Official Development Assistance (ODA)
13. Steps to Cope with Regional Conflicts and the Role of ODA -- Important Contribution to Peace

Regional conflicts arising from ethnic and religious feud pose serious impediments in creating a new order in the post-Cold War international community. Finding a solution for such regional troubles calls for a combination of various efforts, such as political initiatives toward the conclusion of peace agreement, peace-keeping operations to ensure the observance of peace accord, and post-conflict restoration and rehabilitation efforts.

Restoration and nation-building activities are important, among others, in Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Palestinian Interim Self-Government, and ODA is playing a significant role in supporting such activities.

For Cambodia, Japan has led the creation of, and also chaired, the International Committee on the Reconstruction of Cambodia (ICORC), successfully playing its leadership role in the reconstruction process of Cambodia. In 1996, the Cambodian Government worked out a development program on its own, embarking on full-scale nation-building by self-help efforts.

A vital task for Bosnia-Herzegovina is to structure a new political system through a national election in September 1996. To the region, Japan has been extending ODA to render humanitarian assistance, aid refugees and support their recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where many Palestinians live, the establishment of a governing mechanism and improvement of the living conditions for residents are important agenda. Japan has extended the Palestinians support through international agencies in strengthening their administrative capabilities and addressing such basic human needs as the water supply and sewerage system and schools. In 1996, Japan began bilateral assistance (grant aid) to the Interim Self-Government, e.g. the Project for Construction of Jericho Hospital.

Efforts to prevent regional conflicts in the first place are important as well as those for post-conflict restoration and rehabilitation. Although causes of conflicts are not the same and some conflicts appear to be rooted in ethnic or religious rivalry, many cases, in fact, have been fueled by economic elements like extreme poverty. Against such background, Japan has supported the Middle East peace process by contributing to enhancing the social stability and creating political conditions for the peace process by providing economic support.