7 October 2009: Statement for the General Policy Debate by Head of Delegation of Japan, Mr. Masaharu NAKAGAWA, Senior Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology


Mr. President,

Mr. Director-General,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


First of all, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your election.


Mr. President,


In the era of globalization, Japan attaches importance to UNESCO's initiatives which tackle global issues. These issues include Education for All, Priority-Africa, gender equality, the environment, ethnic and religious dialogues, counter-terrorism, poverty, infectious diseases, sanitation, and natural disasters. UNESCO has dedicated its efforts to solving these issues through education, science, culture and communication, with the ultimate aim of contributing to peace and human development. It is the strong determination of Japan to cooperate with and support UNESCO.


Mr. Matsuura was appointed as the first UNESCO Director-General from Asian region in 1999. Since then, he has devoted considerable efforts to administrative reforms, decentralization, as well as program reforms of UNESCO. He has obtained much success, especially establishing the credibility of UNESCO. The Japanese government appreciates such efforts and has actively supported such reforms.


As Director-General Matsuura will vacate his post in November, Japan intends to continue with its active participation to UNESCO activities as a Member State under the leadership of the new Director-General. Japan will also continue providing any necessary support so that UNSCO can address a variety of problems in the international community in cooperation with other international organizations, governments, and NGOs.


Mr. President,


It goes without saying that education is UNESCO's core mandate. While its achievement in EFA is noteworthy, we are at the mid-point of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development this year. We welcome the rapid international spread of ESD. The World Conference on ESD held in Bonn this year is one of the factors to accelerate ESD through extensive, passionate discussions among many Member States and ESD stakeholders. In spite of all this, ESD ideals are not sufficiently recognized in the field. We have to redouble our efforts for the second half of the DESD.


We believe that the Bonn Declaration and the draft strategy proposed by the UNESCO Secretariat provide clear and suitable guideline for the promotion of ESD over the next five years. Hoping for continued initiative of UNESCO in ESD promotion, we reconfirm that we will be hosting the end-of-Decade world conference in Japan, in collaboration with UNESCO.


Mr. President,


Turning now to the science programmes, Japan has actively supported UNESCO's important role in scientific fields, such as the International Hydrological Programme, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Man and the Biosphere Programme and disaster prevention. In terms of sustainable development, UNESCO's intersectoral approach by integrating these programmes is indispensable to the resolution of global issues. In this regard, UNESCO should be an organization which consolidates and structures all scientific knowledge in collaboration with other international organizations to solve global issues. Japan also would like to take a lead in supporting UNESCO in this field in cooperation with other Member States.


Mr. President,


In the filed of culture, we appreciate programmes related to preservation of world heritage and intangible cultural heritage which facilitate cultural diversity and raise UNESCO's visibility. Japan intends to continue contributing to these programmes through Japanese Funds-in-Trust and the dispatch of experts.


Mr. President,


In conclusion, it is our firm belief that UNESCO plays a very important role. Japan will support UNESCO together with other Member States so that UNESCO can fully carry out its responsibility. UNESCO reforms initiated by Mr Matsuura must be succeeded by the next Director-General. We expect that UENSCO reforms such as clear defining of UNESCO's roles, prioritization of programmes and budget will be further promoted. We have high hopes for the further advancement of UNESCO under the leadership of the next Director-General.


Thank you very much for your kind attention.






Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology


UNESCO General Conference



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