JICA Ogata Research Institute

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North-East Asian Development Cooperation Forum 2015 Held at JICA-RI

November 13, 2015

The JICA Research institute co-hosted the North-East Asian Development Cooperation Forum in Tokyo on Oct. 31, 2015. At the event, researchers and academics from throughout the region discussed development issues from the perspective of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Participants of the forum
Participants of the forum

The event was held at the JICA Ichigaya Building and sponsored by JICA-RI, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Japan Society for International Development (JASID).


Northeast Asian countries have a unique experience as both recipients and donors of aid, as well as the experience of transformation from recipients to donors in recent history. In light of the potential that their cooperation in development assistance bring significant benefits to recipient countries, the first Forum was held in Seoul last year, bringing together the four countries in North-East Asia - China, Japan, South Korea and Russia. The meeting in Tokyo was the second forum.


The participants, who specialize in development cooperation in Northeast Asia, hailed from countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Russia.


JICA Research Institute Director Ichiro Tambo was one of four opening speakers. He told the audience that it is time to start thinking of the implementation for achieving the SDGs, and quality growth will be key to do it. He added that JICA-RI is undertaking a literature review to further define "quality growth" and help policy-makers, academics and practitioners better support the SDGs.


Tambo also talked about Japan's history of going from a recipient of aid from the United States and the World Bank during its period of postwar reconstruction to being recognized as one of the top donor countries by the 1980s. He noted that Korea, Russia and China may have had a similar experience.


Tambo's opening speech
Tambo's opening speech

"We'll be grateful if we could contribute to the quality socioeconomic development of developing countries in some way or other through our in-depth discussions at this forum today," he concluded.


During the first session, "From MDG to SDG," Shun-ichi Murata, former deputy executive secretary of ESCAP, spoke about the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the SDGs, setting the tone for the forum to follow.


Though the SDGs emphasize economic growth, there is a widening gap between rich and poor, including resource distribution and education, Murata noted.


"So that is where governance comes in - how we are going to redistribute that growth," he said.


In the second session, "Sustainable Development Goals - roles of development cooperation of North-East Asian countries," Tatsufumi Yamagata of the Institute of Developing Economies, part of the Japan External Trade Organization, gave a presentation entitled "Sustainable Development Goal: The Conflict Between Sustainability and Development" that was the topic of much discussion during the question and answer session at the end of the session.


He said the shift from an emphasis on developing countries in the MDGs to both developing countries and developed countries in the SDGs, a concept known as "universality," may dilute the emphasis on poverty reduction. The North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum, he said, should watch whether donors weaken their focus on poverty reduction. He also noted that the new Japanese Development Cooperation Charter mentions the national interests of Japan for the first time.


Koji Yamada
Koji Yamada,
JICA Operations Strategy Department

In the third session, "Development finance," Koji Yamada of the JICA Operations Strategy Department talked about mobilization of domestic finance resources, citing a JICA project in Mongolia. Other panelists presented the role of multilateral or bilateral loans and the new banks, which was followed by discussion of tax systems and other finance policy for development.


In the last session, "Means of Implementation, including knowledge sharing, collective actions towards SDGs," presentations were given on big data utilization and the sharing of development knowledge.


The participants confirmed the need to advance development cooperation in Northeast Asia, despite recognizing some challenges in this endeavor.


DayOctober 31, 2015(Sat)
PlaceJICA Ichigaya building

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