Statement by H.E. Ambassador HIKIHARA Takeshi, Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna, at the 19th Session of the General Conference of UNIDO
Let me begin by congratulating your Excellency Ambassador Mohamed MEZGHANI of Tunisia on your election as President of the nineteenth session of the General Conference of UNIDO. I assure you, Mr. President, of our Delegation’s unwavering support. I thank the outgoing President, H.E. Minister Suhail AL MAZROUEI of the United Arab Emirates and his Bureau members, for their dedicated work until today. My appreciation also goes to Director-General LI Yong and his team for preparing this meeting despite the difficulties posed by the severe pandemic.
This Session is a unique opportunity for UNIDO and its Member States to review the achievements made under outgoing DG LI Yong, and discuss new visions for the future under our incoming DG Gerd Müller.
Japan highly appreciates DG LI Yong’s leadership in promoting ISID, and positioning UNIDO as an important player in the implementation of the SDGs. We also value UNIDO’s role in leading IDDA III.
The last two years of his term were particularly challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a large-scale Human Security crisis. Japan commends UNIDO’s quick response to the crisis, while maintaining high-level performance in day-by-day technical cooperation activities.
Japan-UNIDO cooperation has flourished during DG LI Yong’s 8-year tenure. Japan’s funding of TC activities has increased by 60% in comparison to the previous 8 years. Private sector engagement has gained strength. New stakeholders such as the Ministry of Environment, and academia such as the Tokyo University, have also become active partners of UNIDO.
Since the 18th GC Session, UNIDO and Japan have intensified their cooperation with Asian, Middle-Eastern and African countries in various fields, including technology transfer for COVID-19 response, industrial skills development and tackling marine plastic litter. We are pleased that Japan has made a substantial contribution exceeding 25 million USD, to support DG LI Yong’s last year at the helm of UNIDO.
Just recently, on November 5th, Japan decided to fund two new UNIDO projects with 6.5 million USD in total. A project in Ghana strengthening the rice value-chain, and another project in Nigeria to support the fight against marine plastics, will be both launched next year. I announce this contribution as a last fruit of our collaboration with DG LI Yong and a kicking-off of the Japan-UNIDO cooperation under our new DG Gerd Müller.
The 8th Tokyo International Conference for African Development, or TICAD8, is planned to be held in Tunisia next year. Japan will work with UNIDO to further promote cooperation with African countries, taking momentum with this triennial milestone event.
We believe that UNIDO can scale-up the impact of its technical cooperation activities by sharing the results, knowledge and experience acquired through its projects. Japan and UNIDO have actively engaged in such knowledge-sharing activities. They have attracted strong interest and broad participation. We will continue our efforts in this area.
To begin with, at the 5th Donor Meeting, just before this session, Ambassador MARUYAMA Norio of Japan to South Africa presented UNIDO’s very first plastic waste management project under its circular economy approach. For next year, we hope to take up our COVID-19 response technology transfer with ITPO Tokyo at an appropriate occasion.
New DG Gerd Müller takes the wheel in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. We hope that he can steer UNIDO to continue helping Member States in need to overcome the crisis, and build back better on the path towards achievement of the SDGs.
At the same time, UNIDO must remain financially sustainable for all Member States, which are without exception facing financial constraints due to the very same crisis. We trust that the new DG will continue promoting efficiency through further rationalization within the Organization. Member States on their hand should resolve to make our utmost efforts to support UNIDO, by assuming our collective financial responsibility.
Japan is ready to continue working in close dialogue with the Secretariat, with a view to advancing all relevant reform efforts, such as the UN Development System Reform, the operationalization of Result-Based Management, resource optimization and revision of the staffing structure.
Let me conclude by assuring that Japan remains committed to further strengthen its constructive partnership with UNIDO.