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 5. Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy > 1. System for Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy > (4) Enhancing Policy Consultation

(4) Enhancing Policy Consultation

For many years, Japan's assistance has taken the "request-oriented principle" whereby assistance was implemented based on requests from recipient countries. However, in order to derive full benefits from development assistance, a common awareness and understanding must be acquired regarding the content of assistance provided to the developing country through close policy consultations with the recipient country. For this reason, the ODA Charter states that, while Japan still regards requests from recipient countries as necessary from the perspective of supporting the self-help efforts of developing countries, it engages actively in policy consultations regarding formulating and implementing ODA policies before requests are received. The aim of these consultations is to allow the recipient countries' development policies and assistance needs to be clearly ascertained and to achieve coordination between the development policies of developing countries and Japan's assistance policies.

One of the measures aimed at strengthening policy consultation in FY2003 was the launching of country-based ODA task forces (hereafter, ODA-TFs) consisting primarily of officers of Japanese embassies and the local offices of implementing agencies such as JICA and JBIC. Through vigorous policy consultations with recipient government by ODA-TFs, Japan seeks to make its assistance policies compatible with the development policies of developing countries and thereby achieve efficient and effective assistance. This role of ODA-TFs has been affirmed in the New Medium-Term Policy on ODA, which states, "ODA-TFs along with participants from Tokyo as necessary will undertake policy consultations with recipient countries in order to share perspectives regarding medium-term priorities and policy/institutional issues as well as to iron out differences so that the positions on the medium-term measures specified in Country Assistance Programs and assistance policies for priority issues and specific sectors are reflected in the actual formulation, request, and implementation of projects." In FY2004, ODA-TFs implemented locally-based policy consultations in many countries including Viet Nam, Cambodia, the Philippines, China, Bolivia, El Salvador, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.

Furthermore, the ODA Charter states that Japan will actively engage in project formulation before receiving requests from developing countries and, at the same time, support efforts to improve policies and systems. Specifically, Japan supports developing countries in improving their project formulation capabilities by conducting research projects for project formulation and, by identifying and developing promising projects in recipient countries, fulfilling the task of setting a course for cooperation with the government of the country in question. In addition, Japan dispatches JICA project planning and research staff to the local area who are knowledgeable in the priority development sectors of the developing country and who actively explore, identify, and develop promising projects in cooperation with related agencies in the recipient country.