May 12, 2017
On May 12, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a new Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at the JICA headquarters in Tokyo. The MoC was signed by President of JICA, Shinichi Kitaoka, and Director-General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva.
Since the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, JICA has fostered ties with domestic and foreign partners while grappling with how to ensure that initiatives have an impact toward the achievement of the SDGs. It is recognized that Africa, approximately two-thirds of which is desert or arid land, faces challenges such as burdens on the environment, and droughts and desertification that are accompanied by starvation and poverty. Africa also faces multi-layered issues, such as the effects of disappearing natural resources and land degradation on biodiversity and how conflict impedes agricultural activities, and even stronger initiatives are needed in response. To address such concerns, the MoC builds on an agreement signed between JICA and FAO in June 2013, adding more inclusive fields, including poverty reduction, combating climate change and conserving biodiversity.
Of the 17 SDGs that were established, the MoC focuses primarily on Goal 2 (ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture), Goal 13 (taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts), Goal 14 (conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources) and Goal 15 (sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation, and halting biodiversity loss), while indirectly addressing some of the other SDGs as well.
As topics of collaboration for assistance to Africa, which faces dire issues relating to food and nutrition, the MoC specifies the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD), which was launched at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), as well as the following initiatives covered at TICAD V and VI:
• The Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) approach
• The Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa (IFNA)
• The African Initiative for Combating Desertification to Strengthen Resilience to Climate Change in the Sahel and Horn of Africa
As a specialized agency of the United Nations, FAO has extensive knowledge and experience in food, agriculture, nutrition and sustainable natural resource activities, and through this collaborative partnership with FAO, JICA will effectively tackle development issues in those areas, strengthening its contributions toward eradicating poverty in developing countries and toward global peace and stability.