Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006

Main Text > Part I JAPAN'S OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FOR WORLD PEACE AND PROSPERITY > Chapter 2 Specific Activities of Japan's ODA > Section 7. Peacebuilding

Section 7. Peacebuilding

Peacebuilding and ODA

Since the end of the Cold War, an increasing number of countries have experienced regional conflicts and civil wars caused by suppressed antagonisms such as confrontations rooted in religious and ethnic differences, intertribal disputes, and struggles over natural resources as a result of the demise of former political regimes. Particularly in developing countries in particular, domestic antagonisms easily develop into conflicts aggravated by problems such as poverty and insufficient governance capacity.

    Once a conflict breaks out, not only do the general public become victims, but human rights violations also arise, along with the serious humanitarian problems such as refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).23 Conflicts also destroy economic and social foundations. Years of the region's development efforts can be instantly undone, creating vast economic losses. The international development goals of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot be achieved without realizing peace and stability, which are preconditions for development. Moreover, "failing states" that have been shattered by conflict and have lost their ability to govern, could become a breeding ground for terrorist activities and a source for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, posing a serious threat to regional and global peace and stability. Support from the perspective of "human security" is truly important for those countries whose governments lack sufficient ability. In times of conflict, how to eliminate transnational threats against individuals and how to find ways to build peace are issues for the international community.

    Poverty, regional and ethnic disparities, and confrontations over economic benefits and the lack of coordination functions for solving these issues, are factors often comprising the backdrop of these conflicts. Therefore, emergency humanitarian aid and support for reconstruction, development, and democratization through ODA play important roles for resolving conflicts and realizing sustainable peace and development, in addition to military and political methods such as UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKO), the deployment of multinational forces, preventive diplomacy and peace mediation.

    Conflict prevention, post-conflict emergency humanitarian aid and support for reconstruction and development have become even more important in developing countries. In these situations it is important to adopt the perspective of "human security" focusing on the individual, and undertake efforts to protect and empower individuals at every stage, from the time of conflict through to reconstruction and development. Japan's ODA Charter adopts the perspective of "human security" as one of its basic policies and sets "peacebuilding" as a priority issue. This is based on the belief that utilizing ODA to contribute to peacebuilding plays an important role in ensuring Japan's own security and prosperity.

    Specifically, to begin with, Japan relies on imports of natural resources and food, and exports occupy a large proportion of its economy. There is the concern that conflicts in countries worldwide would become an obstacle to smooth trade activities and cause price hikes and shortages of resources and energy. Since Japan relies on the Middle East region for 90% of its oil imports, support to Iraq and Palestine designed to bring stability to the region is of much importance for Japan, for example.

    Second, there are concerns that countries in conflict might become safe havens for terrorists who would commit terrorist acts worldwide, including in Japan. For example, the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 were committed by the Al-Qaeda terrorist group based in Afghanistan. Therefore, Japan's support since 2002 for Afghan reconstruction and nation building through supporting the country's stability and strengthening its governance capability holds great significance for stability in the Central Asian region, as well as for the prevention of terrorism in the entire international community.

    While coordinating efforts for political solutions to conflicts such as promoting the peace processes in developing countries, Japan is making an active effort for peacebuilding through ODA.

    The following explains the ways ODA is utilized to support peacebuilding.

    Chart I-17 Trends in Disbursements for Major Post-Conflict Countries and Regions (E/N Basis)

Chart I-17 Trends in Disbursements for Major Post-Conflict Countries and Regions (E/N Basis)

Coordinating ODA with Peace Process

In addition to political confrontations, poverty complicates the process of ending internal and regional conflicts and consolidating peace thereafter in developing countries. Dissatisfaction with corrupt and dysfunctional governments brings the rise of opposition forces, in which people living in poverty and receiving insufficient social services participate as soldiers, often aggravating internal conflicts of developing countries. Therefore, using ODA to improve the lives of many people, like former soldiers, so as to feel the real benefits of peace is of great importance for progress in peacebuilding, in addition to political reconciliation. In light of this situation, Japan placed "consolidation of peace" and "nation building" at the center of its policies, actively striving to support reconstruction and development, along with the political process to end conflict.

    For example, Japan had actively participated in the peacebuilding process in Cambodia before the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, and hosted the Ministerial Conference on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Cambodia in Tokyo in 1992. After the peace agreements, the most important issues for the country, which had experienced civil war for over 20 years, were measures for the resettlement of returning refugees and demobilized soldiers through the enhancement of industries and the creation of job opportunities. To that end, Japan implemented the Refugees Resettlement and Rural Development Project. To improve productivity in agriculture, Cambodia's principal industry, Japan cooperated with UNDP from 1992 to carry out rural development projects such as improving agricultural infrastructures. Moreover, experts from the neighboring countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, and experts from Japan and the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) cooperated to provide assistance such as instructions on rice farming. These assistances not only contributed to the development of Cambodia, but also strengthened solidarity between Cambodia and other ASEAN countries, thereby contributing to regional peace and stability.

    Another example is the assistance implemented in Sierra Leone where armed conflict had been occurring intermittently between anti-government forces and the government army since 1991. The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) began its PKO activities in 1999, and a Ceasefire Agreement was signed in November 2000. Thereafter, a disarmament statement was released in January 2002 and the Sierra Leone civil war ended. Japan supported the consolidation of peace in the country by extending assistance for the protection of refugees and IDPs through international organizations, and also provided financial aid including co-financing for projects to support resettlement programs implemented by organizations such as UNDP. In 2002, Japan provided US$3.09 million through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security to support a project entitled "Reintegration of EX-combatants through Capacity Development and self-employment" in Sierra Leone implemented through the cooperation of UNDP and UNAMSIL. Japan also provided food aid through the Trust Fund for Human Security to support the country in its reconstruction process.

A scene of \
A scene of "Reintegration of Ex-combatants through Capacity Development and Self-employment" in Sierra Leone (Photo: UNDP)

    As for bilateral assistance, Japan has implemented the Children and Youth Development Project in Kambia District since October 2005. In post-conflict Sierra Leone, human resource development for children and youths who bear the future of the community, is expected to facilitate independent and sustainable reconstruction and development. The project is intended to improve the learning environment and community stability centering on schools by strengthening cooperation between schools and communities (see Part II, Chapter 2, Section 4 for details).

Support for Preventing Conflict and its Recurrence

Once conflict breaks out, the development achievements up to that point are destroyed in a short period of time and reconstruction requires a huge amount of time, labor, and capital. Also, in post-conflict countries with weak governments, conflicts often recur due to various triggers, such as the resurgence of opposition forces and lack of political functions to prevent clashes between opposing groups. It is said that of the conflicts that arose in the past 20 years and resulted in peace agreements, over half have relapsed into conflict with five years.

    In light of this, it is extremely important to give sufficient consideration to preventing conflicts and their recurrence by providing assistance to countries which have seeds of conflict and for countries immediately after conflict. It is important to provide balanced support to avoid creating feelings of injustice from ethnic, religious, or other viewpoints, so as not to breed more confrontation between groups. Specifically, when selecting regions and beneficiaries to support, one should carefully assess factors which may lead to conflict.

    For example, in Sri Lanka an internal conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued for about 20 years, after which a ceasefire agreement was concluded in 2002 and the peace process began. Japan decided that providing proactive assistance for the development of Sri Lanka's Northern and Eastern provinces which had been ruined by conflict to correct the economic disparities was important from the viewpoint of conflict prevention. This was based on the belief that helping the people of Northern and Eastern provinces to actually feel the "dividends of peace" contributes to the promotion of Sri Lanka's peace process. As part of this process, Japan agreed with the Sri Lankan Government in March 2003 to provide support via yen loan to Sri Lanka's Pro-poor Economic Advancement and Community Enhancement Project. This project is intended to carry out rural development programs which include the rehabilitation and improvement of irrigation facilities and the strengthening of farmers' organizations, with the goals of increasing productivity and achieving sustainable development in rural areas. In particular, since rebuilding irrigation systems is indispensable for the return and resettlement of refugees who left the Northern and Eastern provinces, it plans to rehabilitate 10 reservoirs in these regions. Moreover, the project is designed to generate local employment as rural residents carry out construction themselves. The project also plans to train farmers to perform the rehabilitation and maintenance of reservoirs by themselves after the completion of the project.

    Also, along with ethnic and religious confrontations, there are issues like poverty and economic disparity, as well as the issues of insufficient governance, such as lack of function to harmonize competing interests, which serve as factors in the background of conflict in developing countries. Therefore, it is also important to improve administrative capacity and address the issue of poverty at the community level.

    For example, Japan contributed approximately US$50 million until FY2005 via the UN Trust Fund for Human Security to support efforts to strengthen domestic security and community development in Kosovo to realize true ethnic reconciliation and peacebuilding. Specifically, Japan provided support to strengthen the functions of the Kosovo police for improving security, in addition to various types of assistance like the rehabilitation of primary schools affected by the conflict. Moreover, through the Housing and Electrification Programme in Kosovo, Japan extended assistance to rebuild housing for about 8,000 people and to restore the supply of electricity to the households of about 80,000 people. This project also supported the rebuilding of an independent broadcast station in Kosovo, making it possible to provide neutral and accurate television and radio broadcasts to 1.4 million people.

Cooperation with NGOs and International Organizations for Effective Support

After conflict breaks out, various problems arise such as the destruction of infrastructure and governing organizations, food shortages, refugees, and IDPs. Thus, it is necessary that the international community respond as quickly as possible to relieve the rapidly worsening distress of the victims of conflict and refugees. In addition to bilateral assistance, Japan provides emergency humanitarian aid via United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF, World Food Programme (WFP), international humanitarian aid institutions such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and other international organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The Government also actively cooperates with NGOs that are agile and are able to flexibly respond to the needs of the local community at a grassroots level. At the onset of the conflict in Afghanistan in 2001, the Japanese NGOs rapidly launched their missions and built camps for IDPs and refugees who flowed into neighboring Pakistan under the newly founded mechanism, Japan Platform (see Part II, Chapter 2, Section 5 for details). The camps helped affected people to survive shivering, freezing winter. In addition, in response to an appeal from the United Nations, Japan pledged the largest support of up to US$120 million, about 20% of the total financial contribution made by the international community. Following the announcement, Japan made financial contributions for the distribution of daily necessities such as tents and blankets by UNHCR, food assistance by WFP, the distribution of food and medicine via ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), health and nutrition-related aid and child protection by UNICEF, and the construction of temporary housing and distribution of warm clothes by IOM.

Ensuring the Safety of Those Working on Assistance Activities

In November 2003 Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku and First Secretary Masamori Inoue, who had been working on reconstruction assistance in Iraq, were killed in the line of duty. They were attacked by unidentified individuals on their activity of finding projects to be supported by Japan, travelling across Iraq. As such, when providing support for peacebuilding, it is necessary to bear in mind the additional difficulties of a worsening local security situation and the lack of governing capacity on the part of the central government. While giving the maximum consideration to ensuring the safety of aid staff, Japan must steadily carry out the support it can provide.

    To ensure safety while implementing peacebuilding support, JICA stations local "security officers" to communicate and hold meetings with international organizations and NGOs, and to collect information through such means as surveys of incidents and accidents which occur within and outside the respective country. Moreover, an emergency training program to study safety measures has been implemented since 2004. This program provides defense-related training such as measures to deal with mine, shooting, and bomb incidents; first aid methods; and means of communication.

Toward Seamless Support

To realize peacebuilding, in addition to dealing with various problems during and immediately after conflicts, it is also necessary to strive for mid- to long-term stability, and for the economic and social development which supports such stability. Specifically, it is necessary to provide support for the prevention of conflicts and their recurrence, emergency humanitarian aid needed immediately after conflicts (return of refugees and IDPs, food, water, sanitation, health, education, etc.), reconstruction support such as infrastructure development, and mid- to long-term development support in a seamless manner. Also, since support for strengthening the field of security and governance is an effective means of preventing conflict and its recurrence, diverse support is required, such as Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) of ex-soldiers, rebuilding of civilian police, collection of small arms, support for democratization, establishing legal systems, support for the media sector, etc.

    For example, in 2002 Japan held the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in Tokyo. Confirming the determination of the related parties to pursue the Afghanistan peace, reconstruction, and development process, Japan was able to collect US$4.5 billion in support pledges from the international community. Japan pledged support, of up to US$500 million over 2.5 years. Moreover, during a visit to Afghanistan in May 2002, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi announced the concept of the "consolidation of peace," which consists of three elements: peace process, domestic security, and reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. Thereafter, based on this concept, Japan has provided support covering diverse areas, including DDR and election preparations, media support, support concerning administrative expenditures, landmine countermeasures, drug problem countermeasures, the reconstruction of local communities and education, rebuilding the medical health sector, and infrastructure development. Concerning DDR in particular, which enables smooth reconstruction and development, Japan has been taking a leading role, providing support via organizations such as UNDP and completed the demobilization of about 60,000 former soldiers in June 2006. Also, the Regional Comprehensive Development Assistance Programme (Ogata Initiative), proposed by the then Special Representative of the Prime Minister Sadako Ogata based on her two field surveys, has presented a model of regional reconstruction support. It has been highly appreciated as an attempt for a seamless transition from humanitarian aid, such as the provision of temporary housing and the improvement of water supply systems, through to reconstruction and development aimed at generating income for local residents (see Part II, Chapter 2, Section 2 for details).

    Chart I-18 Concept of the "Consolidation of Peace"

Chart I-18 Concept of the "Consolidation of Peace"

Media support in Afghanistan (Photo: JICA)
Media support in Afghanistan (Photo: JICA)

    In Iraq, Japan carried out reconstruction assistance through the contribution of Self-Defense Force (SDF) personnel and ODA as "two wheels of one cart." Assistance through ODA has focused on rebuilding living base and improving security as its priorities, which are urgently required for Iraq's nation rebuilding. To that end, approximately US$1.5 billion in grant aid has been implemented or decided across Iraq. Achievements in the Governorate of Al-Muthanna include an improved educational environment in approximately 30% of the schools and a reduction in the neo-natal mortality rate to one third in the Samawah Maternity and Children Hospital through provisions of medical equipment. Through mainly yen loans, Japan will support infrastructure development for economic activities (see Part II, Chapter 2, Section 2 for details).

    The road to consolidation of peace is not always easy. For example, Timor-Leste became independent from Indonesia in May 2002 as a result of nation building for independence under the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), which was established in 1999. Efforts were made for restoring security and developing infrastructure in Timor-Leste, and signs of consolidation of peace began to emerge. However, clashes occurred in the country in April 2006, and the situation worsened again. There are many cases like this where a situation remains unstable even after the end of a conflict, so it is necessary that the international community persistently continue to provide support for the consolidation of peace.

    Also, a large amount of financial and human resources are indispensable for realizing peacebuilding. Japan lacks sufficient human resources to provide support in the field. Even after conflicts end, the local situation may remain dangerous, requiring people with both expertise and experience to provide support in this kind of environment. In August 2006, Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso announced the creation of "terakoya" (training institution) to develop human resources able to assume the task of peacebuilding. The goals of such an institution include students acquiring knowledge and skills on safety management required for performing peacebuilding activities in the field, and learning to coordinate with local staff. Inviting youths from Asia to study together with Japanese youths at this institution is also under consideration.24

    Japan's policy is to actively contribute to realizing the peace and stability of the international community. Based on past experiences and achievements, Japan will continue to coordinate with international organizations, other donor countries, the domestic private sector and NGOs to develop human resources who will be able to perform on the ground.

Diagnosis of children in Pakistan (Photo: JPF)
Diagnosis of children in Pakistan (Photo: JPF)