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 3. Assistance for Each Region > 6. Latin America and the Caribbean

6. Latin America and the Caribbean

Japan's bilateral ODA to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2004 was approximately US$393 million, 5.2% of total bilateral ODA.

In general, while there are still some countries that are unstable, Latin America and the Caribbean have been in good political and economical condition in recent years as a result of democratization and economic reform in the 1990s. In particular, moves toward multilateral regional economic integrations and bilateral and regional free trade agreements ( FTAs ) have continued since the 1990s, such as the Southern Common Market ( MERCOSUR ) and the Andean Community of the South American region, the Central American Integration System ( SICA ) of the Central American region, the Caribbean Community ( CARICOM ) of the Caribbean region, and the South American Community of Nations, which covers the entire South American continent. Strategies to promote economic growth and domestic structural reforms through enforcement of such economic partnerships are being strategically promoted.

At the same time, rapid economic reforms have caused drastic economic disparities within regions and countries. As a result, social issues including public security and poverty are becoming serious in some countries. The ODA Charter states that Japan will extend the necessary cooperation while taking into consideration the disparities arising within the region as well as within specific countries. In order to correct the disparities and alleviate the poverty issue, as well as to promote the steady development of regional economies, efforts are required in the BHN sectors to address basic issues such as education and health and medical care. In addition, Latin America and the Caribbean face diverse and serious environmental and social issues such as the depletion of tropical rain forests, environmental deterioration in large cities, and the formation of slums caused by concentrated populations in urban areas. Japan intends to continue its assistance to address these issues as well. In FY2004 in the area of environment Japan provided cooperation for projects that also contribute to the prevention of global warming, such as the Study on Sustainable Forestal Development: Inventory Survey and Management Plan in Cuba and the Project on Establishment of Control Capacity for Industrial Wastewater and Waste in Argentina. Various assistance efforts, including the development of human resources through training and other means, are being advanced to address issues such as poverty reduction, health and medical care, and disaster prevention. Also, there are a large number of migrants from Japan and ethnic Japanese descendants who traditionally serve as a special connection to Japan. Japan has been conducting technical cooperation through such people.

Furthermore, to tackle common issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, Japan has been actively implementing region-wide cooperation projects which also benefit neighboring regions by utilizing the traditional framework of bilateral assistance. Efforts to eradicate Chagas disease, which is endemic to the Central American region, have been expanded since implementation in Guatemala in 2002, to El Salvador and Honduras in 2004. Moreover, to enhance the basic learning skills of the region, the Project for the Improvement of Teaching Methods in Mathematics ( PROMETAM ), which was implemented in Honduras in 2003 and was highly regarded, will be expanded to additionally cover Nicaragua, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic. (See 1 of Part I, Chapter 2, Section 3 for more information on the PROMETAM project.)

Furthermore, in the Caribbean community, experts have been dispatched to enhance efforts in the area of disaster prevention. In addition, the Formulation of Master Plan for Development and Management of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Caribbean, which was adopted in FY2004 as the first comprehensive development study, is to be implemented in FY2005.

Talks are also being held with regional bodies such as MERCOSUR and the Andean Community in order to develop projects that benefit wide areas. For MERCOSUR, the "Study on Improvement of Packaging Technology for Merchandise Distribution in MERCOSUR" and the "MERCOSUR Tourism Promotion Project" are being implemented.

In such ways, the scope of projects are being expanded to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that face similar issues and economic situations, from the perspective of spreading the assistance effects widely to surrounding regions by the utilization of the existing assistance disbursements and of promoting the integration of the Latin America and Caribbean region.

In September 2004, Prime Minister Koizumi announced "A Vision for a New Japan-Latin America and Caribbean Partnership" during his visit to Brazil and Mexico. This vision is based on the two guiding principles of "Cooperation" and "Exchange" with Latin America and the Caribbean. Regarding the "Cooperation," Prime Minister Koizumi clarified the plan to focus on reactivating economic relationship through cooperation in such areas as resource development and infrastructure integration, addressing challenges of the international community including the simultaneous pursuit of economic development and environmental conservation, and promoting mutual understanding and person-to-person exchange. Keeping this vision in mind, Japan will continue to advance active assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Chart 31. Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the Latin America

Chart 31. Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the Latin America