Research Findings Shared at the 34th JASID Annual Conference


On Nov. 11-12, 2023, the 34th Japan Society for International Development (JASID) Annual Conference was held as a hybrid event (in-person and online) at Sophia University Yotsuya Campus. The overall theme of this conference was on solidarity and co-creation in a world facing compounded crises. Participants discussed how diverse actors can come together in solidarity and co-create new values to address common challenges in a world facing compounded crises. From the JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development (JICA Ogata Research Institute), Mine Yoichi, executive director, and Maruyama Takao, senior research fellow, participated.

Plenary Session “Where Is Japan’s Official Development Assistance Heading? — In Response to the Revision of the Development Cooperation Charter” by Executive Director Mine

Mine gave a keynote speech at the plenary session held on Day 1 titled “Where Is Japan’s Official Development Assistance Heading? — In Response to the Revision of the Development Cooperation Charter.”

Mine was a member of the advisory panel under the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the revision of the Development Cooperation Charter. He raised the following as key features of the new charter: high prioritization of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) framework; emphasis on ideals like the rule of law and free and open global order; introduction of the “co-creation for common agenda initiative”; emphasis on the diversity of stakeholders; mention of the importance of the co-creation of social values through dialogues and collaboration with developing countries; and emphasis on human security as the highest-level principle for development cooperation. Mine then said that he hopes that the Development Cooperation Charter will continue to evolve as though it is a customary law for Japan’s international cooperation, like the British Magna Carta, which still maintains its original spirit to date in spite of multiple revisions over the years.

Mine went on to say that there are three points on the new charter that he values as an individual and would like to work on with JASID. First, a wide range of knowledge that is useful for international cooperation such as on disaster prevention, post-war peace experience, environmental protection, promotion of local traditional industries, and overcoming population decrease is accumulated at local governments and colleges or universities outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area. Mine stressed that their participation in international cooperation should be encouraged as part of acknowledging the roles of various stakeholders. Second, both in practical work and research activities for international cooperation, the interface for in-person interaction and cooperation with the beneficiaries—our partners in our development assistance work—needs to be strengthened. In addition, JASID should have the participation of international students, those who used to study in Japan in the past and researchers from developing countries. With these measures, Mine said that we could contribute jointly to the co-creation of values. Third, Mine noted that human security, as a key phrase, embodies the component of global public interest in the charter and that we should deepen its philosophy. He then introduced Human Security Today , a report series the JICA Ogata Research Institute will keep on publishing.

Finally, Mine suggested that the Development Cooperation Charter presents two directions—one to be dedicated to national interests and the other to prioritize global public interests—and perhaps the two should be integrated. He said that he hopes an overall stronger virtuous cycle can be generated by enhancing practice for global public interests rather than rejecting national interests.

Following this keynote speech, discussion took place on how the new charter may affect practical work and future research on development cooperation as well as human resource development.

Roundtable “Using Learning Assessment to Improve Academic Achievement” by Senior Research Fellow Maruyama

Given the huge challenges in developing countries in the acquisition of basic academic skills during primary education and lower-secondary education, a presentation and discussion on how learning assessment could be used for academic performance improvement in developing countries took place during the roundtable titled “Using Learning Assessment to Improve Academic Achievement” on Day 2.

Maruyama gave a presentation titled “Using Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) and the Item Response Theory in the Evaluation of a Textbook Development Project,” based on his paper “Developing Textbooks to Improve Math Learning in Primary Education: Empirical Evidence from El Salvador.” By conducting RCT, his study evaluated an intervention package in El Salvador that includes the distribution of textbooks and diagnostic tests that were developed through JICA’s technical cooperation.

Questions on topics such as an effective combination of quantitative and qualitative studies, the need for human resource development in governments of developing countries to conduct better learning assessment, and effective ways of using learning assessment for education development were raised by the commentator and the floor. Active discussion followed.

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