UNV convenes third strategic dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan


The 3rd Strategic Dialogue between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and UN Volunteers (UNV) was held in Bonn, Germany on 11 May 2018. Mr Kotaro Katsuki, Director, Global Issues Cooperation Division, International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his team, visited UNV to participate in the strategic dialogue. Both parties welcomed this opportunity to enhance partnership towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through volunteerism.

UNV Executive Coordinator Olivier Adam with Mr Kotaro Katsuki, Director, Global Issues Cooperation Division, International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

During the meeting, UNV presented its new UNV Strategic Framework 2018-2021 (SF). The SF is a targeted strategy, focusing on support to UN Member States and placing volunteers across the UN system. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed great interest in the new SF and particularly in UNV’s Online Volunteering system as a potential pathway for early entry to the UN for Japanese citizens. 

UNV provided an overview of UNV’s history, facts and figures; touched on some of the values of volunteerism, including the contributions volunteers make to the 2030 Agenda; and elaborated on the UN Online Volunteering system and the status of  implementation of the Plan of Action 2016-2030 for integrating volunteering into peace and development.

On international cooperation, Mr Katsuki outlined Japan’s approach will focus on human security and development, centered on education and health. UNV highlighted volunteer solutions aligned to Japan’s strategic priorities, including in Disaster Risk Reduction, Women’s Empowerment, Global Health, Peace and Security and Governance.

Mr Katsuki and Mr Adam pay their respects to Atsuhito Nakata (Japan), a UN Volunteer District Electoral Supervisor with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia, who was killed in a tragic ambush in the province of Kampong Thom in 1993. (UNV, 2018)

Mr Katsuki and Mr Adam both welcomed that the Global Health Volunteer Initiative is moving forward.  Mr Adam emphasized that Japan will add great capacity and expertise in this area. The Global Health Volunteer Initiative will deploy 17 Japanese experts in international health to UN partners to provide their expertise in issues related to health crises. 

In concluding the talks, both parties agreed to continue to identify areas relevant for further discussion, such as those linked to the youth programme or the implementation of the SDGs. UNV praised the permanent mission of Japan in New York for a high level of support to UNV including co-sponsoring the General Assembly resolution on integrating volunteerism into peace and development.

Japan has been a long-term partner of UNV. In 2017, 110 onsite Japanese nationals served with 19 UN entities in 44 countries, a 26 per cent increase over the prior year. A further 32 Japanese nationals contributed as UN Online Volunteers, serving with 25 UN entities and civil society organizations and supporting 30 countries and regions.

One of the first UN Volunteers from Japan was Yoshikazu Ito, as one can see from this historic photo.  In 1972, then UN Volunteer Irrigation Technician Yoshikazu explained to Yemeni farmers the benefits they would derive if the irrigation project he was investigating at Wadi Warazan, Yemen Arab Republic, materialized (UN Archive, 1972).  The insert shows Yoshikazu attending an event on international cooperation in Tokyo, Japan. (UNV, 2017) 

This article was prepared with the kind support of UN Online Volunteer Helen Maccan.