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  • Speech at the High-level Event of the UN General Assembly: Contributions of North-South, South-South, Triangular Cooperation, and ICT for Development to the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Speech Transcripts

May 22, 2014

Speech at the High-level Event of the UN General Assembly: Contributions of North-South, South-South, Triangular Cooperation, and ICT for Development to the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Trusteeship Council Chamber、United Nations Headquarters, New York, the United States

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honor to speak at this high-level event on the "Contributions of North-South, South-South, and Triangular Cooperation to the Implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda." I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers of this timely and important dialogue for allowing me to share our views on this important issue.

Before proceeding with the main topics, I would like to take this opportunity to speak briefly about JICA.

JICA, Japan International Cooperation Agency, is Japan's main implementing agency of its official development assistance. In accordance with our vision of "Inclusive and Dynamic Development," JICA supports developing countries with grant assistance, technical cooperation and ODA loans. The scale of JICA's operations in JFY2013 was about 12 billion dollars, which is roughly comparable to that of IDA during 2013.

This year, Japan celebrates its 60th anniversary of providing ODA. Throughout this long history, for nearly 40 years in fact, JICA has been engaged in triangular cooperation as an important component of Japan's ODA. I am, therefore, pleased to discuss various issues of development, focusing on South-South and triangular cooperation.

Today, I would like to mention three things. First, I will outline JICA's perspectives on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Second, I will share some specific examples of JICA's work in the field of South-South & Triangular Cooperation to highlight the potential of these forms of assistance. And, third, I will comment on how we can strengthen South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation to maximize their potential so that they become integral parts of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

There are three main challenges for the era beyond 2015:

The first is the unfinished business of the current MDGs framework. We are now accelerating our efforts to ensure that all countries achieve the MDGs. But realistically speaking, some of the MDGs may not be fully realized in a significant number of countries. Even in the Post 2015 era, we should keep working on the unmet goals and targets of the MDGs.

The second challenge is the necessity of sustained economic growth as the driver of poverty reduction. As the experience of many emerging countries and regions suggests, high and sustained economic growth is a key driver in pulling large segments of the population out of extreme poverty. Sustained economic growth will also assure the sustainability of the gains we have achieved under the current MDGs.

The third challenge is the necessity of inclusive, resilient, and environmentally sustainable development. While we need high and sustained economic growth to achieve many of the post 2015 goals, we should also be concerned about the quality of growth. In order for growth to lead to a higher degree of human security, it should be inclusive, equitable, resilient and environmentally sustainable. We have to adequately address down-side risks affecting people and communities.

In order to tackle these challenges, we at JICA believe that three guiding principles are needed for the Post-2015 Development Framework:

The first principle is the principle of country ownership supported by adequate human and institutional capacity. The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness stated that partner countries ought to exercise effective leadership over their development policies and strategies and co-ordinate development actions. This shared principle of country ownership was reiterated at the 2011 Busan High-Level Forum, and it still remains the most important principle in the Global Partnership on Effective Development Cooperation. Country ownership will be most effective if development actors at various levels have adequate capacity to address their development challenges, and this in turn will enable them to participate in policy formulation and to act substantively. When capacity is inadequate, technical cooperation for capacity development should be provided to the recipient country.

The second principle is the principle of comprehensive and equal partnership of all stakeholders: traditional and new stakeholders, including civil society organizations, members of the corporate sector, foundations, local governments, and epistemic communities of academics and experts. They are able to provide various resources, ideas and solutions for new development challenges that are cross-border and complicated in nature. Equal partnership is essential to promote mutual learning and joint discovery of solutions for diverse developmental problems.

The third principle we propose is the concept of human security. I mentioned three challenges for the post 2015 world: unfinished tasks of the current MDGs, continued importance of economic growth, and the necessity of inclusive and sustainable development. They are not separate challenges. They needed to be achieved concurrently. And I believe that what makes all three be achieved together is an approach informed by the concept of human security. With a people-centered approach paying attention to down-side risks, we can fully make economic growth a necessary driver of achieving unmet MDGs and inclusive and environmentally sustainable development.

How do we implement these principles to tackle our challenges ahead? I would like to argue that South-South and Triangular Cooperation is an important and promising mode of implementation. Let me start by giving an overview of JICA's Triangular Cooperation, and then I will introduce some examples of JICA's experiences in this field.

JICA started its Triangular Cooperation in 1974, early in its history of international cooperation. Since then, JICA's Triangular Cooperation has increased significantly. In 2012, 4,000 officials and experts participated in JICA-supported triangular training programs. Moreover, 150 "southern" experts were dispatched to other recipient countries through Japan's triangular cooperation projects. I am honored to inform all of you here that, as a leading organization in this field, JICA received the "South-South Cooperation Award" at the Global South-South Cooperation EXPO in 2012.

Among our numerous experiences, I am happy to give you three examples. They will show you the potential of South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation in strengthening ownership, enhancing equal partnership among stakeholders, and ensuring human security.

The first example is the ASEAN Regional Cooperation Meeting. JICA launched this initiative in 2002 to discuss how to improve the quality of South-South Cooperation for ASEAN members. The key was how to realize a successful matching between the needs of beneficiary countries and resources of provider countries. Through regular consultations facilitated by JICA, ASEAN members enhanced their capacities to plan and execute South-South Cooperation which responds to the needs of beneficiary countries. Moreover, this initiative further developed into a unique forum where ASEAN members discuss a regional agenda and future intra-regional cooperation. This initiative contributed not only to strengthening the capacity of the ASEAN members to execute South-South Cooperation, but also their ownership of it.

The second example is the "Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability Project" that was started in Thailand in 2002. This project aimed at empowering handicapped people and building a barrier-free society in the Asia-Pacific region. What is remarkable about this project is that it succeeded in effectively involving NGOs and the private sector to scale up the impact of the project. First, the project worked together with various stakeholders based upon equal partnership. More than 180 NGOs from 32 countries were involved in providing training and mutual learning opportunities for peoples with disabilities and their stakeholders. Thanks to this network, the number of beneficiaries of the training amounted to 800 over 5 years. Moreover, in the Philippines, the project succeeded in encouraging a local supermarket chain to make a shortfilm to promote a barrier-free society and to project it repeatedly in the theaters attached to its branch stores. This contributed to disseminating the importance of a barrier-free society in the target area.

The third example was the project for "Enhancing of Technology for the Construction of Popular Earthquake-resistant housing" in El Salvador. The project started in 2003. Its objective was to help El Salvador recover and reconstruct in the aftermath of two successive tragic earthquakes in 2001. This project aimed to enhance resilience to earthquakes, especially for the low-income population that is the most vulnerable to natural disasters. To tackle this difficult challenge, JICA worked together with Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention, a sub-regional center of excellence for disaster prevention. The center was established and has developed through Japanese assistance since 1990. With support by experts from Japan and Mexico, El Salvador succeeded in developing quake-resistant construction methods for popular housing. This project contributed considerably to the human security and inclusive development of El Salvador by focusing on the down-side risk of the poor.

Now, what are the implications of JICA's experiences?

First, as my first example on ASEAN regional cooperation suggests, the key to promote truly beneficial regional South-South Cooperation is to effectively match diverse resources with the needs of beneficiaries. But this effective needs-matching requires certain experience. Here, development agencies like JICA can make an important contribution. International development agencies have both a global network of partners and significant experience in delivering cooperation. We can work as catalysts or brokers to support effective assistance and needs-matching.

Second, knowledge-sharing is critical for effective South-South and Triangular Cooperation. Specifically, we need to support capacity building in the following 3 areas: 1) identifying development experiences to be shared, 2) transforming "raw experiences" into development solutions applicable to other countries, and 3) improving planning and implementation capacity.

With capacity-building, knowledge sharing thorough South-South and Triangular Cooperation can lead not only to producing better results but also to scaling-up in size or in geographical terms.

Ladies and gentlemen, we will still have to tackle the unfinished business of the current MDGs and to realize sustained economic growth as the driver of poverty reduction. And, this growth should be inclusive, resilient, and environmentally sustainable.

South-South and Triangular Cooperation are useful vehicles to meet these challenges. Knowledge-sharing is crucial among all stakeholders both in the North and in the South. Traditional providers of international cooperation such as JICA can and should play important roles as catalysts in these valuable efforts.


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