|Toshiyuki Niwa, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director|
NEW YORK, 2 March 2005 - UNICEF and the Government of Japan are developing a closer partnership in order to provide better humanitarian and development assistance, according to UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Toshiyuki Niwa.
Mr Niwa has recently returned from the seventeenth annual consultation between UNICEF and the Japanese government where a wide range of policy issues were discussed.
“I think what’s really happening is our collaboration in terms of humanitarian assistance, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq and also with the tsunami. I think there’s a strong confidence on the part of the Japanese government about UNICEF’s capacity to be a credible partner in humanitarian assistance,”
Mr Niwa said.
The government of Japan donated 70 million dollars to UNICEF tsunami relief, by far the largest single donor. During the two-day consultation Mr Niwa briefed Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura and other senior government officials on how the money is being utilized.
During the meeting the Japanese emphasized their commitment to working closely with UNICEF in rapid response to new emergencies.
Both parties agreed that health and education were priority areas for co-operation and emphasized the importance of the role of education in peace-building efforts.
“That’s why we are hoping we can have a very good collaborative relationship, especially in Africa, where the so-called ‘silent tsunami’ is prevalent,” said Mr Niwa, referring to the AIDS epidemic and poverty, which have devastated parts of the continent.
Mr Niwa said the meeting was marked by broad agreement on a number of important issues and that he was excited at the possibility of the Japanese government expanding its partnership and dialogue with UNICEF.