The Joint Ministerial Statement of the Initiative for Development in East Asia

August 12, 2002, Tokyo

I. Preamble

  1. Foreign and development ministers from ASEAN countries, People's Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea, met in Tokyo on August 12, 2002, on the Initiative for the Development in East Asia (IDEA), proposed by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in January 2002. The meeting was a part of the joint efforts made by ASEAN+3 countries to achieve further development in light of new challenges facing the region.
  2. The Ministers had a frank exchange of views, based upon their countries' development experience and knowledge, on how development cooperation should be coordinated with national and regional development efforts, and how regional cooperation should be oriented toward sustainable economic development. They also discussed ways to deepen international cooperation by demonstrating the value of the East Asian development achievements in realizing both economic growth and poverty reduction.

II. Key Factors in the Success of the East Asian Development

Features of the East Asian Development Experience

  1. The Ministers noted the major features of the development of East Asian countries in attaining remarkable economic progress. The Ministers also welcomed the good momentum of economic growth and recovery in ASEAN countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

    - Development as a National Agenda
    Supported by stable domestic environments, effective political leadership, sound macroeconomic policies and regional peace, economic development has been consistently advocated as a national agenda. The diversified development strategies and paths in the region also contributed to the common prosperity. Strong capacities in the public sector and a keen sense of ownership have enabled the steady implementation of development policies. Industrial promotion, in particular, has created employment opportunities, uplifted living standards and led to the accumulation of domestic capital.

    - Three Prerequisites to Sustainable Growth
    The Ministers recognized three major prerequisites, among others, to sustainable economic growth: Building economic infrastructure, which provides the basis for private economic activities and invites foreign direct investment;
    Human resources development and the enhancement of institutional capacities in both the public and private sectors; and
    Linkage through trade and investment, which is important in creating economic opportunities and promoting domestic industries.

    - Consideration for Poverty Reduction, Equitable Income Distribution and Social Development
    The distortions and disparities accompanying economic growth were also addressed. To this end, several measures have been taken, including poverty reduction measures and pursuit of more equitable income distribution and social development. In this regard, the number of people living in absolute poverty has been dramatically reduced over the last ten years in East Asia, where one-third of the world's impoverished population was once concentrated.

Roles and Features of Development Cooperation in East Asia

  1. The Ministers recognized that, despite the enormous diversity in the region in terms of conditions and needs for development, development cooperation has served to support economic growth in East Asia.

    - An appropriate combination and sequencing of various ODA schemes such as loans, grants and technical cooperation has been pursued in partnership with and in support of the ownership of the recipient countries. Such ODA has been channeled into the development of infrastructure and human resources, contributing to poverty reduction, which is consistent with the Millennium Development Goals.

    - Dissemination of Development Experience through South-South Cooperation Certain countries that have been successful in their own development processes have made use of their resources to contribute to the development of others. Such South-South cooperation has enabled the sharing of development experiences with less developed countries.

    - Creating a favorable macroeconomic environment for development, achieving financial stability, promoting technology transfer, and facilitating market access and FDI, have been also important parts of development cooperation in East Asia.

III. Current Development Challenges Facing East Asia

Formation of a Robust Economic and Social Foundation and the Response to Globalization

  1. Noting the vast development needs remaining in East Asia, and in the face of the accelerated economic globalization, the rapid technological revolution and the present global economic climate, the Ministers examined the role that development cooperation should play in responding to such needs. They recognized the value of building a resilient foundation for ensuring sustainable growth. This can be done through the development of human capacities, economic and social infrastructure and institutions, and by harvesting the benefits of globalization through trade, including improved market access for developing countries, and investment.
  2. The negative impacts of globalization, such as an excessive widening of disparity among and within countries and the instant contagion of economic disruptions, need to be addressed, and ODA has a role to play in that process. Increased attention needs to be paid to low-income regions and those which are vulnerable, particularly to address the problems of poverty and income disparities. Following the responsible actions taken by some countries to achieve regional financial stability during the financial crisis, responsiveness to crises should also be improved, including through the reform of financial systems and the promotion of corporate governance.

Good Governance

  1. While respecting diversity and values in the region, the Ministers emphasized that the realization and enhancement of good governance is a major challenge to the medium- to long-term stability and sound economic development of East Asia. At the same time, national efforts must be supported and complemented through the practice of good governance at the regional and international level.

Promotion of Regional Peace and Stability

  1. Since the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, there has been a renewed recognition that the issue of development, including poverty reduction, is closely linked with ensuring domestic and regional security. The Ministers committed themselves to continuously cooperating closely in promoting and fostering regional peace and stability.

Pursuit of Stable, Harmonious and Human-centered Development

  1. Taking into account numerous contemporary challenges, the Ministers agreed on the importance of carrying out development in harmony with the diversity and identities of individual societies in East Asia; putting emphasis on sustainable development; and achieving human-centered development in which everyone enjoys the fruits of development and progress.

IV. Regional Cooperation and the Role of ODA

Regional Cooperation for Peace and Prosperity

  1. East Asia has witnessed the enhancement of cooperation and dialogue in political, economic and other fields, as exemplified by the realization of ASEAN 10, ASEAN+3, and the ASEAN Regional Forum, all with ASEAN as the driving force. The Ministers agreed that such multi-tiered regional cooperation and interdependence would help the region deal with the challenges of globalization and pursue regional peace and prosperity. Such cooperation would also underpin the attractiveness of East Asia as an investment destination and market.
  2. It is important for East Asia to promote regional cooperation in responding collectively to issues of regional concern. Encouraging cooperation from outside the region is also important to maintain various forms of transparent and multi-tiered cooperation within East Asia. In this regard, the Ministers reiterated the importance of and their support for regional and sub-regional cooperation such as the Greater Mekong Sub-Region Cooperation, the Chiang Mai Initiative, other growth areas, and the realization of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI). Under the IAI, various partnerships could be forged, especially with the +3 countries, at the IAI Development Cooperation Forum (IDCF) in Jakarta on August 15-16, 2002. Thereafter, resources can be expected to be mobilized for priority projects in bridging the development gap within ASEAN. In addition, the Ministers welcomed that the East Asia Study Group (EASG) planned to submit its report containing various development project proposals at the ASEAN+3 Summit in Cambodia.
  3. The Ministers acknowledged the significance of maintaining adequate ODA as a tool for strengthening regional cooperation and agreed to examine how to make more effective use of ODA, in coordination with other development resources including mobilizing domestic and other external resources and in terms of promoting economic partnership. While acknowledging the special importance of ODA for less developed countries in Southeast Asia, the Ministers confirmed the significance of promoting South-South cooperation, supplemented by tripartite cooperation. They also shared the recognition of the importance of establishing national and intra-regional infrastructure and regional networks to facilitate stable and sustainable growth, and of promoting capacity building for the advancement of regional integration.

V. Conclusion

Reaffirmation of the East Asian Development Experience and Strengthening of Regional Cooperation

  1. The Ministers confirmed that they would address poverty by pursuing an equitable, market- and growth-oriented East Asian development approach, which is harmonious with regional diversities and closely linked to trade and investment and pursues regional peace, stability and prosperity. The Ministers were also of the view that development should be enhanced through further efforts of developed countries such as ODA, FDI and market access, and that developing countries should make efforts to mobilize domestic resources to create an enabling environment to promote trade and investment. In addition, the Ministers emphasized regional cooperation as an important component of development cooperation. In this regard, the Ministers stressed that the encouragement of FDI to Southeast Asia, in particular the less developed countries in the region, is of great significance for economic development and prosperity of the region.

Sharing of the East Asian Development Approach and Experiences with Other Regions

  1. The Ministers acknowledged that the East Asian development approach and experiences could also be useful for other regions. Based on such a recognition, they agreed to further cooperate in sharing East Asia's successful experience of development with other regions on such occasions as the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be held in Johannesburg and the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III) in 2003.
  2. In concluding this meeting, the Ministers agreed to submit this statement to the upcoming ASEAN+3 Summit in Cambodia and expressed their expectation that analysis of the East Asian development experience would be further advanced in the intellectual community and thereby international discussion on development would be further deepened.

IDEA Projects

  1. With a view to embodying the spirit of IDEA, the Ministers instructed senior officials to explore possible projects using existing mechanisms in East Asia for development cooperation, and the guidance at Annex.

Annex: Guidance for Identifying Future Cooperation Programs

  • Meet region-wide common development needs
  • Based on partnership - collaboration with all the stakeholder countries/organizations
  • Contribute to strengthening the basis for economic growth and social development

    (for example)
    - economic and social infrastructure development
    - ICT, science and technology
    - human resources development
    - strengthening institutional and legal frameworks

  • Consistency and synergy with existing regional development initiatives such as the IAI, Hanoi Action Plan, ASEAN+3 process, etc.


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