Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2009

Box 3 Science and Technology Cooperation on Global Issues

With regards to urgent issues of a global scale, such as climate change and infectious diseases, it is not enough for Japan to take action alone. It is vital that Japan help developing countries improve their capacities for tackling these issues. Science and technology play a significant role in such capacity building. Furthermore, developing countries have high expectations for the advanced science and technology of Japan. From these points of view, Japan is implementing "Science and Technology Cooperation on Global Issues" as part of "science and technology diplomacy" utilizing them as diplomatic assets and tools.

The scheme of "Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development," established in April 2008, is implemented among the universities and research institutes of Japan and those of developing countries as joint research to acquire new knowledge leading to the solution of global issues and advancement of science and technology. With regards to global issues, including the environment, energy, natural disaster prevention and infectious disease control, Japan and the research institutes of developing countries are conducting international joint research through assistance provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The objective is to obtain results which will lead to solutions for these issues and to advance technological standards as well as to improve the technological standards and capacity of the research institutions of developing countries. In addition, Japan aspires to find a win-win situation where the joint research will become assets to both Japan and developing countries, instead of just being simple technical cooperation.

Since 2008, Japanese research teams, which include those from the University of Tokyo and the Department of Environment of Tuvalu and the University of the South Pacific (USP), have been engaged in efforts to increase the resilience of the Tuvalu coast against sea level rise by global warming in Funafuti atoll of Tuvalu. Tuvalu is a small island with low altitude which will be greatly affected by global warming. In this research, the objective is to evaluate the current situation of Tuvalu and to predict the situation the island will face after the rise in sea levels, as well as to aim for long-term maintenance of the island through encouraging the production and banking of sand made of coral reefs and microbes (foraminiferans) along the seashore, based on the mechanism of formation and sustainment of the atoll island.

Breakdown of the projects adopted in 2009 by area and region

  Asia Africa Others Total
Environment/Energy 5 4 3 12
Disaster Prevention 3 1 1 5
Infectious Diseases Control 2 1 1 4
Total 10 6 5 21

Note: "Environment/Energy" includes bioresources.