February 6, 2015
In Paris, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka participated in a seminar on the "quality of growth," then in Brussels he held talks with commissioners of the European Union and World Customs Organization and spoke on JICA's position on the post-2015 development agenda.
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, second from left, talks about JICA’s view on the "quality of growth".
On Jan. 26, Tanaka visited Paris and served as one of the keynote speakers at a public seminar with the theme "quality of growth " sponsored by JICA, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex in England.
What growth do we mean by the most desirable development? How can we advance the growth for achieving its aims? The JICA Research Institute has been conducting joint research on the quality of growth since 2012 in collaboration with the AFD and IDS. This public seminar was a launching event for the publication of a book summarizing the research results, and it was held in a meeting hall inside AFD's headquarters in Paris. Some 70 people from AFD, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) joined the event, and lively discussions were held.
Tanaka took the stage with Anne Paugam, CEO, AFD, and Melissa Leach, director, IDS, for the opening session, and in his comments he touched on JICA's view on the quality of growth. Tanaka pointed out that while poverty reduction has advanced through the efforts of various countries and international organizations based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework, the disparities between rich and poor or urban and rural areas has been widening and that the world is facing new challenges such as climate change. Moreover, he said it is now necessary to prescribe effective measures to achieve the growth that we need in the 21st century, and emphasized that "quality growth" will be only achieved when it is "inclusive," "resilient" and "environmental sustainable." While talking about JICA's specific past initiatives, Tanaka said that to achieve inclusive growth, capacity development, an ongoing process of enhancing the problem-solving abilities of developing countries, and enhancing “resilience,” such as through disaster risk reduction, are important. Finally he concluded that JICA would continue giving even greater consideration in its initiatives to such “quality growth,” that has a lot to do with JICA's philosophy of human security.
Later, in a session entitled "Desirable Trajectories for Quality Growth," JICA Vice President Hiroshi Kato served as moderator. In this session, researchers who participated in the joint research including Akio Hosono, senior research advisor at the JICA Research Institute, took the stage as panelists. Hosono emphasized that to achieve "quality growth," industrial transformation should be holistic and comprehensive emphasizing the viewpoints of inclusiveness and sustainability.
Through this event, it was affirmed that the definition of “quality of growth” is an issue facing every country that changes for each country depending on the context, that it is important to take a comprehensive approach across the organizational barriers, and that it is essential for each country's government to take policy measures toward quality growth.
European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Kristalina Georgieva, right, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.
On Jan. 27-28, Tanaka held talks with EU commissioners in Brussels and took the podium at an event.
On Jan. 27, he held talks with vice-president for European Commission and commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Kristalina Georgieva, and the two discussed the JICA-EU partnership on strengthening disaster resilience. They also affirmed their organizations' cooperation on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in advance of the Third U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Conference to be held in Sendai, Japan, in March, and that they are moving forward with a JICA-EU partnership related to community-based disaster risk reduction (anti-drought measures) currently underway in Kenya.
In Tanaka's talks with European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, held on Jan. 28, they affirmed that JICA and the EU will further advance their partnership within the framework of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) and the EU Africa cooperation framework, in addition to their partnership related to the direction of international cooperation, including the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
On the night of Jan. 27, Tanaka and Director General for Development and Cooperation for the European Commission Fernando Frutuoso de Melo gave keynote addresses at an event called "Reflections on the Post 2015 Agenda" sponsored by the EU think tank Friends of Europe. In front of the assembled EU and other development actors, Tanaka gave a presentation on JICA initiatives and talked about the importance of " quality growth" that combines inclusiveness, resilience and sustainability. He also said that JICA would like to partner with the various actors of the EU to achieve quality, sustainable economic growth.
On Jan. 27, Tanaka visited the headquarters of the WCO and concluded a memorandum of cooperation for building a new partnership.