd Basic Plan for Gender Equality in December 2010. The plan has a new priority area that includes ‘gender equality for men and children’ to reflect the recent change in the socio-economic trend. The Basic Plan sets a target for each priority area to make a tangible action plan towards achieving the goal of securing at least 30% of leadership positions for women. The Government of Japan explained its efforts, based on the Basic Plan, in a report submitted as a follow-up to the 2009 concluding observations to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in August this year. The Government of Japan has been strengthening its monitoring system for the implementation of the Basic Plan and is committed to further advancing efforts to achieve a gender equal society.
While the international community continues to strengthen efforts to solve issues surrounding women, the experience of the earthquake enhanced the Japanese appreciation of the significance of women’s participation. The Government of Japan has renewed its determination to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment together with the international community, international organizations and civil society.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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