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JICA-RI Director Tambo Discusses Aid Policy at UNU-WIDER 30th Anniversary Conference

October 8, 2015

A conference was held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) in Helsinki, Finland, where the institute is located, Sept. 17 to 19, 2015.


JICA-RI Director Tambo (left)
JICA-RI Director Tambo (left)

The three-day conference included five general sessions and 26 parallel sessions. It featured keynote addresses by Nobel Prize winners in Economics Amartya Sen and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz. It was attended by some 600 researchers, practitioners and students from various developed and developing countries. JICA Research Institute Director Ichiro Tambo chaired the session "Aid Policy and the Post-2015 Agenda."


The main objective of the parallel sessions was to present the findingss of UNU-WIDER research projects. However, the session on Sept. 19 chaired by Tambo was a discussion of aid policy and it garnered wide interest. Panelists included Myles Wickstead, who was long involved in British aid and diplomacy, such as at the Department for International Development, and is currently a visiting professor at Open University; Richard Manning, former chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (DAC); and Richard Carey, former director for Development Co-operation at the OECD. Ritva Reinikka, former director for Human Development, Africa Region at the World Bank, served as commentator. The experts, who have been involved in development assistance policy and practice, exchanged opinions on aid policy under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its new role in development.


Wiskstead, who was the first panelist to speak, reflected on aid policy after World War II and elaborated on his personal view of what the SDGs mean for policy. Next Manning gave his views on the aid policies of member countries of the DAC from the standpoints of aid volume, objectives including national interest and the effectiveness. Carey noted that it is important to invite China to participate in discussion within the international community and monitoring of the SDGs, even amid strong skepticism about China's foreign assistance.


Chidren of India
Children of India
(Photo: JICA/Shinichi Kuno)

Regarding the SDGs, panelists spoke about their expectations in light of the "universality" that both developing countries and developed countries will work toward the same targets unlike the MDGs, which were targets only for developing countries. Given the experiences of the MDGs and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, Reinikka, the commentator, asked what should be done to make the SDGs an international common standard.


In the question and answer session that followed, the panel received many questions and comments from the various participants: Kim Young-mok, president of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, and Justin Lin, the former chief economist of the World Bank. This discussion centered on the view on China's foreign aid.


Reflecting on the session, Tambo said, "The participants' reaction was that the SDGs will probably become a common international platform, including for developed countries, and become a new international norm. I felt once again that there is great meaning in this."


Regarding the discussion of Chinese assistance, he said, "Japanese aid also was subject to criticism from Europe, the United States and others in the 1960s and '70s. However, through dialogue with DAC members, we increased its impartiality and transparency and reached certain standard. We should build on our past experiences when taking future actions. "

DaySeptember 17, 2015(Thu) - September 19, 2015(Sat)
PlaceHelsinki, Finland

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