Statement by H.E. Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan at the Mini-Summit on the Humanitarian Response to the Horn of Africa
September 24, 2011
First, I would like to welcome the holding of this meeting on the initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General and also express my respect for the efforts by the United Nations to address the drought in the Horn of Africa.
The suffering of the people and the food crisis in the Horn of Africa countries caused by the worst drought in the last 60 years, is certainly not "someone else's problem," but rather something that is deeply distressing the Japanese people, who were themselves struck by a major earthquake disaster on March 11. For the earthquake disaster, Japan received countless messages of sympathy, and a tremendous amount of support from African countries. In order to live up to the cordial solidarity expressed by African countries, Japan will act in cooperation with Africa on measures to address the profound drought-induced damage
Japan is actively undertaking support towards measures to combat the drought in the Horn of Africa, and this year we have already implemented nearly US$100 million of assistance. Furthermore, we will newly be carrying out approximately US$21 million in food assistance.
With drought in the Horn of Africa region arising, regrettably, on a chronic basis, Japan considers to be necessary not only short-term food aid but also the stabilization of security in Somalia and the strengthening of midterm to long-term efforts, such as climate change countermeasures and development assistance.
Japan places importance on efforts in developing countries, including those in Africa, that are vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change and, as its Fast-Start Financing for developing countries up to 2012, we have already implemented assistance (as of the end of July 2011) of more than US$1.2 billion for African nations. In addition, on the basis of agreement reached at the Third TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting held in Senegal in May this year, Japan will work with African partners to formulate a "Low-Carbon Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy in Africa". In particular, we intend to set forth a common vision together with African countries, positioning responses to vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate change as a major pillar.
In addition, amongst the valuable lessons Japan has learned, through the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster, many can be held in common with African countries. Thus, we will invite to Japan officials of African governments responsible for disaster risk management in October this year and convene a seminar on the theme of "Creating Resilient Economies and Societies." We intend to seek out possibilities for further cooperation with African countries, aiming at creating societies that are resilient to climate change and natural disasters.
Through the great earthquake and tsunami disaster, Japan has confirmed once more its strong solidarity with African countries. Japan intends to deepen its cooperation with African countries regarding the ongoing drought, sharing the pain and suffering of the African people inflicted by this crisis as the pain of the Japanese people.
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