November 19, 2012
From November 19 to 23, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation will host the 2012 South-South Cooperation Expo, where persons in charge of South-South Cooperation from national governments and international organizations will gather to talk about how South-South Cooperation can be effective, and to share their best practices. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been selected for the first time as the winner of the South-South Cooperation Award for its nearly forty-year efforts of promoting the implementation of South-South Cooperation and sharing its best practices and lessons with others. In addition, JICA is going to receive the Solution Award for its Triangular Cooperation scheme known as the "The Program of Quality Improvement of Health Services by 5S-KAIZEN-TQM, hereinafter "The Program"), which has been recognized as a model practice to help resolve issues in hospital management. It is the second time JICA has gotten the Solution Award, after receiving the first one in 2010.
In December 1978, the UN General Assembly adopted the "Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA)," which identified important area for promoting and implementing technical cooperation between developing countries. More than three decades after the adoption, developed countries are now facing economic downturns and offering less financial assistance, while many developing countries (including emerging countries) are enjoying economic growth. South-South Cooperation takes a form in which a developing country in the southern hemisphere supports other developing countries. In recent years, there has been an increase in interest and expectations for South-South Cooperation to supplement assistance from traditional donors, both in terms of quantity and quality.
Japan, through JICA, started promoting South-South Cooperation in Asia, Latin America and Africa in 1974, four years before BAPA and earlier than other aid agencies. Japan values potential of South-South Cooperation that could help a country solve development challenges in an efficient and effective way, because it enables the country to take advantage of the knowledge and experiences of other countries with similar geological, linguistic, geographical, cultural, and development conditions. Around 56,000 people in total have attended JICA's training-type Triangular Cooperation co-hosted by over sixty developing countries and JICA so far.
The Program, which has received the Solution Award this time, is Triangular Cooperation based on the innovative experience of hospital management in Sri Lanka, and it has been implemented since 2007. The innovation is employment of Total Quality Management (TQM) method in hospital management. It made achievements in reducing neonatal infections in spite of limited human, physical and financial resources. This system of TQM was originally developed in the Japanese manufacturing industry, comprising of 5S's organizational method (seiri (sort), seiton (set), seiso (shine), seiketsu (standardize) and shitsuke (sustain)) and kaizen (continuous quality improvement). JICA has helped systematize Sri Lankan successful experience into the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM approach as a methodological model to facilitate easier learning and adoption. JICA, in collaboration with Sri Lanka, has worked on improving the quality of medical services in 15 countries in Africa, through this approach. For the case of Tanzania, achievement of the approach includes reduction of waiting time for patients and increase of income at hospital due to improved accounting operations.
When JICA promotes South-South Cooperation and implements Triangular Cooperation, it creates many benefits beyond transferring useful knowledge to developing countries. Not only can Triangular Cooperation solve issues in final beneficiary countries, but it can also help developing countries (including emerging countries) accumulate their own implementation experiences for development cooperation and build their capacity as development partner. Activities with new emerging partners have deepened mutual understanding between developing countries and Japan. If more countries engage in effective development cooperation, the quality and quantity of global development assistance will increase in the future. This factor is another reason why JICA will continue to be a stronger supporter of South-South Cooperation.