Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2005

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2004 > Chapter 2 Details and New Policies about Japan's ODA:Striving for Further ODA Reforms > Section 2. Measures for Each of the Priority Issues > 1. Poverty Reduction > (3) Water and Sanitation

(3) Water and Sanitation

"Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Target: A Mid-Term Assessment of Progress" was compiled by WHO and UNICEF in August 2004. According to this report, approximately 1.1 billion people in 2002 worldwide had no access to safe drinking water through such means as waterworks or wells, of which approximately 0.7 billion lived in Asia and approximately 0.3 billion in Africa. Furthermore, approximately 2.6 billion people around the world had no access to basic sanitation such as sewage systems, of which approximately 1.9 billion lived in Asia and approximately 0.5 billion in Africa.

The issue of water and sanitation is a serious problem that concerns people's lives. According to WHO, diarrheal diseases from easily preventable causes claim the lives of approximately 5,000 young children throughout the world every day. To improve such situations, the UN has been advancing various efforts. It set an MDG target to "Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation" and marks the period from 2005 to 2015 as the "International Decade for Action Water for Life." For example, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development ( CSD ) devoted its 2004/2005 cycle on the themes of water, sanitation, and human settlements. The results of these discussions and negotiations were compiled in the "Decision Adopted by the Commission" at the 13th CSD session held in April 2005. Furthermore, the first session of the UN "Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation" was held in July 2004 in New York, where Japan's former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto served as a chair. The aim of the board is to heighten people's awareness on issues of water and sanitation, assist in mobilizing funds for projects, and promote new partnerships.

Japan has been making major contributions in the area of water and sanitation. To the present, it has consistently been the top donor among the DAC countries since the 1990s. In 2003, Japan provided approximately US$1 billion, accounting for more than 40% of the global total (total among DAC countries: approximately US$2.3 billion). 16

In FY2004 Japan extended approximately ¥20.1 billion in grant aid and approximately ¥204.0 billion in yen loan (approximately 31.2% of the total yen loan) in the area of water and sanitation, making up a total of approximately ¥224.1 billion. When considering the targets of disbursement, the ratio of drinking water and sanitation was the largest at 60%, followed by afforestation at 15%, and disaster reduction and irrigation at 12% each.

Moreover, with regard to building and strengthening international partnerships, Japan has been pursuing collaboration with the United States through "Clean Water for People. A United States-Japan Partnership to Provide Safe Water and Sanitation to the World's Poor." 17 In this context, the United States and Japan are examining issues, such as ways to attract private funds for regional water and sewerage infrastructures jointly developed by Japan's yen loan and USAID's assistance schemes in the four countries of Indonesia, India, the Philippines, and Jamaica. In the Philippines, a new financing scheme was created as a collaboration between the existing loan aid and USAID's investment guarantee. In addition, the creation of the Philippine Water Revolving Fund ( PWRF ) is under consideration as a new approach to develop water and sewerage infrastructures by combining public and private funds.

Furthermore, on the occasion of the 3rd World Water Forum Ministerial Conference, which was held in March 2003 in Kyoto, Japan announced the "Initiative for Japan's ODA on Water" and clarified its policy to advance comprehensive efforts including not only the provision of drinking water and sanitation, but also the improvement of water productivity, water pollution control, disaster mitigation, and water resources management.

The current status of the three salient measures focused in this Initiative are outlined below.

A. Providing Drinking Water and Sanitation to Poor Countries and Regions

Water Resource Grant Aid, which was established in FY2003, was merged with Grant Aid for Global Environment in FY2004 and changed its name to Grant Aid for Water Resources and Environment. Approximately US$20 billion was allocated to 43 projects in FY2004.

For example, assistance for the "Project for Groundwater Development and Sanitation Improvement in the Northern Province (I)" was extended to Zambia, one of the low-income landlocked countries in southern Africa. Access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is still behind in Zambia, and the access rate is only about 30% in the rural areas. In many villages that lack sufficient water supply facilities, residents are forced to rely on such means as shallow, hand-dug wells or pools of water found in dried up rivers located several kilometers away for daily use. This has caused an increase in water-related illnesses and compounded burdens of water drawing labor for women, which has resulted in serious consequences in various aspects including residents' economic activities and education. In order to tackle this issue, the Zambian government has been positioning the improvement of water supply and sanitation as one of its priority measures in its national water policy, as well as its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).

Pump repair mechanics undergoing training (Zambia: Project for Groundwater Development and Sanitation Improvement in the Northern Province)
Pump repair mechanics undergoing training (Zambia: Project for Groundwater Development and Sanitation Improvement in the Northern Province)

Over the two years of the above project, which is made up of first and second phases, water supply facilities are to be built and well-drilling equipment is to be supplied at 175 sites within seven counties.These sites have some of the poorest water supply and sanitation conditions among the northern provinces, and they were chosen either for having not received assistance from other donors or for lacking sufficient assistance. Furthermore, the project advances cooperative work aimed at transferring technologies to local engineers, improving capabilities of operation and maintenance, and training technical experts.

As a result of the implementation of this project, approximately 40,000 targeted local residents now have a sustainable supply of safe water. At the same time, a system for developing, operating, and maintaining water supply facilities through voluntary participation of local residents is expected to help improve sanitary conditions, reduce water-related illnesses, and mitigate water-drawing labor for women, among other effects.

B. Addressing the Needs to Provide Large-scale Financing to Urban Areas

In FY2004 Japan offered yen loans at a lower-than-usual interest rate for nine projects related to afforestation, prevention of water pollution, and others, totaling approximately US$83 billion. For example, regarding India's "Ganga Action Plan Project (Varanasi)," Japan provided assistance for construction and renovation of sewerage treatment facilities in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, located in northern India. This project contributed to the improvement of water quality of the River Ganges by offering assistance at an interest rate of 0.75% (redemption period: 40 years, which includes a deferment period of 10 years), an extremely concessional rate by international standards.

C. Assisting the Self-help Endeavors and Capacity-Building Efforts of Developing Countries

Under the Initiative for Japan's ODA on Water, Japan plans to train approximately 1,000 personnel in the field of water supply and sewerage treatment over five years beginning in FY2003. In FY2004, 50 experts on the field of water supply and sewerage treatment were dispatched to 18 countries, and training was given to 776 trainees from 66 countries. A cumulative total of 97 experts were dispatched, and 1,396 trainees were accepted since FY2003. Having already met the original goals, Japan will continue cooperative efforts for human resources development.