7 April 2016: Statement of Her Excellency Ms Kuni SATO, Representative of Japan to the Executive Board, on the occasion of the 199th Session of the Executive Board



"Thank you, Mr. Chair,
Madam Director-General,
Excellencies and Dear Colleagues,


This is the first governing body meeting under the current biennium. It is important for us Member States to be engaged in constructive discussion on the strategic direction of UNESCO programmes for the next two years.


Let me begin by renewing Japan’s support for UNESCO’s traditional priorities for Africa and gender. For Africa, this year will see TICAD V for the first time on the continent, in Nairobi, Kenya, co-organized by UN, UNDP, World Bank and African Union Commission. We expect substantial contribution from UNESCO in education and science in particular. As for women’s empowerment, Japan co-sponsors the US-led new item on “STEAM for Girls Education.” This is a reflection of Japan’s education cooperation strategy, which focuses on girls education in these areas.


I now turn to the Programmes.


In Education, with the adoption of Education 2030 Framework for Action, UNESCO should continue to play a leading role in coordinating all stakeholders in addressing remaining issues including the development of indicators in consultation with Member States.


Recalling the success of COP 21 last December, Japan stresses the importance of ESD as a key approach to cope with global challenges. We will continue to work with the Secretariat and Member States to promote the steady implementation, and regular follow-up of the Global Action Programme. To promote inclusive education in conflict areas and for girls and women, Japan supports various UNESCO projects such as those to expand secondary education for Syrian refugees, for Ethiopian and Nigerian girls and for girls IDPs in Iraq, or the one to enhance literacy in Afghanistan.


For strengthening science policies and promoting knowledge sharing among Member States, we attach particular importance to “Sustainability Science Approach,” disaster risk reduction, oceanography, biosphere reserves and Geoparks. Lively discussions took place at the Symposium on Sustainability Science Approach organized by UNESCO earlier this week. We will continue to be engaged for further broadening of the application of this approach in public policies of Member States.


Five years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. I would like to reiterate our sincere appreciation for support from all over the world. With the knowledge and experiences in disaster risk reduction accumulated in governments, scientists, local communities and the private sector, Japan cooperates with UNESCO to make full use of the wide-ranging expertise in this area. UNESCO project to strengthen the flood warning system in Pakistan is one such example.


As to the World Heritage Convention, we should make further efforts towards conservation, while maintaining an appropriate framework of evaluation of new nomination with a view to achieving a more balanced and representative List. We are encouraged by continuous efforts by its advisory bodies to improve the nomination and evaluation process.


Preservation of and universal access to documentary heritage is another important area. In Memory of the World Programme, Japan welcomes the work underway by experts of the International Advisory Committee to review their working methods including appropriate ways to increase transparency.


In cooperation with UNESCO, Japan has been playing an active role in the protection of cultural heritage in Afghanistan, in Iraq and most recently in Nepal. We remain committed to international cooperation in the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage.


On management issues, Japan continues to attach importance to improved programme delivery, and to the review of field office network, as well as application of sunset clauses, in view of, and in support of, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


UNESCO’s founding philosophy stays relevant for various stakeholders in Japan including municipalities, universities, schools and researchers. Japan, as a long-term partner of the Organization, strongly believes that UNESCO’s founding philosophy, building peace in the minds of men and women, must be a cornerstone of all UNESCO Programmes. They must contribute to sharing knowledge and fostering dialogue and mutual understanding to bring harmony to all peoples and cultures."



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