Diplomatic Bluebook 2001


A. The Challenge of the 21st Century: Building Up Development Partnerships

As we enter the 21st century, great changes are taking place in the world of development cooperation. With the end of the Cold War, major donors lost one of their key motivations for providing aid, and the total amount of official development assistance (ODA) extended by the developed countries has been on a declining trend. Therefore, finding the most effective use of the reduced ODA budgets has become a major issue of international debate. On the other hand, the needs for assistance in developing countries are further increasing. Among the present global population of approximately 6.0 billion, around 1.2 billion people are now living on less than US$1 per day, and nearly 3.0 billion people on less than US$2 per day. Thus, poverty clearly remains a major development issue. Particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, poverty, together with armed conflicts and infectious diseases, has come to pose a grave threat to human security.

Additionally, along with the advance of globalization, the fragility of the international financial system as evidenced by the 1997-98 Asian currency and financial crisis, the further impoverishment of those countries that fail to enjoy the benefits of globalization, and global issues such as environmental challenges, transnational organized crime, and drugs have come to the surface as factors that can precipitate instability worldwide.

In these circumstances, the functions of markets and governments are under renewed scrutiny, and the roles of civil society, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are increasing. The age in which donors could limit their approach to ODA to their own bilateral assistance considerations has already passed. While respecting the ownership of developing countries, donors must now seek collaboration in a spirit of partnership with other developed countries, international organizations, the private sector, NGOs, and other development assistance players.

Japan continues to view ODA as an extremely important means of implementing the country's diplomacy. Actively responding to the high expectations of developing countries and the rest of the international community provides the very foundation for Japan's international credibility, enhances Japan's international presence and voice, and helps to secure the national interest. While Japan began to participate in new fields of international cooperation such as peacekeeping operations (PKOs) in the 1990s, the fundamental importance of ODA has remained unchanged because Japan has renounced the path of military superpower. The provision of ODA excelling both in terms of quantity and quality continues to be an important means for Japan's participation in the efforts of the international community and for realizing the national interest. Providing ODA to support democratization and adoption of market economies in developing countries, to maintain and promote the free trade system, and to work toward resolving environmental and other global issues also directly promotes Japan's own interests.

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