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 > (5) Strengthening Functions at the Field Level

(5) Strengthening Functions at the Field Level

To further improve ODA in terms of its strategy, transparency, efficiency and accountability, it is indispensable to strengthen the local role in the development of country-specific aid strategies. Based on this understanding, the ODA Charter stipulates the policy of "strengthening functions of agencies in the field" whose specific elements are spelled out in the Medium-Term Policy on ODA. Under this policy, it is aimed to strengthen the functions of country-based ODA Task Forces (hereafter ODA-TFs) consisting of Japanese Embassies and aid agencies at the local level, so that they can play a leading role in the process of policy-making and implementing ODA. In addition, ODA-TFs are to make further efforts to understand, comprehensively and accurately, what development issues are of highest priority for each recipient country and what Japan can do to solve these issues. In particular, it is important for ODA-TFs to gain a deep understanding of the socio-economic situations of each country and to systemize it by appointing staff with an extensive knowledge and experience of the country in question as well as having close collaboration with local people familiar with the local environment.

ODA-TFs fulfill a wide range of roles in addition to clarifying needs of each recipient country as described above. These include participating in the formulation of Country Assistance Programs which specifies direction and prioritized sectors of Japan's assistance, undertaking policy consultations with recipient countries, strengthening cooperation with other donors, and offering suggestions on possible collaboration and review of aid schemes as well as selecting candidate projects for ODA. Among these, donor coordination at the local level is particularly important since Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers ( PRSPs ) have been formulated and implemented in cooperation with donors and other related organizations under the ownership of recipient countries and are now in the process of preparing and revising them. To this, Japan has made an active contribution, for example, by taking a lead in donors' consultation on an enhanced version of economic growth strategy in the Viet Nam PRSP and creating a coordination framework for Tanzania's agricultural sector.

Country-based ODA Task Forces (ODA-TFs)

As mentioned earlier, in an effort to make effective use of Japan's human resources, ODA-TFs have been primarily set up in countries which are the major recipients of Japan's ODA. So far, such ODA-TFs have been formed for 68 countries and have been engaging in the activities outlined below. As series of reform advance, aimed at more efficient and effective implementation of ODA, the functions required of ODA-TFs have further expanded. A major priority in the future will be to strengthen the system of assistance by better allocating human resources and developing their capacity.

A. Research and Analysis of Development Needs

ODA-TFs attempt to strengthen their capacity of research and analysis of socio-economic situations of recipient countries in order to help them meet their development needs. Through exchanging opinions with external human resources and the local aid community, including principal donor countries, international organizations, NGOs and academia, ODA-TFs acknowledge development needs of recipient countries while taking into account the development efforts by the governments themselves.

B. Formulation and Consideration of Assistance Policies

ODA-TFs are actively involved in the formulation and consideration of assistance policies for recipient countries. For example, they participate in the formulation of Country Assistance Programs and policy-making for priority and sector issues, and also undertake policy consultations with the recipient governments in order to foster shared perspectives and understandings.

C. Formulation and Selection of Candidate Projects for ODA

Chart 36. Country-based ODA Task Forces

Chart 36. Country-based ODA Task Forces

ODA-TFs take a lead in the process of formulation and selection of aid projects. They also consult necessity and feasibility of collaboration and review of ODA schemes such as grant aid, yen loans, and technical cooperation, in order to maximize the benefits of aid.

D. Strengthening Collaboration with the Local Donor Community

The international aid community has been taking global initiatives to establish common development goals and strategies, such as the Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs ). As a contribution to this effort, ODA-TFs participate actively in donor coordination in a manner consistent with Japan's assistance policies, while staying in close collaboration with the local donor community, principally international organizations and other donors.

E. Strengthening Collaboration with Japanese Relevant Parties in Recipient Countries

ODA-TFs engage extensively in dialogue with Japanese relevant parties that are active in recipient countries, including NGOs, academia and economic organizations (including private enterprises based in the recipient country). Through maintaining dialogue, ODA-TFs strengthen collaboration with these organizations while making the most of Japan's high-quality technology, knowledge, human resources, and institutions.

F. Review of Japan's ODA

ODA-TFs will review: (1) the goals and purposes of Japanese aid to recipient countries; (2) the direction of assistance; (3) the prioritization of sectors and issues; (4) the policy implementation phase.

G. Information Disclosure and Public Information

In respect to transparency of Japan's ODA, ODA-TFs will work actively on the publicity of their activities via websites and other means.