Keynote Speech by Mr. Kiyohiro Araki
Senior State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
on the occasion of the African Seminar on Health Development,
South-South Cooperation regarding HIV/AIDS,
1 November 2000, Tokyo
"The Japanese Contribution to the Fight against HIV/AIDS"
Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the UNAIDS
Distinguished participants from African, Asian, and Latin American countries,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to have the chance to address this African Seminar on Health Development, co-hosted by the Government of Japan and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), dealing with the profoundly important issue of "South-South Cooperation regarding HIV/AIDS." Today I would like to focus mainly on Japan's efforts to deal with the HIV/AIDS problem.
HIV/AIDS is a grave threat to human dignity and human life. According to figures released by UNAIDS at the end of 1999, the total number of the HIV-infected stands at 34.3 million, with 5.4 million having been infected during 1999 alone. During the same year, 2.8 million people died from AIDS.
Of special concern is the spread of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region with 10% of the world's population but 70% (24.5 million) of the world's HIV-infected people. At the beginning of the 90's, the average life expectancy was about 59 years, but there is forecast that it will drop to 45 years between 2005 and 2010. HIV/AIDS also has adverse effects on societies in other ways, such as a huge increase in the number of orphans, a decrease in the number of school teachers, a larger financial burden on the government, and a lower productivity. In these ways HIV/AIDS has become a major obstacle to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, undermining decades of development efforts. It is a problem that threatens to take away the hopes for the future of all generations.
It could be said that, for countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS is a development problem per se, and not merely a health issue. Indeed, the problem is so huge that it may shake the very foundations of countries and regions. Therefore, it is necessary for the international community to deal with this problem as a top priority. At the same time, it should not be forgotten that the problem in Africa is compounded with continuation of poverty and conflict impeding efforts against HIV/AIDS, and that a multi-faceted specific is needed in especially in the light of poverty reduction and conflict prevention. Based upon this understanding, the Government of Japan intends to strengthen its policies to fight against HIV/AIDS.
Japan's Policy Framework for HIV/AIDS Countermeasures in Sub-Saharan Africa
Japan has strengthened its efforts against HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa through three important policy frameworks: the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process, Japan's Medium-Term Policy on ODA, and the G8 Okinawa Summit.
(Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Process)
Firstly, from the early 90's, Japan has focused on the HIV/AIDS issues as part of the TICAD process. The Tokyo Declaration on African Development, adopted at the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD I) in 1993, warned of the magnitude of the influence on society posed by the HIV/AIDS problem. Also at TICAD I, the international community agreed to increase efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Five years later, in 1998, with the situation concerning HIV/AIDS worsening in Africa, the second conference (TICAD II) further emphasized the need for strengthened preventive measures against it. The Tokyo Agenda for Action, which is based on the agreement that African development needs to be based on the spirit of ownership and equal partnership, spells out the steps that African countries and development partner countries must take in the fight against HIV/ AIDS.
TICAD consists of goals and rules for promoting African development that are established by Africans themselves. Since TICAD II, many follow-up measures have been undertaken by African people. Japan, along with other members of the international community, has been actively supporting such African ownership. This seminar is another example. The theme of this seminar, "South-South Cooperation regarding HIV/AIDS," coincides with the basic principles of TICAD: South-South cooperation and Asia-Africa cooperation.
(Japan's Medium-Term Policy on ODA)
Secondly, Japan's policy prioritization on efforts against HIV/AIDS, as stated clearly through the TICAD process, comprises part of its Medium-Term Policy on ODA, announced in August last year, which states Japan's determination to prioritize and be actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Specifically, Japan has promoted its cooperation mainly with Asia and Africa, based on the "Global Issues Initiative on Population and AIDS" (GII), Japan's own policy announced in 1994. In the period from 1994 to 1998, a total of 3.7 billion dollars was disbursed for cooperation under this initiative, with 100 million dollars on HIV/AIDS projects. Furthermore, Japan has contributed approximately 30 million dollars to UNAIDS since its establishment in 1996. Japan highly regards the international role and track record of UNAIDS and is considering strengthening its support for UNAIDS projects, especially those in Africa.
With regard to the promotion of the GII, Japan has emphasized cooperation with major donors, international organizations, and NGOs. For example, under the framework of the Japan-US Common Agenda, Japan and the US sent joint project formulation missions to Zambia, Bangladesh, and Cambodia regarding such issues as population and AIDS, with representatives of Japanese NGOs taking part.
(The G8 Process)
Thirdly, Japan has put importance on strengthening effors by developed countries on HIV/AIDS and has strengthened the dialogue between developing and developed countries. Last July, Japan took the initiative as Chair of the Group of Eight and invited the leaders of Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, and Thailand, which play important roles in various organizations of developing countries, and held the first-ever dialogue between leaders of the G8 nations and leaders of developing countries just before the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit. Japan strongly believes that in order to stand up against many of the world's problems, including AIDS, there is no other way than to achieve close cooperation ties between developed and developing countries. Based on this new perspective on North-South partnership, it became possible to reflect the opinions of developing countries, including those regarding HIV/AIDS, in the debate at the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit.
As a result, the Communique from the G8 summit clearly suggests the numerical target of "reducing the number of HIV/AIDS-infected young people by 25% by 2010." It was also agreed in the Communique that the G8 will "commit themselves in strengthened partnership with governments, the WHO and other international organisations, industry (notably pharmaceutical companies), academic institutions, NGOs and other relevant actors in civil society." Furthermore, Japan showed its way as the world's leading donor, contributing one fifth of the world's ODA, and announced the "Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative," whch allocates up to three billion dollars over the next five years in the field of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Based on this initiative, Japan is continuing to make every effort to implement projects which meet the needs of developing countries.
Recognizing the urgency and seriousness of HIV/AIDS, Japan plans to continue strengthening ties with other donor countries, international organizations, and NGOs to actively promote international efforts against HIV/AIDS.
Japan's Contribution to the Fight against HIV/AIDS
As mentioned previously, Japan cooperates in a wide range of ways in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including prevention, raising awareness, human capacity-building, fundamental research, safe blood transfusion practices, provision of medical equipment, countermeasures against mother-baby infection, and assistance for orphans. Further details are provided in handouts for your reference, but on this occasion I would just like to explain briefly about some of the important cases of South-South cooperation.
In the fight against HIV/AIDS, Japan places great emphasis on human capacity-building and, in this respect, has hosted 147 trainees in Japan, has provided training for 307 people in their country, has trained 61 people in "a third country," such as the Philippines, and has dispatched 17 experts to various countries. As for training in a third country, a Japanese expert was sent this February to Kenya to conduct a seminar on blood screening tests, and an expert in HIV/AIDS was sent this May to Zambia for a two-year assignment.
Furthermore, as an implementation of the Tokyo Agenda for Action adopted at TICAD II, United Nations Volunteers have sent volunteers to an HIV/AIDS project in Malawi. This assistance is funded by Japan.
Japan's economic cooperation in Africa has resulted in the creation of three new institutes for infectious and parasitic diseases control: the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, and the Zambia University Teaching Hospital. Financial assistance from Japan and technical support by a Japanese expert have led to developments in HIV treatment drugs and fundamental research on HIV. Results from these institutes are put to use in many other African countries. Furthermore, with a view to assisting the African people's own efforts in their fight against HIV/AIDS, Japan contributed $300,000 in operational costs to the "XIth International Conference on AIDS and STDs in Africa," held in March of last year in Zambia.
In recent years, some concrete results have been achieved through AIDS prevention programs in Thailand and other Asian countries. This has led to efforts among African countries to learn from them. At the Regional Review Meeting for Eastern and Southern African countries, held in Zambia in November 1999 as part of the TICAD process, a presentation from a Thai expert featuring a participatory prevention strategy and reports from AIDS patients provided very useful information for African countries. Also, among African countries, certain countries, such as Uganda and Senegal, have been able to control the infection rate through firm measures by the government and NGOs. This has also led to the recognition of the importance of sharing experience and knowledge on HIV/AIDS. Conversely, there have also been statements such as the one by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir, which said, "Asia must also learn from Africa on the fight against HIV/AIDS." This shows that the sharing of knowledge is being considered as a two-way process.
Based on these sequences, the "Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative," announced in July of this year, includes supporting exchange of knowledge and experience among developing countries and enhancing adaptation of best practices of developing and donor countries, including Japan. For example, it has been proposed that Thailand's success in "social vaccine" should be applied in other countries as well. At this seminar it is hoped that exchange of knowledge and experience on South-South cooperation on HIV/AIDS among Asia, Africa and Central and South America will lead to an expanded network of international cooperation and consequently will contribute in strengthening the International Partnership Against AIDS in Africa as proposed by UNAIDS. Japan also intends to further advance its support for South-South cooperation on HIV/AIDS.
The Way Ahead
I would like to use this opportunity to talk about Japan's future efforts against HIV/AIDS. Firstly, the Communique adopted at the Kyushu-Okinawa G8 Summit included a commitment to strengthen the partnership between developed countries, developing countries, international organizations, the private sector, and NGOs on infectious diseases. It was announced that Japan would hold a meeting in order to reach agreement on a new strategy to implement this commitment. This meeting, as was announced last month, will be held in Okinawa on the 7th and 8th of December.
At this meeting, the "Okinawa Conference on Infectious Diseases," representatives will be present from the G8 countries, developing countries, including African countries, international organizations such as WHO and UNAIDS, NGOs, and the private sector to implement new partnership. The meeting will clarify prioritized fields and the timeframe of actions. The international community should work together for the eradication of infectious diseases and continue considerations at the G8 Summit in Genoa next year.
Japan is determined to work actively on the problems of HIV/AIDS and to further improve cooperation with international organizaions on HIV/AIDS countermeasures. For example, based upon the fact that HIV/AIDS is a threat to human life, or an issue closely tied to human security, Japan will positively consider utilizing the Human Security Fund for its assistance. As a first step, assistance to South Africa's HIV/AIDS countermeasures will be considered through UNDP from the Human Security Fund. The Government of Japan is also looking to further cooperate with UNV and to strengthen links with other organizations, possibly including the United Nations Population Fund.
As for the ministerial-level conference which is scheduled to be held in FY2001, bearing in mind the possibility of a TICAD III, the Government of Japan would like to work together with African countries and other development partners for its preparations. Since it is very likely that HIV/AIDS will be among the main topics at the ministerial-level conference, I look forward to cooperating with countries and organizations involved.
The General Assembly Special Session on Problems Relating to HIV/AIDS is being planned for June of next year. Japan supports holding the Special Session and is planning to actively participate in it.
I have given you a brief and simple summary of Japan's role in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. Japan will regard HIV/AIDS as one of the most important issues in its relationship with Sub-Saharan Africa. The results of our discussions through today and tomorrow will be taken into consideration in the implementation of Japan's "Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative," and will be reflected in the Okinawa International Conference on Infectious Diseases. I truly hope that we, the participants of this seminar, will make sharing of knowledge and experience on HIV/AIDS more meaningful, and that its results will become a valuable asset for the global community in enhancing South-South cooperation.
Thank you very much
Back to Index