[Agenda Item 3: Annual Report 2019]

Mr. Chair,

I would like to begin by congratulating your Excellency Ambassador Jose Antonio MARCONDES DE CARVALHO of Brazil on your election as Chair of the thirty-sixth session of the PBC. I am sure that this session will be successful under your able leadership. I would also like to thank the outgoing Chair, H.E. Ambassador Karoly DAN of Hungary, together with the Bureau members, for their dedicated work.

My appreciation also goes to the External Auditor, Mr. Michael AGUINALDO, for his diligent work during his term of two years, including his last report on the accounts of UNIDO for the financial year 2019. We hope that UNIDO will continue to make its best efforts to follow up on his recommendations. We also welcome the appointment of the new External Auditor, Mr. Alexei Leonidovich KUDRIN.

Mr. Chair,

We recognize that UNIDO has maintained a high level of activity throughout 2019. The organization has thus sustained its key role within the international community in implementing the SDGs, especially in relation to Goal 9, and in promoting the “Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa”, or IDDA III.

The year 2019 marked another important step in the UNIDO-Japan partnership. Let me highlight the intensive and wide-raging cooperation between us for the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), held in August last year. We have created considerable synergies between IDDA III and the TICAD process.

UNIDO also substantially contributed to last year’s G20 under Japan’s presidency. On this occasion, UNIDO submitted two important reports, one on industrial development in African countries and LDCs, and another in the new field of circular economy and marine plastic.

Mr. Chair,

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a serious challenge in every aspect of the international community’s lives, today and in years to come. Japan hopes that UNIDO, with its mission of inclusive and sustainable industrial development, will actively respond to this crisis. There are two ways to go; 1) reinforcing its technical cooperation activities for those in need, and 2) optimizing its finances and management.

With regard to the technical cooperation activities, Japan hopes that UNIDO continues to place emphasis on supporting people and industries of the most vulnerable countries to tackle the current health and hygiene emergency, mitigate the socio-economic impact, and recover from the crisis. Japan appreciates UNIDO’s quick response to the situation to this date, both on its own and in cooperation with other UN entities, notably WHO.

Japan is one of the first countries to respond in this context. We decided in May to finance a project of UNIDO ITPO Tokyo with 3.9 million USD, which transfers technologies from the Japanese private sector to countries in need. Concrete plans of technology transfer have already been developed, and will be implemented soon in a dozen countries. Japan profoundly appreciates the prompt work of UNIDO, and expects early tangible outcomes.

As the COVID-19 crisis has been affecting the global financial situation in an unprecedented manner, sound and efficient finance and management are required more than ever. We should be reminded that UNIDO is making utmost efforts to support member states in effectively responding to COVID-19 crisis. To sustain these efforts, member states, despite their difficulties, should act on their obligations under the Charter, and make full and timely payment of their assessed contribution. The use of payment plans may be a helpful option. Further efforts by the Secretariat remain important to improve the collection rate. Japan will follow with utmost attention the impact of the crisis on UNIDO’s financial situation.

In terms of more efficient and effective management, we believe that the External Auditor’s report, as well as the MOPAN assessment report published in June, provide a useful basis for discussion between Member States and the Secretariat. Japan encourages the Secretariat to follow up on these recommendations in an appropriate manner.

Effective participation in the ongoing UN development system reform is also a key issue for the success of our mission. Japan encourages UNIDO to engage more proactively in the system-wide discussions in NY, and the inter-agency cooperation in the field. Japan also pays close attention to the ongoing internal reforms, namely, the Full Cost Recovery, the Resource Optimization for Technical Cooperation, and the recent restructuring of the Secretariat. Japan is ready to engage in continuous dialogue between the Member States and the Secretariat, with a view to further reinforcing UNIDO’s function.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.