September 8, 2020
President Hajjar (left) and President Kitaoka
On Aug. 24, JICA President KITAOKA Shinichi had an online meeting with Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar, president of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
At the outset of the meeting, Dr. Kitaoka noted that the COVID-19 crisis could mark a historic turning point, and that the international cooperation with various partners, including the IsDB, becomes more crucial than ever in addressing global socioeconomic challenges and disruptions. Dr. Hajjar provided an overview of the IsDB Group's response to the COVID-19 crisis, noting the importance of mitigating the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic, especially on small and medium-sized enterprises, utilizing new technologies, and adhering to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The two heads recognized the established collaboration in international fora, such as the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) and the Director-General's Forum on South-South and triangular cooperation co-sponsored with the United Nations. In addition, the two also praised mutual cooperation on the polio eradication campaign in Pakistan and the partnership in the Conference on cooperation among East Asian countries for Palestinian Development. Both leaders confirmed that they will continue to cooperate in these endeavors in the future.
Dr. Hajjar said that 2020 could be an important year for the globalization process and that, rather than reversing it, it is necessary to exert further efforts to build a greener, more inclusive, and more resilient international community. Dr. Kitaoka agreed with this and stressed the significance of the international community's resilience and flexibility.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Kitaoka introduced JICA's efforts to date, ranging from preventive measures such as the dissemination of maternal and child health handbooks, improvements in the field of water and hygiene, promotion of hand washing, and enhancement of nutrition, to the establishment of hospitals for medical treatment. In addition, he expressed his desire to work towards building a strong health and medical systems with hospitals at its core and called for cooperation with the IsDB regarding these efforts. Dr. Hajjar endorsed JICA's efforts, highlighted the IsDB's cooperation in health and medicinal fields, and confirmed that they will continue to dialogue.
JICA will continue to work with domestic and international partners to strengthen health and medical systems in developing regions and minimize the damage caused by COVID-19, while endeavoring in every possible way to ensure the safety of everyone in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.