Your Excellency, Mr. Fumio Kishida - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan,
Your Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
On behalf of the Malaysian delegation, I thank you Mr. President and the delegation of Japan for convening this timely and important debate.
2. This meeting is an excellent opportunity to take stock of, and assess the various plans and measures to support the peacebuilding agenda as well as the broader peace and security agenda in Africa thus far, as well as decisions taken by this Council, the United Nations and the wider international community.
3. The outcome of these discussions should contribute to future efforts in support of the peacebuilding agenda in Africa specifically, but also in other regions, more generally. As such, we are pleased to note Japan’s intention to do so for TICAD 6.
4. We greatly appreciate the Secretary-General’s briefing which we believe highlighted the Secretariat’s perspective on the key issues or areas which require more focus and attention.
5. As a concurrent member of both this Council and the Peace Building Commission, Malaysia welcomes the participation of Her Excellency Dr. Amina Mohammed in her capacity as Chair of the PBC, demonstrating Kenya’s strong support and commitment to peacebuilding, and I thank her for her statement which we fully endorse.
6. I wish to also thank His Excellency Ambassador Smail Chergui [Sma-yel Sher-gi], for presenting the message of the African Union Peace and Security Commission which we heard very carefully and with much interest.
7. In aligning with the ASEAN statement to be delivered shortly by the ambassador of Thailand, I wish to make a few additional points to contribute to the discussion.
8. As you have rightly stated, a sustainable peacebuilding agenda must place strong emphasis on “institution building” and “national ownership”.
9. From our own experience as a developing country, I can say with absolute certainty that faithful adherence to these two key principles have contributed significantly to strengthening national resilience.
10. At one point in the not too distant past, many observers were certain that a country with a population as diverse as Malaysia could not hope to achieve coherence or unity, much less peace and stability which are prerequisites for socio-economic development and progress.
11. However, instead of seeing diversity and plurality as potential security threat, the Government undertook concrete and sustained measures to ensure that all could enjoy a place at the table.
12. Thus, we succeeded in turning the perceived disadvantage of our diversity and harnessing it into what it should be rightly taken for, which is a strength.
13. Another important lesson we learnt was that developing countries require support and assistance. For many, the natural choice would be to seek out the big and the rich countries and donors.
14. However, what may perhaps be overlooked is the role that other developing countries can play to support other fellow developing countries.
15. In this regard, Malaysia has as part of its foreign policy a commitment to the principle of “prosper thy neighbour”. Despite the inconvenience of distance, Malaysia very much considers Africa as a close neighbor.
16. We remains committed to contributing to Africa’s continued peace and security, political stability and economic growth and we endeavor to support this as best we can, despite our modest resources.
17. Over the past few decades, Malaysia’s engagement with Africa specifically on “institution building” support in areas such as peace and security, trade, investment and holistic development has been increasing steadily.
18. The primary vehicle for such efforts is through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme or MTCP, established in 1980. In addition to direct bilateral engagement through MTCP, Malaysia also extends cooperation through a triangular model such as the MTCP – JICA (with Japan) – Africa programme. To date, 29,000 participants many hailing from Africa have participated in courses and programmes offered under MTCP.
19. Our commitment to continued support and assistance to partners in Africa is also premised on the belief that attaining higher levels of development is dependent on the quality of human capital, resources and institutions in place.
20. Towards this end, Malaysia pioneered the concept of smart-partnership dialogues with African countries beginning with the inaugural Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) in 1995 which has been held biennially since then.
21. The LID dialogues aim to promote partnerships through engagement at all levels of society including political leaders, civil service, business, labour, media and the population, including women and youth.
22. We are pleased to note that the LID concept had gained traction within Africa which now convenes a similar process of its own, known as the Southern Africa International Dialogue or SAID.
23. At the multilateral level, the outcomes of the recently concluded Peacebuilding Architecture review paves the way for the UN to better address fragmentation issues as well as promote better synergy, coordination and complementarity in the work of the relevant UN bodies – anchored by the PBC and this Council – agencies and mechanisms towards achieving the core objective of promoting and sustaining peace.
24. I wish to conclude by welcoming the Presidential Statement just adopted. I wish to also emphasise that Malaysia remains committed to Africa for the region for the long haul, with a view to contributing towards the region’s aspirations for peace, security economic development and prosperity.
25. Finally, I wish Japan, Kenya and all participants a successful TICAD 6 Summit later next month.