Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2009

2. Regarding the Perspective of "Human Security"

(1) Japan's Position on "Human Security"

i. Growing globalization in recent years has resulted in the international community becoming interdependent to an unprecedented degree. At the same time, there has been an increase in humanitarian crises resulting from transnational threats such as terrorism, environmental destruction, the spread of infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, international organized crime, sudden economic crises and civil war. In order to address these threats, the perspective of "human security" that places the focus on individual human beings needs to be introduced, in addition to global, regional and national perspectives.

ii. "Human security" means focusing on individual people and building societies in which everyone can live with dignity by protecting and empowering individuals and communities that are exposed to actual or potential threats. In concrete terms, this means protecting individuals from "fears", such as conflict, terrorism, crime, human-rights violation, displacement, disease epidemics, environmental destruction, economic crises and natural disasters, and "wants," such as poverty, hunger and lack of educational and health services, and empowering people so that they can choose and take action against these threats.

iii. Japan will address the four priority issues of "poverty reduction," "sustainable growth," "addressing global issues" and "peace-building" described in the ODA Charter bearing in mind the perspective of "human security," in order to reduce the vulnerabilities faced by people, communities and countries.


(2) Approaches on Assistance to Achieve "Human Security"

The "human security" perspective should be adopted broadly in development assistance. The approaches such as the following are important.

i. Assistance that puts people at the center of concerns and that effectively reaches the people

Japan will seek to achieve assistance that effectively reaches the people by accurately identifying the needs of the residents of target areas, and engaging as far as possible in a dialogue with residents and other interested parties throughout the process from policy and project formulation and implementation to monitoring and evaluation. To this end, collaboration and co-ordination with aid-related entities, donor countries, NGOs and others will be pursued.

ii. Assistance to strengthen local communities

In the case that a government is not functioning fully, Japan will support improvements in the administrative capacity of the government. But since, in such a case, there is a risk that assistance through the government may not reach the people directly, assistance to local communities and projects based on a participatory approach shall also be combined. The local community's ability to protect its members from "want" and "fear" will be improved by reinforcing community bonds and strengthening the functions of the local community.

iii. Assistance that emphasizes empowering of people

People will be regarded not just as a target of assistance but also as the "promoters of development" in their societies. Importance will therefore be placed on empowering people to become self-reliant. In concrete terms, this means providing vocational training and necessary services such as health and educational services, and improving institutions and policies conducive to realizing the potential of people's ability in order to foster self-help.

iv. Assistance that emphasizes benefiting people who are exposed to threats

Assistance based on the "human security" perspective requires addressing as comprehensively as possible the threats confronting the people bearing in mind both "freedom from want" such as poverty, and "freedom from fear" such as fear of conflict.

When assistance is provided, priority will be given to assisting people whose lives, livelihoods or dignity are currently or are highly likely to be endangered, through identifying the location of such people and their needs.

v. Assistance that respects cultural diversity

Assistance will be provided to build societies in which cultural diversity is respected and people are not discriminated against due to their cultural backgrounds. At the same time, attention will be paid so that human rights and the dignity of individuals are not threatened in the name of culture.

vi. Cross-sectoral assistance that mobilizes a range of professional expertise

People in countries subject to poverty and conflict face structurally complex problems. In order to address these problems, analyses will be made of their causes and structure, and specialist expertise in various fields will be mobilized as necessary so as to provide cross-sectional assistance.

* Two concrete examples of projects are presented to help understanding of human security in the appendix. Examples of the "human security" perspective are not limited to those projects. Japan will make an effort to reflect the perspective in its ODA.