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APDA/JPFP JPFP Meeting: UNFPA and IPPF Activity Report

5 December 2023

On 5 December, the Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP) held a meeting under Hon. Aisawa Ichiro, Acting Chair of JPFP, where the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) reported on their activities funded by Japan. The meeting was facilitated by Hon. Kikawada Hitoshi, Secretary General of JPFP.

First, Mr. Björn Andersson, Senior Adviser, Humanitarian Initiative of UNFPA, gave a presentation on UNFPA’s humanitarian operations in the Gaza Strip that is supported by the Government of Japan and noted that sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, especially for women in emergencies, are life-saving interventions. Ms. Narita Eiko, Chief of UNFPA Representation Office in Tokyo, spoke on the role that Japan can play on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) next year. She expressed her hope that Japan will demonstrate its presence in the world capitalizing on its knowledge and experiences to lead the discussion on issues related to declining birthrate and ageing. From IPPF, Ms. Fukuda Tomoko, Regional Director of IPPF East and South East Asia and Oceania Region (ESEAOR), reported on Japanese supplementary budget funded activities in various countries and regions, including Afghanistan and Ukraine, and explained how it effectively reached women and children in vulnerable situations.

During the Q&A session, Hon. Suematsu Yoshinori asked how humanitarian assistance can be delivered to the people in need in the Gaza Strip under siege. In response, Ms. Fukuda mentioned that since the borders crossing with Gaza are sealed, the best they can do at this moment is to be prepared for providing humanitarian aid at some places along the border of the neighboring countries where they anticipate an influx of people.

Hon. Kunimitsu Ayano raised a question as to what kind of “humanitarian diplomacy” Japan should conduct given its current position as this year’s G7 presidency and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Also, the Japan-ASEAN Special Leaders' Meeting will be held this month. In response, Mr. Andersson said that Japan can take a leading role in finding solutions and its continuous political and financial support is important to UNFPA’s work.

In closing, Hon. Aisawa, based on his long experience in refugee assistance, noted that now Gaza draws the most attention as well as resources, while there exist Rohingya and other groups of people who are in need of relief assistance, and how to distribute finite resources is a very big challenge. He concluded his remarks stressing that although the international community is experiencing “aid fatigue”, we need to continue to craft methods for mobilizing resources for relief.

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