Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2005




Part I features the Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs ), the common development challenges of the entire world.

The MDGs are the development goals that were established as the common development challenges to be tackled by the entire world in the 21st century based on the 2000 United Nations ( UN ) Millennium Declaration. There are eight MDGs, including the eradication of poverty and the achievement of universal primary education, and currently most of the countries in the world, including Japan, are endeavoring to achieve them by 2015.

It was decided to review progress toward achievement of the MDGs once every five years, and 2005 is important because it is the first such review year. Looking at current progress toward achievement of the MDGs by region, although the situation in East Asia has been relatively improved, there is still a large poor population in South Asia, and greater efforts are necessary there. Furthermore, achievement of the MDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa is doubtful, and this region requires particular consideration. At the UN World Summit in September 2005, more than 180 heads of state from throughout the world gathered and reaffirmed their commitment to work toward achievement of the MDGs.

Japan is also actively working toward achieving the MDGs. In doing so Japan places emphasis on ownership of developing countries and partnerships within the international community; perspectives of "Human security," focusing on individuals; poverty reduction through economic growth; and peace-building and disaster-prevention measures that are prerequisites for development.

In order to achieve poverty reduction, the first MDG, it is necessary to improve the incomes of the poor in developing countries through economic growth achieved by improving investment climates and developing socio-economic infrastructures. Based on this approach, Japan has provided support for large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Eastern Seaboard Development Program in Thailand and for small-scale infrastructure developments such as the development of irrigation facilities in rural villages, and has achieved positive results.

Moreover, support for basic social services that directly benefit the poor are also necessary for achieving the MDGs. For this reason Japan has advanced various measures in the social sectors related to MDGs 2-7. Successful examples of such cooperation include disseminating Maternal and Child Health Handbooks in the health sector and strengthening residents' organizations in the water and sanitation sectors.

It is necessary for the entire international community, including Japan, to continue to work toward achieving the MDGs. Thus, Japan has positioned the MDGs as one important pillar of its development assistance policies and announced at major international conferences held in 2005 a number of policies designed to contribute to such achievement. These policies include endeavoring to ensure a credible and sufficient level of ODA, increasing ODA volume by US$10 billion over the next five years, and doubling ODA to Africa over the next three years. In the future Japan will steadily move to implement these commitments and contribute to achieving the MDGs, while continuing to work to make ODA more efficient and more effective.