May 5, 2014
The Port Vila Lapetasi Wharf, Port Vila, Vanuatu
Honorable Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Finance & Economic Management, Moana Carcasses Katokai Kalosil
Honorable Leader of Opposition and the Deputy,
Teriki Paunimanu Mantoi Kalsakau III and the Chairman of IPDS Board,
Senior government officials,
Private sector representatives,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am excited to be here because I just attended the official launching ceremony of the Port Villa Lapetasi International Multi-Purpose Wharf Development Project. I am also excited because this is my first visit to your beautiful country with its "Grace of the Sea." I would like to thank the people and the government of Vanuatu for their understanding and support to JICA's work here. We are determined to continue our work together with our friends of Vanuatu. Our commitment, in fact, is officially attested by Japan's "National Security Strategy" (NSS) adopted at a Cabinet meeting last December, which clearly states the importance of strengthening cooperation with the Pacific Islands Countries. The Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) has been an important official venue to guide our activities. We at JICA are ready to strengthen our cooperation in various areas as agreed in the PALM6 of 2012. The next PALM, PALM7, will take place in Fukushima in May 2015. I am convinced that active discussions among the leaders of Pacific Islands Countries and Japan will lead to a vibrant PALM7 declaration, which will guide our cooperation further.
Taking this opportunity to be here in this beautiful Vanuatu, please allow me to briefly share with you JICA's cooperation policy for the Pacific Islands Countries.
Our cooperation is based on two premises. First, we share the Pacific Ocean as global commons. You know the slogan adopted at PALM6? That was: "We are Islanders!" As islanders of the Pacific, we are all responsible to protect and sustain this valuable global commons called the Pacific.
Second, Japan and the Pacific islands Countries including Vanuatu are close partners in our diplomacy and other activities in the international community; we have successful history of friendship and cooperation in the international arena. With these two points in mind, JICA would like to enhance its cooperation for the Pacific Island Countries as a "Co-working Peer" which our Foreign Minister, Mr. Kishida, mentioned at the PALM Ministerial Interim Meeting last October.
I believe that the Pacific Islands Countries have great potential for better future. But due to their economic, geographical, and climatic characteristics, the Pacific Island Countries could face serious vulnerabilities physically, socially, and economically.
In order to tackle such challenges, together with Vanuatu and other Pacific Island Countries, and to enhance their "resilience" to vulnerabilities, JICA has been extending cooperation in mainly 4 priority areas, utilizing Japanese comparative advantages.
The first area is "Environmental Conservation and Management". For Pacific Islands Countries, environment is of paramount importance as economic resources and as a place to live in. JICA has been providing assistance in natural resource management, solid waste management, safe and stable water supply, and so on, for realizing "Eco-Island".
The second is "Climate Change and Disaster Management". JICA has been implementing various projects responding to negative impacts caused by climate change and natural disasters such as earthquake, tsunami and cyclone. Through our projects, JICA also would like to share relevant Japanese experiences and to mutually learn from natural disasters.
The third is "Infrastructure Development". For Pacific Islands Countries, maritime transport infrastructure is especially fundamental not only for economic development but as their "lifeline". JICA has been supporting port and vessel projects in many countries in the Pacific. Energy is also a crucial aspect of infrastructure. We have been extending cooperation for the promotion of both renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The last and fourth priority area for cooperation is "Improvement of Social Service". JICA has been providing assistance for a better quality of basic public services such as education and healthcare, and also for improving a delivery of such services to every remote island in a country. For this purpose, JICA has dispatched many volunteers as well.
With such variety of cooperation activities, JICA would like to contribute to sustainable development of Pacific Islands Countries including Vanuatu.
Thank you very much.
(1) Japanese ODA for Vanuatu (Unit: 100 million JPY)
|JFY||ODA Loan||Grant Aid||Technical Cooperation|
(2) JICA's Technical Cooperation for Vanuatu