Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Japan's Action

March 22, 2021


Japan regards the concept of human security as an important pillar of its foreign policy. It has been conducting a variety of activities in order to promote it—both in terms of spreading the concept in Japan and the international community, and putting it into practice on the ground through assistance.

Efforts to Spread the Concept

Japan has been striving to spread the concept by discussing human security at bilateral and multilateral conferences, and working to ensure it is mentioned in documents created as a result of these conferences. In 2006, Japan also established "Friends of Human Security," an unofficial, open-ended forum based in New York, with the aim of increasing the number of countries interested in the concept. A total of seven meetings were held. At the meetings, participants discussed how the concept of human security could contribute to a wide range of issues, including climate change, health, peacebuilding, global economic and financial crises, violence against women, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and food security.

The spread of the concept through the Friends of Human Security meetings prompted the UN General Assembly to hold the first informal thematic debate on human security in May 2008, and a UN Secretary-General's report was also created in April 2010. Furthermore, the first UN General Assembly official debate was held in May 2010, and the first resolution on human security was adopted by the UN General Assembly in July, 2010. In response to this General Assembly resolution, a second UN Secretary-General's report on human security was published in April 2012. In September of the same year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the common understanding of human security. This marked a major step forward in the discussions on the concept. In May 2013, the High-Level Event on Human Security was held at the United Nations.

In addition to these developments, Symposiums on Human Security have been held repeatedly since 2000. Through these activities, Japan is actively spreading the concept of human security both at home and in the international community.

Furthermore, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the lives, livelihoods, and dignity of people all around the world. In response to this situation, Prime Minister Suga delivered a statement at the General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2020 in which he called the spread of the coronavirus a human security crisis, and said setting a goal of "leaving no one's health behind" was required. He also announced his commitment to overcoming the various challenges and accelerating efforts to achieve the SDGs and tackle other global issues from the perspective of human security in the new age. To that end, he proposed tapping into the wisdom from all around the world to deepen discussions.

Practical Activities on the Ground through Assistance

In order to promote human security, it is necessary to show people visually why it is important. For this reason, Japan is putting energy into actually applying human security through assistance.

Specifically, it made assistance from the perspective of human security one of its basic policies for aid in the revised ODA Charter of 2003, and the Development Cooperation Charter formulated in 2015 also regards it as the guiding principle at the foundation of Japan's development cooperation. Under guiding principles such as these, Japan has been actively assisting projects aimed at achieving human security. Examples of this include providing bilateral assistance such as the Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects, and assistance through international organizations such as The Trust Fund for Human Security, which was established in the United Nations in 1999 through a Japanese initiative.

In particular, the UN Trust Fund for Human Security is highly regarded as a scheme aimed at human security. It supports projects in which all actors, including governments, international organizations, NGOs, civil societies, etc., cooperate in a comprehensive and cross-sectional manner to address the diverse threats that the international community currently faces—threats like poverty, climate change, conflict, landmines, refugee issues, narcotics, and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

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