I have been officially appointed as the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and have taken up my duties effective October 1, 2015.
In October 2008, JICA underwent a merger that led it to become one of the world's largest bilateral and most comprehensive development agencies. Since then, under the leadership of former presidents Sadako Ogata and Akihiko Tanaka, JICA has dedicated itself to efforts that range from contributions to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to peace-building, infrastructure development and human security.
As president, I am determined to build on these past achievements by doing my utmost to foster trust and earn even more praise from both the international community and the Japanese people.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Japan has been engaged in development cooperation since 1954, when its wounds from the war were still very fresh. Japan's development cooperation efforts played an important role in gaining the trust of the international community and allowing us to become a respected world player. Over the subsequent decades, Japan has established itself as a highly valued and appreciated development partner. We have done so by staying true to our vision of providing international cooperation that focuses on partner countries' ownership and engaging with them on an equal footing. Particularly in East Asia, political stability, economic development, and democratization are achieved. They are mostly the results of people's tireless efforts but at the same time, Japan's development cooperation has played important role in achieving such development.
Unfortunately, the economic stagnation of the 1990s continues to impact Japan's development assistance budget. From its peak in 1997, the budget has steadily fallen. As new challenges have arisen since September 11, 2001, new emerging countries enter the development scene and established players expand their assistance budgets, Japan's relative position in this field has declined. Nonetheless, both Japan and JICA have worked resolutely on a range of pressing issues vital to human security, the environment, and disaster recovery, to name but a few. We continue to carry out development cooperation efficiently, and our work is held in high esteem by our partners.
2015 is an important year for JICA. In February, the Japanese government adopted a new Development Cooperation Charter, and just a few days ago the General Assembly of the United Nations formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals as the new development targets to succeed the MDGs. The 42nd G7 summit will be held next May on Kashiko Island, Shima, Mie Prefecture, and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) will be held for the first time in Africa in 2016. This is the year that will truly test our ability to deliver on the policy of "Proactive Contribution to Peace based on the principle of international cooperation."
For these reasons, JICA must further enhance the quality of its assistance and further strengthen its strategy. We must focus on several critical issues at once, including: 1) quality growth and mitigating disparities, 2) promoting peace-building and the sharing of universal values, 3) strengthening its operational engagement on global issues and the international aid agenda, 4) expanding and deepening strategic partnerships, and 5) supporting an active role for women and their empowerment in developing countries.
Moreover, as a public agency that receives a significant amount of taxpayer funds, JICA has the obligation of being transparent and accountable. We must strengthen our organization while also striving for efficiency. We must also create a working environment where everyone involved in JICA's projects can make the utmost of their potential and abilities.
I am committed to working with a strong sense of mission and in such a way as to honor and add to the tradition of building trust both in Japan and abroad. I look forward to working with the dedicated JICA staff and all of our partners.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
|October 1, 2015||Shinichi Kitaoka becomes JICA’s new president|