In an interview conducted by UNIC Tokyo Director Kaoru Nemoto on 13 January, Hasegawa shared lessons he had learned from his engagement in UN peace operations and development assistance.
In an interview with UNIC Tokyo Director Kaoru Nemoto held on 13 January 2017, former SRSG Hasegawa shared lessons he had learnt during 37 years of his engagement in UN peacekeeping work and development assistance. He said Japan should promote more integration of aid activities and insist on clearer identification of the outcome of assistance.
Q: You have worked extensively in various fields, including development assistance programmes and peacekeeping operations. What connections have you found between the various fields you have been involved in?
A: Development and peacekeeping operations are all connected like a spider’s web, so it is inadequate to view just a certain spot or an activity moving on a single line. On his first day in office, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for teamwork to achieve UN goals, addressing the importance of integrating the entire Organisation to make a collective effort. To solve the many challenges in the world, I think it is in fact necessary to unite agencies and to work as a team.
Q: How would such cooperation be ensured?
A: I think that commonly, two steps are required to achieve cooperation among agencies. Firstly, it is essential to promote physical integration. For instance, I was involved with the establishment of the UN House in Nepal as Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP from 1978 to 1980. The primary aim of the UN House was to allow various departments to set up their offices in the same building to work together closely. Secondly, personnel exchanges also contribute to integration. This interchange seems to be common within the UN, but it does not happen very often. However, if you transfer to another department and take up a different post, you will be able to broaden your knowledge. In this sense, frequent personnel exchanges are one of the effective means to ensure cooperation. However, what is most important for achieving integration of UN organisations is the coordination of their policies and principles.
Q: New UN Secretary-General António Guterres has highlighted the importance of conflict prevention and called for more global action to achieve this. What do you think is necessary for conflict prevention?
A: It is crucial to recognise that the root causes of conflict reside in the minds of national and local leaders. Man is not a rational being but a very greedy and dangerous creature. For instance, the conflict between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar resulted from their desire for power and wealth. Being able to incorporate an understanding of our inherent insatiability into the policymaking process is key to strengthen conflict prevention.
Q: While Japan has been one of the world’s largest ODA donor states, it seems that the country has not demanded a detailed policy about the practical implementation. What should be the focus of Japan’s international efforts today?
A: Japan’s reserved demeanour on aid policy might be a result of the lack of consistent vision which clearly delineates the outcome of assistance. To promote international assistance and the resulting national interest, the country should carefully consider the outcome that could be achieved by providing support. Simply increasing the amount of ODA will not be sufficient. Instead, I call for international assistance which has a vision and consistency in intention and action.
Development and peacekeeping activities are all connected like a spider net. It is inadequate to view just a certain spot or activities moving on a single line.
For various components to work together, it`s important not only to integrate physical facilities such as office space and vehicles but also to enable more exchange of staff and personnel among UN organizations.
What is most important for achieving integration of UN organizations is the coordination of their policies and principles.
The root causes of conflict reside in the minds of national and local leaders.
Man is a greedy and dangerous creature.
For international assistance that has a vision and consistency in intention and conduct.
The following are some of the key observations made by SRSG Hasegawa.
The article on a summary of an interview carried out by the United Nations Information Centre in Tokyo on 13 January 2017 and reprinted by the Huffington Post on 10 February 2017 can be viewed on the following website address: http://www.huffingtonpost.jp/unic/united-nations-60-anniversary_b_14652130.html