Symposium on the New JICA and JICA-RI


The symposium on "New JICA and JICA Research Institute," marking JICA's fresh start and JICA-RI's establishment that will crystallize, communicate and enhance Japanese ODA, took place at JICA-RI on November 25, 2008.

JICA President Sadako Ogata underscored the complexity of development and voiced her expectation that JICA-RI will be a comprehensive and multidimensional research institute. "It is for this reason that I named the institute simply 'JICA Research Institute,'" without any limiting words like 'development research,' she explained.


Ms. Ogata also requested the institute to strengthen its research academically, going one step beyond its predecessor which tended to function as a provider of reference materials for JICA field operations. She stressed the importance of systematizing JICA's enormous data archives, from its more than five decades of worldwide activities, in addition to conducting original JICA-RI in-depth research.

Following Ms. Ogata, two guest speakers discussed their expectations for the new JICA and JICA-RI. Mr. Kiyoshi Kodera, Executive Secretary of the Development Committee of the World Bank and the IMF and Deputy Corporate Secretary of the World Bank, emphasized that JICA-RI is important both for its support of new JICA's operations and also for its communication of the development process to interested aid recipient countries and the donor community.

Mr. Simon Maxwell, Director of the Overseas Development Institute of the United Kingdom, pointed out the need for solution-focused research, emphasizing that the research findings must be presented persuasively and in a timely manner to the most relevant stakeholders.

JICA-RI Director Dr. Keiichi Tsunekawa reiterated Ms. Ogata's points, emphasizing his intention that the institute will integrate academic and operational research. He discussed the need for collaboration between academics and practitioners and for joint studies with other domestic and international institutes.

Dr. Tsunekawa identified four areas of global scope where JICA-RI intends to focus its efforts: 1) peace and development, 2) growth and poverty reduction, 3) environment and Development / climate change, and 4) aid strategies. To expand on the director's explanation, three JICA-RI researchers presented their initial work in line with three of the focus areas: 'Peace and Development: A New Challenge,' 'Connecting Policy and Action on Climate Change' and the 'Social Dimension of Public Goods Management in Rural Africa.'

The looming global recession was an inevitable topic at the symposium. All the panelists agreed that the worsening global economy would undoubtedly impact development assistance.

Nonetheless they enjoined the audience not to overlook the most vulnerable people in poor countries. "At a time when global financial turmoil is reaching critical proportions, the lives of those in developing countries are threatened" Ogata said vigorously, adding that "new JICA will be faced with ever more serious challenges."

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