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December 2, 2023 | Netherlands, EUI, Germany, US, Japan, UK, Climate | Share this update
On December 2, 2023, during the opening days of COP28, outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Rutte announced a commitment of EUR15 million (US$16 million) to help establish the Loss and Damage Fund.
The EUI pledged US$125 million, Germany and the UAE each pledged US$100 million, the UK pledged GBP60 million (US$78 million), the US pledged US$18 million, and Japan pledged US$10 million. The total funds surpass the US$400 million needed to initiate the establishment and operation of the Loss and Damage Fund.
Dutch NGO ActionAid Netherlands responded by commenting that while the pledge is a fair initial contribution to the fund, it is far from a "fair share" for the Netherlands when based on the country’s emissions levels.
November 29, 2023 | Japan, Climate, Global Health, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update
On November 29, 2023, the Tokyo-based think tank HGPI published a report containing a global health proposal emphasizing the significance of addressing global challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the context of the 50-year Japan - ASEAN friendship.
The report was entitled “Coming Together to Protect and Foster: Promoting Innovative and Sustainable Planetary Health in the Asia-Pacific Region to Build Resilient Health Systems”. The proposed initiative aimed to incorporate a planetary health perspective into all aspects of decision-making, including the establishment of resilient health systems and fostering collaboration. The proposal aligned with upcoming events, including the 2023 Japan - ASEAN summit and the 2024 PALM10 meeting. It reflected Japan’s commitment to regional stability and cooperation in the face of shared challenges, including climate change and health crises.
HGPI called on the Japanese government and Asia-Pacific region as a whole to take action based on the following three directives:
November 28, 2023 | Japan, Gender Equality | Share this update
On November 28, 2023, Japan approved a JPY732 million (US$5 million) grant for a UNDP initiative addressing GBV in South Sudan.
The initiative is slated to establish community centers to enhance preparedness and response to GBV. The project addresses the severe impact of GBV in South Sudan, particularly against women and girls, which has been exacerbated by tribal conflicts and a lack of comprehensive support services.
The plan focuses on the Central, Eastern, and Western Equatoria states with the stated goal of creating a safe environment for GBV victims and vulnerable women. Key components included economic empowerment, social reintegration, judicial services, psychological care, technical training, and the development of community centers. The initiative is intended to empower GBV victims, promote social reintegration, and foster economic independence, which contribute to the improvement of inclusive social services in South Sudan.
Japan’s commitment aligns with the women, peace, and security action plan addressing sexual violence in conflict zones. This initiative reflects Japan’s efforts, as expressed during TICAD8 in August 2022, emphasizing the importance of strengthening the capacity of judicial authorities to respond to GBV and sexual violence in conflict zones.
November 28, 2023 | Japan, Global Health | Share this update
On November 28, 2023, Japan approved a financial contribution of US$10 million under the ASEF's Project for Strengthening Preparedness and Response to COVID-19 and other Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The assistance is slated to support the Stockpile Project, enhancing preparedness and response capacities for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in five ASEM countries in Asia. The initiative will be facilitated through the IFRC. Medical devices, cold-chain equipment for vaccines, personal protective equipment, and other essentials are planned to be provided to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
The goods will include pulse-oximeters, oxygen concentrators, cold-chain equipment for vaccines, medical devices, COVID-19 rapid testing kits, personal protective equipment, and medicines. This initiative underscored Japan’s commitment to regional collaboration and preparedness against the ongoing pandemic and potential future health challenges.
ASEF was established in 1997 in Singapore as a permanent body of ASEM, focused on enhancing mutual sociocultural understanding between Asia and Europe.
November 22, 2023 | Japan, Gender Equality, Climate | Share this update
On November 22, 2023, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida participated in the G20 Leaders' Video Conference in India, and discussed crucial global issues including multilateral reforms, climate change, digital governance, and women-led development.
Kishida acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and welcomed the African Union as a permanent G20 member. He highlighted the complexity of global crises, emphasizing Russia's aggression against Ukraine as a threat to sustainable development.
Addressing multilateral system reforms, Kishida stressed the need to strengthen the UN, including Security Council reform. He proposed enhancing the functions of multilateral development banks to support developing countries facing global challenges. Kishida also called for increased efforts to limit temperature rise, urging all parties to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 and ambitious emission reduction targets.
In the digital sphere, Kishida emphasized the importance of international governance for AI, introducing Japan's efforts through the Hiroshima AI Process. He expressed Japan's commitment to promoting safe and secure AI globally.
Kishida also underscored the need to close the gender gap and enhance women's participation across all sectors. He outlined Japan's commitment to shedding light on "human dignity" under Brazil's upcoming G20 Presidency, pledging continued contributions to global cooperation in addressing diverse challenges.
November 22, 2023 | Japan, Global Health | Share this update
On November 22, 2023, influential business leaders in Japan gathered for the 5th Global Health Academy.
The Global Health Academy was designed to elevate awareness and interest in services and corporate endeavours contributing to global health. It showcased a panel of individuals who shared insights under the overarching theme of The Last One Mile in Land, Sea, and Air: Supporting Global Health in the Global South.
Representatives from the private and public sector focused on the pivotal role of the ‘last one mile’ in global health, exploring innovative approaches and transportation methods for vaccines and medical supplies in the challenging terrains of low- and middle-income countries.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attended the occasion as a special guest and delivered a lecture on vaccines and LICs against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The discussions underscored the paramount importance of public-private partnerships and the pressing need for collaborative efforts to address global health challenges.
Japan’s proactive involvement in supporting global health, with a particular emphasis on contributions to COVAX and the pursuit of equitable vaccine distribution was highlighted. The presentation showcased the role of Japanese companies in not only responding to current health crises, but also preparing for future challenges through international collaboration and innovative solutions.
Throughout the event, companies such as Toyota Tsusho and Yamaha Motors featured their global health initiatives. The initiatives included the deployment of specialized vehicles designed for vaccine transportation in challenging and remote terrains.
The overarching initiative known as Global Health Action was featured at the end of the conference. Spearheaded by Japanese business leaders, the initiative aims to position Japan as a frontrunner in supporting global health, fostering innovation, and addressing both global and domestic health challenges. The initiative has a stated goal of consolidating and visualizing the diverse initiatives of Japanese companies in the global health sector. It unveiled the Global Health Map Site, which created a shared narrative of impactful contributions to global health.
Japan has expressed interest in exploring greater corporate involvement in ODA delivery. Japan has called on private companies to take on a greater role globally and has adopted policies to encourage participation.
November 20, 2023 | Japan | Share this update
On November 20, 2023, a Japanese delegation led by senior officials from industry and the foreign ministry visited Ukraine ahead of an upcoming reconstruction conference hosted by Japan.
The delegation included representatives from major Japanese companies and engaged in discussions in Kyiv with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Ukrainian officials.
Shmyhal emphasized Ukraine's urgent need for approximately US$42 billion in budget support for 2023 and 2024 to address a substantial deficit and support Ukrainian reconstruction efforts. The visit provided a platform for Japanese officials and businesses to learn about Ukraine's specific needs, foster discussions on potential projects, and expedite public and private collaborative efforts for reconstruction.
The visit underscored Japan's ongoing commitment to support Ukraine, aligning with its multifaceted approach to international development. Japan also supported the reopening of the JICA Ukraine office in November 2023, with plans to facilitate projects in agriculture, education, and industry. These efforts complemented earlier commitments, such as Japan's US$471 million donation to the World Bank's Ukraine Relief Fund in April 2023 and the announcement of grant assistance projects totaling US$470 million in March 2023, which focused on recovery and reconstruction efforts.
November 17, 2023 | Japan | Share this update
On November 17, 2023, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida participated in a conference dedicated to enhancing collaboration with the Indo-Pacific and low- and middle-income countries.
The discussions emphasized a departure from the global integration trend and signaled a pivotal moment in international relations. Kishida outlined Japan's commitment not only to aligning with like-minded nations but also deepening ties with emerging economies.
Kishida highlighted key strategies, including the unveiling of a new plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific during his visit to India and efforts to strengthen relations with partners at the G7 Hiroshima Summit. The collaborative approach involves utilizing ODA strategically and promoting the on-site presence of Japanese companies to bolster economic activities. The plan outlined goals to establish a stable international order, create flagship projects through public-private collaboration, and ensure mutual benefits for both Japan and partner nations.
The conference served as a platform for government ministries and agencies to coordinate development efforts, with a focus on implementing urgent economic measures. The conference aimed to facilitate discussion and formulate a concrete policy for collaboration between Japan and partner countries by spring 2024.
November 10, 2023 | Japan | Share this update
On November 10, 2023, JICA formalized a collaboration with the Philippines in Metropolitan Davao and marked the signing of a Record of Discussions for the Project for Comprehensive and Sustainable Urban Development Master Plan for Metropolitan Davao.
This technical cooperation project is designed to address the challenges posed by the rapid population growth and escalating urban issues in the third-largest metropolitan area of the Philippines.
Metropolitan Davao, home to more than 3 million people, grapples with increasing population demands and worsening urban problems. In response to these challenges, the project is slated to formulate a long-term regional development plan that fosters balanced urban growth, environmental conservation, and economic stimulation. The envisioned master plan will serve as a guide for infrastructure development, aligning with the Republic Act 11708 to support the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority in providing efficient services across the region.
The plan addressed local concerns as well as a broader global agenda. By promoting balanced urban development, environmental conservation, and economic activities, the project aligned with the UN SDGs, specifically SDG #9 and SDG #11.
November 10, 2023 | Japan | Share this update
On November 10, 2023, it was reported that the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is requesting a budget dedicated to the offer-based approach for fiscal year 2024.
There are hopes that this budget will be allocated in addition to the regular ODA budget, as the new approach is expected to require significant resources.
Japan’s new Development Cooperation Framework marked a significant transformation in the country’s approach to ODA. The new framework moved away from the traditional request-based approach, where Japan would respond to requests from partner countries, and toward an offer-based approach, where Japan will proactively make proposals and actively engage in dialogue and collaboration with other countries.
In the 1980s and 1990s, development advocates frequently criticized the request-based approach, as projects appeared to be driven more by the needs of Japanese companies as opposed to those of partner countries. The new framework aims to address this issue by promoting offer-based cooperation. Experts have expressed concern that while this approach may bring greater structure to Japan’s ODA processes, it may restrict partner countries’ abilities to contribute and advocate for their own needs.
US$ amounts are cited directly from sources; in the absence of an official conversion, they are calculated using the previous week's average of the US Federal Reserve's daily exchange rates.
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