Official Development Assistance (ODA)

(Provisional translation)

March 14, 2003

The Council of Overseas Economic Co-operation-Related Ministers

  1. In June, 1992, the Cabinet approved the present ODA Charter, in order to gain broader support for Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) both at home and abroad, and to implement it more effectively and efficiently. Ten years have passed since then, and the circumstances surrounding ODA have undergone major changes as follows. The government will review the ODA Charter, reflecting those changes.
    • (1) As the globalization progresses, the development issue is becoming more important for the international community. This trend is accentuated by the September. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.
    • (2) Concepts including "Sustainable development", "Poverty reduction", "Human security" and new fields, such as "Peace building", and furthermore "the U.N. Millennium Development Goals" are becoming the major international development agenda.
    • (3) In Japan, under severe economical and fiscal conditions, it is required that the implementation of ODA should be more strategic, prompt, transparent, and efficient.
    • (4) A growing range of organizations, including NGOs, volunteers, universities, local governments and business circles, have emerged as key players in the field of development assistance, and further public participation is required.
  2. To review the ODA Charter, the government will prepare a draft, based on the attached basic approaches, while coordinating the related ministries and agencies through the Inter-Ministerial Meeting on ODA. In this process, the discussions at the Board on Comprehensive ODA Strategy will be taken into consideration, and wide public discussion, including hearings from the implementing agencies, NGOs and business circles as well as public comments, will be carried out. The final decision will be made by the middle of 2003, after the deliberations at the Council of Overseas Economic Co-operation-Related Ministers.


Basic principle for the review of the ODA charter

1. Basic philosophy

  • (1) The present ODA Charter enumerates various rationales of Japan's ODA, including humanitarian viewpoint, interdependence within the international community, environmental conservation and a mission as a peace-loving nation. It also emphasizes the support for the self-help efforts by developing countries, and the promotion of the sound economic development by ensuring the efficient and fair distribution of resources and "good governance" in developing countries.
  • (2) In reviewing the ODA Charter, the basic philosophy of Japan's ODA will be more articlulated, adding viewpoints such as the security and prosperity of Japan as well as "the universal value" including the above elements.

2. Principles

  • (1) The present ODA Charter generally stipulates the principles of Japan's ODA as follows.

    Taking into account comprehensively each recipient country's request, its socioeconomic conditions, and Japan's bilateral relations with the recipient country, Japan's ODA will be provided in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter as well as the following principles.
    • (1) Environmental conservation and development should be pursued in tandem.
    • (2) Any use of ODA for military purposes or for aggravation of international conflicts should be avoided.
    • (3) Full attention should be paid to trends in recipient countries' military expenditures, their development and production of mass destruction weapons and missiles, their export and import of arms, etc.
    • (4) Full attention should be paid to efforts for promoting democratization and introduction of a market-oriented economy, and the situation regarding the securing of basic human rights and freedoms in the recipient country.
  • (2) In reviewing the ODA Charter, the government will review the so-called "request based approach" in a narrow sense, and emphasise the importance of the policy consultation with recipient countries, aiming to respond to the overall assistance needs, such as economic development and poverty reduction in the recipient countries.
  • (3) The government will continue to work on principles, reviewing the roles and functions which the principles in the present ODA Charter have fulfilled in Japan's ODA policy.

3. Priority

(1) Priority Regions

  • (a) The Present ODA Charter puts priority on Asian region, especially East Asian countries, member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • (b) In reviewing the ODA Charter, Japan's ODA will be more focused, while continuing to put priority on Asia. In the process of placing emphasis on the region, stages of development and changes in development needs in each country as well as the enhancement of the economic partnership in the region will be duly taken into consideration.

(2) Priority Issues

  • (a) The priority issues in the present ODA Charter are as follows: "Approach to Global Problems", "Basic Human Needs", "Human Resources Development, Research and Other Cooperation for Improvement and Dissemination of Technologies", "Infrastructure Improvement", and "Structural Adjustment".
  • (b) In the review process of the Charter, an adequate stipulation will be set in light of the following points, while taking into account the priority issues of the present Charter and the changes in international development issues.
    • Active use of ODA in peace building (peace consolidation and nation building)
    • "Human security"
    • International development goals (poverty reduction, etc.)

4. Policy formulation and implementation of ODA

In order to secure strategic, prompt, transparent and efficient implementation of ODA, a necessary stipulation should be set from the aspects of "policy formulation and implementation system", "necessary measures for effective and efficient implementation" and "matters for consideration in policy formulation and implemention", while reflecting recommendations concerning ODA reform.

(1) Policy formulation and implementation system

  • (a) Streamlining the process of formulating ODA strategy and policy for the entire government by strengthened coordination among the related ministries and agencies, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) plays a central role, and by utilizing their know-how.
  • (b) Reinforcing the coordination among the government and the implementing agencies (JICA, JBIC) and between the implementing agencies.
  • (c) Reinforcing the roles and functions of the field missions (embassies and offices of implementing agencies) in the policy-making process of ODA.

(2) Necessary measures for effective and efficient implementation

  • (a) Formulating comprehensive but prioritized country aid programs on the truly necessary assistance for the recipient countries, keeping in mind the effective linkage of different aid schemes. Implementing coherent ODA policies in accordance with these programs.
  • (b) Strengthening the policy consultations with the recipient countries.
  • (c) Developing partnership with other donor countries, including emerging donor countires, and international organizations, etc.
  • (d) Promoting the public participation in ODA by various actors including NGOs, universities, local governments and business circles.
  • (e) Securing transparency.
  • (f) Avoiding injustice, corruption and diversion of fund to improper purposes.
  • (g) Improving ODA evaluation.
  • (h) Improving the audit system, including introduction of the external auditing.
  • (i) Training and securing aid experts.

(3) Matters to be considered in policy formulation and implementation

Full consideration should be given to the following matters in the recipient countries.

  • (1) Social issues (gender, children, income gap).
  • (2) Participation of the local residents.
  • (3) Difference among various regions inside the developing countries.
  • (4) Relationship with trade and investment.

5. Measures to promote understanding and support for ODA

The following stipulations should be set for the pupose of promoting further understanding toward ODA by actively disseminating of information on Japan's ODA.

  • (a) Public relations and information disclosure.
  • (b) Promotion of development education.

6. Disclosure of information regarding the implementation of the ODA Charter

To enhance the accountability on the ODA Charter, the government will report the state of implementation of the ODA Charter in the "White paper on ODA" which is annually reported to the Cabinet.

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