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Statement by Ambassador Shigeki Sumi
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the High level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation
December 1, 2009, Nairobi
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me first of all express my delegation's gratitude to the Government of Kenya for hosting this conference. My gratitude is also extended to Ambassadors Palsson and Alsaidi for their initiatives and work on the outcome negotiation.
Today, "South-South and Triangular Cooperation" is widely recognized as an indispensable means of international development cooperation. Japan has always been the frontrunner in the promotion of South-South cooperation, based on the historical fact that it joined the ranks of donor countries half a century ago while still receiving development assistance.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you Japan's experience and lessons learned on this matter.
1. Japan's ODA
In 1954, Japan made a decision to participate in the Colombo Plan, which was a turning point that led to the start of technical assistance such as acceptance of trainees and dispatch of experts.
At that time, Japan was still in the process of postwar reconstruction and was receiving assistance from overseas, including World Bank loans in order to develop important infrastructure, such as the bullet train, which has become a basis for Japan's subsequent economic development. This situation was not different from what we call South-South cooperation today.
2. Advantages of South-South and triangular Cooperation
Based on this background, Japan has recognized the value of South-South cooperation and actively supported other countries to engage in this form of cooperation.
Japan's "Official Development Assistance Charter," a document compiled in 1992 which sets forth the basic policy principles of Japan's ODA, states that "...in order to contribute to the transfer of technology suitable to the level of development of the recipient countries, Japan will provide such assistance as will enable the adequate utilization of the knowledge and technologies possessed by other developing countries." Revised in 2003, the Charter stipulates that Japan will "...actively promote South-South cooperation in partnership with more advanced developing countries in Asia and other regions."
South-South cooperation can also lead to the enhancement of capabilities and capacities of countries of the South, as they learn through supporting and guiding other developing countries.
3. The modalities of Triangular Cooperation
Japan has supported South-South cooperation in the form of triangular cooperation for over 30 years, and there are four types of modalities.
First, our technical cooperation mainly takes the form of "Third-Country Training Programs" or "Dispatching Third Country Experts." For instance, the "Third Country Training Programs" enroll participants from the host country and neighboring countries for training at research or educational institutions within the host country. Participants can gain knowledge in a socio-cultural environment which is similar to their own, and acquire technologies that are relatively easy to apply in their own countries.
During the fiscal year 2007, Japan provided assistance to a total of 138 Third Country Training courses conducted in 33 developing countries, with the participation of over 3,000 trainees.
Second, we have promoted the "Partnership Program for South-South Cooperation," which is a comprehensive framework agreed by the Government of Japan and middle-income countries to jointly support their neighboring countries or countries with common grounds in language, history, culture, etc. Currently, Japan maintains such partnership programs with 12 countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
Third, Japan holds the JICA-ASEAN Regional Meeting every year in order to promote South-South cooperation among ASEAN countries. Through this meeting, we facilitate "matchmaking" between the needs and wisdom, encouraging assistance among countries in the same region.
Finally, Japan also promotes South-South cooperation through international organizations. We have made voluntary contributions to UNDP and to the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) to support their activities to facilitate South-South cooperation. In December 2008, JICA supported the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (SU/SSC) by co-hosting a workshop on "Increasing Effectiveness of South-South Cooperation for Development" on the occasion of the Global South-South Development Expo, which serves as a platform for the promotion of South-South cooperation since 2003. This year, on 14 December, JICA will co-organize the High-level Meeting on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Washington D.C. together with the SU/SSC and International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a pre-event of the Second Global South-South Development Expo. We encourage active participation of experts from both developed and developing countries in this meeting, as we believe that it will be a good occasion for all of us to exchange experiences in building innovative South-South and triangular cooperation partnership arrangements.
4. Future Scenario of Japan's Triangular Cooperation
Let me now turn to Japan's perspective in promoting South-South cooperation, in particular in view of achieving the MDGs in Africa. As referred to in the report of the Secretary-General prepared for this Conference, Japan was the first developed country to offer substantial and sustained support for South-South cooperation. In 1993, Japan launched the First Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD I) to address African development issues under the principles of "Africa's ownership" and the "partnership" between Africa and the international community. In May 2008 TICAD IV was held in Yokohama, which greatly contributed to laying out a path towards sustainable development of Africa. Co-organized by Japan, the UN, UNDP and the World Bank, this Conference was a genuinely all-participatory forum that involved representatives from African and Asian countries, developed countries, international institutions and civil society.
Africa-Asia cooperation has always been an important pillar of the TICAD process. For instance, in June this year, Japan co-organized the fifth Africa-Asia Business Forum in Kampala in collaboration with the Government of Uganda and relevant United Nations agencies. This Forum focused on the theme "Forging Business Linkages for Sustainable Tourism Development in Africa." Over 250 participants from more than 30 countries of Africa and Asia gathered to this event.
In order to foster effective partnership with emerging donors and middle-income countries in supporting other developing countries, Japan intends to facilitate dialogue on aid policies and support strengthening of implementing capacities. Moreover, in the process of triangular cooperation involving countries of the South as partners, Japan stands ready to support the efforts of these partners to achieve better development outcomes by improving transparency and promoting responsible lending. Consideration of the environmental and social issues, human rights and governance in their cooperation activities should also be enhanced. These efforts will eventually improve the effectiveness of South-South and triangular cooperation.
In South-South and triangular cooperation, all stakeholders, including developing and developed countries, civil society, private sectors, and academia, should join hands and increase efforts to achieve the MDGs, despite severe setbacks caused by multiple crises. Japan is willing to further support South-South and triangular cooperation, while respecting ownership of the host country and emphasizing capacity-building of the participants.
I Thank you.
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