June 10, 2020
President Asakawa (left) and President Kitaoka
On Jun. 2, JICA President KITAOKA Shinichi had an online meeting with Asian Development Bank (ADB) President ASAKAWA Masatsugu.
At the outset of the meeting, President Kitaoka expressed his renewed congratulations to President Asakawa for his January 2020 appointment as ADB’s president. President Asakawa shared the current status of ADB’s support for COVID-19 countermeasures, especially on financial support. President Asakawa and President Kitaoka reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the collaboration between ADB and JICA.
President Kitaoka mentioned that the COVID-19 crisis could mark an important turning point in history, and that, in light of this recognition, JICA had embarked on a research on “international cooperation in the post-COVID-19 world.” He also shared that JICA was examining new approaches to continuing its programs in the current environment. In addition, he also said that JICA was carrying out a research on responses to COVID-19 with emphasis on health systems and Universal Health Coverage (UHC*). President Asakawa stated that ADB is actively working to strengthen health systems and achieve UHC, and expressed his desire for cooperation with JICA in this field.
(*) Universal Health Coverage (UHC): UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.
The two exchanged views regarding effects of the COVID-19 crisis on international society and the global economy: the need to address its negative impacts on women and vulnerable population ,widening gap, the changes in trends of global supply chains and trade, the expanded use of information technology, and the consequences on national finance situations and infrastructure investment plans. President Asakawa made special note of the expanded utilization of information technology and the importance of preventing the epidemic crisis from developing into a financial crisis. While agreeing with those comments, President Kitaoka emphasized the importance of improving health systems and living environments in order to prevent widening of inequalities, as well as the need for mutual cooperation between bilateral and multilateral development cooperation agencies.
In closing, the two presidents affirmed their intention of continuing active cooperation, especially in the field of health, and promoting quality infrastructure investment through private sector investment financing, based on existing memoranda of understanding (MOU) between the two organizations.
JICA will continue working with partners to strengthen health systems and minimize the damage caused by COVID-19 in developing regions while endeavoring in every possible way to ensure the safety of all stakeholders in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.