September 30, 2013
United Nations headquarters in New York. The theme of the 68th U.N. General Assembly was "The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage."
At the U.N. General Assembly in New York last week, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka met with world dignitaries and emphasized health, hunger, inclusive development, human security and social resilience, including disaster risk reduction.
Tanaka was in New York from Sept. 23 to 26 to participate in various meetings held in conjunction with the 68th general assembly.
On the morning of Sept. 24, Tanaka attended a meeting hosted by the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank to discuss remaining challenges of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). With UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim leading the discussion among leaders and dignitaries from various countries, Tanaka named health and hunger as two areas in which progress is behind schedule. He said new measures are needed, including a reconsideration of the conventional aid approaches, and he said the concept of human security sheds light on the way to stimulate human-centered, sustainable development as globalization progresses.
Tanaka emphasized the need to address qualitative aspects of development, which he said are not sufficiently considered in MDGs. Examples include inclusive development and the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). He also cited the example of strengthening resilience to cope with external shocks that can instantaneously deteriorate the accumulated fruits of past development efforts, and said one way of building resilience is the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction in development planning.
JICA promised to continue support for work to develop agriculture in Africa.
In the main assembly, a common understanding emerged that in the future the international community, centered on the United Nations, would cooperate to hasten efforts to meet unmet challenges and that discussion would continue on such post-2015 challenges as economic disparities and the need for resilience to shocks.
On Sept 26, Tanaka attended a side event related to sustainable agricultural development in Africa hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, building on the success of the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V). Tanaka promised that JICA would continue supporting African countries' endeavors toward agricultural development, the driving force of economic development in Africa. He also touched upon concrete examples, including cooperation to encourage self-sufficient smallholder farmers to engage in market-oriented agriculture, and the promotion of rice cultivation in Africa.
Co-chairs and national representatives of Africa's Regional Economic Communities (RECs) also referred to the potential of agricultural development in Africa and expressed high expectations for JICA. They reaffirmed that they would work with JICA to promote comprehensive agricultural development based on agreements reached at TICAD V.
Tanaka also participated in the 3rd Leadership Council Meeting of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a G8 initiative to lift 50 million Africans from poverty in 10 years. He explained Japan's proactive contributions in that area. The council meeting was jointly held by the G8, the African Union Commission and the World Economic Forum.