Statement by Pr. Yamanaka
Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
On the occasion of the "Conference at the Ministerial Level of International Donors"
July 25, 2006
Mister President of the National Assembly,
Members of the Parliament,
Ministers of the Government,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the Government and People of the Republic of Haiti on Mr. Préval's assumption of the presidency and the inauguration of Mr. Alexis' new cabinet, as these events mark the starting point of Haiti's democratization and reconstruction process.
It was truly a great honour for me to have attended the inauguration ceremony of President Préval in May as Special Envoy of Prime Minister of Japan and to witness this historical moment for the Republic and the People of Haiti. Today I have come back to this country to convey to you all that our commitment to Haiti is consistent and that our support for Haiti is more profound and assured than ever.
I must regrettably admit that the view from the window of an airplane as it approaches this tropical island nation is far from one being blessed with beautiful green scenery. A rich natural environment is the cradle of an affluent society. I am sure that everyone here today, joins me in the hope that one day the land will be covered with plenty of greenery, as the Haitian people plant more trees with the support of the international community, thus adding a charm and richness together with its transparent blue sea.
With Haiti's reincarnation process set in motion we can sense that expectations and hopes for a bright future are growing among the people of Haiti. We all know that nation-building can not be completed overnight. Needless to say, we all know that Haiti's path will be extremely tough and long. We hope that the Government and People of Haiti will demonstrate their strong determination and sense of ownership in writing their own history.
The international donor community including Japan has been deeply involved in supporting Haiti since the Washington Conference of July 2004. This comes from the recognition, that the stability and development of this nation is indispensable for the stability and prosperity of the North American region, as well as the Caribbean and South American regions. The international community will continue to conduct its partnership in seriously and actively co-operating with the sense of ownership of the Haitian people.
Japan and Haiti have traditionally enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations for many years. Moreover, we highly appreciate the fact that both of our nations have always maintained excellent relations in various international contexts.
Japan, as a responsible member of the international community has continuously been involved in and diligently taken part in assisting Haiti with common concerns regarding the situation in Haiti. Especially since the political crisis of February 2004, we have dispersed support in the form of over 16 million dollars in a sincere and prompt manner. We are committed to demonstrating our intensified interest and engagement in extending a helping hand to Haiti for years to come.
Japan places the concept of "Human Security" as one of the key perspectives of its ODA principles. This concept focuses on the viewpoint of individuals to protect them from threats to human life, livelihood, and dignity, and to bring out the full potential of each individual. We understand that the realization of human security is certainly a pressing need of the Haitian people. Our aid policy toward Haiti has been consistent over the years and we are determined to continue our efforts especially in those areas that are immediately responsive to the basic needs of the Haitian people and which contribute to ameliorating of their lives on the basis of the concept of "Human Security."
Last month, as I promised with President in May, Japan sent a mission to find out the current situation and needs of Haitian society, as the country's new Government started assuming initiative and responsibility for its nation-building process.
Based on the assessment of the report submit by this mission, Japan will continue to render humanitarian aid as well as helping with Haiti's democratization process. While we have put emphasis on these areas, we would like to consider extending our assistance to such areas as the capacity building and co-operation projects which contribute to the peace-building process. Education is another important area, as was pointed out by Prime Minister Alexis during his consultation with our mission.
Here I am pleased to announce that Japan seconds the motion to support the extension of ICF at this Conference and that Japan pledges the support of 10 millions dollars for ICF.
To be specific, this amount will be directed to various aid projects such as grant food aid on a bilateral basis, a vaccination reinforcement project through UNICEF, and other projects using our unique "Grass Root Human Security Grant Aid Scheme." This amount is our pledge at this stage and we will continue to consider further assistance in various areas other than those I have just mentioned in co-operation with UN organizations and other related organizations.
I would also like to mention that Japan is planning to dispatch a team of experts this year to examine the possibility of resuming our bilateral aid program in the agricultural field that is aimed at helping Haitian farmers. Additionally, we would like to consider dispatching a mission to investigate more extensively, where Haiti's development needs lie and what kinds of assistance projects can and should be worked out with our expertise and experience in economic co-operation. Furthermore, Japan will continue technical co-operation in the field of capacity building field, such as inviting Haitian trainees to our various training programmes in areas such as health, agriculture, the environment, traffic systems, and security.
Japan take pride in having carried out various aid projects in a prompt and timely manner to help Haiti's own efforts in its reconstruction. We are confident that our assistance has directly benefited the Haitian people. As our records eloquently show, our promises have never been just lip service. Japan has never failed to implement what it has claimed it would. We have always kept, and always will keep our word by surely and steadily implementing the aid that we have pledged.
We have never left out Haiti in granting economic assistance and have never forgotten the Haitian people. Japan has long been a donor to Haiti and it will continue extending as much assistance as possible as one of Haiti's close friends, even across the Pacific Ocean.
Haiti's rebirth rests on the shoulders of the Haitian people, who are the main players in the nation-building undertakings. Each and every Haitian citizen should give serious thoughts to this difficult but noble task. The international community, in its concerted intention and efforts, will not spare its generous helping hand, when the Government and People of Haiti play a leading role in their reconstruction tasks with its firm vision and strong determination.
We know that the greater task to be tackled with is still ahead of the Haitian citizens. However I would like to quote our Prime Minister Koizumi's phrase, "Chance is a synonym for pinch." or "Turn the pinch into a chance." Yes, tremendous chances are spread in front of the Haitian people. We will walk side by side with the Government and People of the Republic of Haiti, as long as Haiti shares with us such values as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law and it commits itself to working hard for the realization of a society with these sublime values.
Ladies and gentlemen and dear friends,
We all have a lot left to do. Let's walk and work together.
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