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Japan to assist Mauritius with conservation, restoration of coastal ecosystem

The Japan International Cooperation (JICA) announced that it will provide technical assistance to conserve and restore the coastal ecosystem of Mauritius for the 'Project for the development of Integrated Coastal Ecosystem Management System' and the 'Project for the improvement of livelihood of coastal communities through sustainable development of Blue Economy.'

While Mauritius has a rich coastal ecosystem, global warming has raised water temperatures and excessive harvesting of fish and shellfish has damaged the ecosystem. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic and an oil spill which occurred in July of 2020 have affected the tourism and fishing industries. Therefore, JICA will promote the 'Blue Economy' initiative to formulate fishery management plans and enhance the capacity of fishermen to develop Mauritius’s economy. Additionally, JICA will help establish ecosystem monitoring systems, as well as formulate and implement plans to conserve and restore the coastal ecosystem.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan provides US$75 million for MSMEs in Vietnam, highlights financing for women

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced that it will provide US$75 million in loans for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through the Private Sector Investment and Finance (PSIF) mechanism. The loan is co-financed with the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and is JICA’S first PSIF project with a Japanese private institution in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, MSMEs account for 98.7% of total enterprises, 45% of gross domestic product, and more than 63% of employment. However, access to financial services for MSMEs is limited, especially for women.

Loans for the MSMEs will be provided through the Vietnam bank, Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VP Bank).

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan provides US$6 million to improve Liberian food security

Japan announced that it will provide ¥645 million (US$6 million) to improve food security in Liberia. ¥250 million (US$2 million) will be used to provide food assistance, and ¥395 million (US$4 million) will be used for the development of human resources related to food security.

While rice is a major staple in Liberia, more than half of Liberia’s rice supply is imported. In addition, poor fishing environments and outdated technology exacerbate health risks to consumers. The loan will provide about 3,600 tons of rice to Liberia and will also help fishermen and rice farmers by providing training and technical equipment.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan calls on international financial institutions to support low-income countries with sustainable energy transition

During a virtual meeting of the Development Committee held by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Japan called for the funding of natural gas projects to reduce greenhouse emissions in low-income countries.

Japan emphasized the need to address country needs individually, taking into consideration that some countries do not have resources for an energy transition that excludes natural gas. While natural gas produces greenhouse gases, it emits carbon and other harmful gases at lower quantities than coal or oil. Japan outlined criteria for providing assistance in cases where target countries' resources or private funds are insufficient.

Furthermore, Japan expressed its support for the World Bank’s policy to oppose new coal projects.

News article – The Mainichi

US climate envoy, Kerry, calls on leaders to back climate commitments before COP26

Ahead of the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, John Kerry, the US envoy for climate change, declared more must be done to meet needed targets to cut coal, gas, and oil emissions.

Kerry, who has spent the last year negotiating with world leaders on climate diplomacy, is encouraged by steps the European Union, Japan, and others have taken, but is concerned that some of the largest polluters have not pledged enough. 

The UN's COP26 climate summit will take place from October 31 - November, 12, 2021.

Kerry has plans for last-minute climate diplomacy talks in Mexico and Saudi Arabia before the two-week summit. Kerry will face the possibility that the US Congress, with a slim Democratic majority, will not support the necessary legislation and funding to back US commitments. Kerry remains optimistic, however, that Congress will act "responsibly."

News report - AP

Japan pledges US$190 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan at G20 emergency summit

During the G20 emergency summit, Japan’s Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio, pledged US$190 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Struggling with droughts and severe poverty following decades of war, Afghanistan faces a major economic and humanitarian crisis. G20 members agreed to provide assistance, and Japan announced that it will provide US$190 million through international organizations to help address this crisis.

Kishida affirmed the need to protect the rights of all citizens and to safeguard environments where women can study and work.

News article - Japan Broadcasting Corporation

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan provides US$76 million to promote digital sector, social and economic development in Cambodia

Japan will provide ¥750 million (US$7 million) to develop the digital sector and ¥7.1 billion (US$69 million) to advance social and economic development in Cambodia.

While Cambodia has a flourishing textile and clothing industry, the Cambodian government aims to advance high-value industries, especially using digital technology. Japan will provide ¥500 million (US$5 million) for a Computerized Numerical Control machine and ¥250 million (US$2 million) for a Global Navigation Satellite System in Cambodia, targeting the digital sector.

Although the population of Seim Reap, Cambodia is growing, the water supply rate is only 25%, the lowest level of any major city in Cambodia. Japan has loaned ¥6.3 billion (US$ 61 million) to expand the water supply in Seim Reap. In addition, Japan will provide ¥250 million (US$2 million) for concrete compressors and material testing equipment, ¥400 million (¥3 million) for training equipment for factory production lines, and ¥200 million (US$1 million) for equipment to detect landmines.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan provides US$3 million to Kenyan agriculture infrastructure, focusing on conversion of organic waste into insect feed and fertilizer

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) invested US$3 million in Sanergy, a U.S. company that collects and transforms organic waste into insect feed, organic fertilizer, and biofuel.

In Nairobi, Kenya approximately half of waste is dumped illegally, and waste disposal sites can only process 0.5 million m3 of the 1.8 million m3 waste brought into sites. Additionally, while agriculture, forestry, and fisheries comprise about 30% of GDP and 40% of employment, limited feed and fertilizer resources have impeded the expansion of farming production.

With private sector investors such as AXA IM Alts, Novastar Ventures, and Finnfund, JICA will invest in Sangery to help with waste management and agricultural development in Kenya. JICA will work with various public and private investors and leverage its network to solve social problems not only in Kenya but in other countries on the African continent.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan provides US$37 million untied loan to improve energy efficiency in Dominican Republic

Co-financed with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Japan will provide ¥3.9 billion (US$37 million) in untied loans to improve energy efficiency in the Dominican Republic. Specifically, the loans will be used to install LED streetlights on public roads, which will promote energy conservation, reduce greenhouse emissions, and promote sustainable economic development.

The untied loan consists of the 6-month Japanese yen (JPY) LIBOR interest rate (the average interest rate London banks are prepared to lend one another in Japanese yen with a 6-month maturity) with 105 basis points, a 40-year repayment period, and a 12-year grace period.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan provides US$315 million to improve oil quality in Iraq

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) provided ¥32.7 billion (US$315 million) in loans to upgrade the Barash Refinery in Iraq. This loan is one-third of the tranche following the ¥42.4 billion (US$408 million) loan in October of 2012 and the ¥110 billion (US$1.0 billion) loan in June of 2019. 

Although Iraq has the fifth-largest oil reserve worldwide, its domestic oil market depends heavily on other oil-producing countries. This project will upgrade the existing oil refinery and install a new Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Complex. The FCC complex will allow Iraq to meet international environmental standards and will contribute to the economic development of Iraq.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to lead global health initiatives

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, could be a global leader in improving global health, especially in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

On September 29, 2021, Fumio Kishida won the Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election.

Kishida’s predecessor, Suga Yoshidide, made important pledges and contributions to support the global COVID-19 response, including the donation of 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and a pledge of US$1.2 billion towards the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative.

In collaboration with partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the US, Japan has provided health equipment and developmental assistance to target countries. However, Japan’s contributions to ACT-A are only half of its “fair share” based on GDP per capita. By furthering Japan’s leadership in global health, Kishida could also advance his goal to strengthen soft power and promote human rights.

News article – The Japan Times

Japan highlights universal health coverage and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines during UN High-Level Meeting

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, joined in the UN High-Level Meeting side-event on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), where participants discussed lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and promoted universal healthcare.

Motegi stated the importance of providing equitable access to vaccines to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and Japan’s contributions to the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility to ensure access to vaccines worldwide. Motegi also called for international cooperation to achieve universal healthcare coverage and emphasized Japan’s commitment to achieving UHC.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Australia is largest donor in Pacific region; Chinese assistance to region falls by one-third

The Lowy Institute’s annual Pacific Aid Map shows that Australia is the largest assistance contributor in the Pacific region, with A$864 million (US$628 million) given in 2019.

New Zealand and Japan were the second and third largest contributors respectively; Chinese assistance was cut by one-third to US$169 million.

Total assistance to the Pacific region in 2019 was US$2.4 billion.

News article - ABC News

Report - The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map

Japan issues US$181 million in bonds for women’s empowerment

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched its first gender bonds to promote women’s empowerment and education. The bonds are valued at ¥20 billion (US$181 million) and were issued in two tranches, 10 years and 20 years of maturity.

The COVID-19 crisis has seen women spending more time at home, resulting in increased domestic violence. In addition, the pandemic has deprived women of educational or employment opportunities. JICA’s gender bonds will help address the global challenges faced by women and contribute to the achievement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Five - Gender Equality. 

News article – Kyodo News

Japan announces commitment to energy access and SDGs at UN Energy Dialogue

At the United Nation’s High-Level Dialogue on Energy, Japan’s State Minister, Eiichiro Washio, announced Japan’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal’s (SDG’s) energy-related targets.

In particular, Washio highlighted Japan’s commitment to increase energy access worldwide and discussed the importance of energy access in promoting human security and economic development.

Japan also announced that it will continue to facilitate international cooperation to improve global energy access in agreement with the "Energy Compact," which summarizes voluntary commitments made by member countries in accordance with the NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) and the SDGs.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan’s PM Suga pledges further development of sustainable food systems to address global food security

During the United Nation’s Food Systems Summit 2021, Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, vowed to continue to create and improve sustainable food systems to address global food security.

Leaders from over 150 countries as well as representatives from international organizations, private companies, and civil society organizations discussed how to tackle food security issues that have deteriorated due to the COVID-19 crisis.

To address specific food security issues, Suga indicated the following points as crucial:

  1. Promoting sustainable production through innovation, digitalization, science, and technology; 
  2. Maintaining free and fair trade, including removing some trade regulations; and 
  3. Supporting approaches in line with regional development efforts by taking into account countries' culture and climate.

News article – Japan Broadcasting Corporation

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan to provide 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, doubling previous pledge

During the Global COVID-19 Summit, Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, pledged 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to worldwide distribution attempts, doubling its previous 30 million dose pledge. Japan has provided 23 million doses to global vaccination efforts thus far, with most allocated to Asian and Pacific countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

Japan additionally committed US$3.9 billion to global health with a particular focus on:

  1. Overcoming the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic; 
  2. Strengthening health systems in preparation for future health crises; and
  3. Creating an appropriate international environment for reinforcing health security across borders.

Press release – Ministry of Affairs (in Japanese)

US and EU to reduce methane emissions by one-third by 2030, Biden says

United States President, Joe Biden, held a virtual summit with global leaders to address responses to harmful methane emissions; Biden announced that the US and Europe agreed to cut global methane emissions by one-third by 2030 and similarly urged other nations to join the "global methane pledge.” 

Biden welcomed representatives from the EU, UK, Italy, Germany, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Russian, Korea, India, Mexico, and the United Nations Secretary-General, to the event. Notably absent were the president of China, although he did send an envoy, and Brazil. 

The meeting precedes the UN's Climate Change Conference, COP26, which will take place in November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Biden called the reduced methane emissions target “ambitious but realistic” and also pledged that the US will assist lower-income countries in meeting the new target. 

News report - The New York Times

 

Japan to provide US$7 million to strengthen medical and electric systems in Micronesia

Japan announced that it will provide ¥400 million (US$4 million) to strengthen health and medical capacity and ¥300 million (US$3 million) to stabilize the supply of electricity in Micronesia.

Hospitals in the country often lack equipment and personnel, and people living in rural areas and remote islands have difficulty accessing medical care. These funds will provide medical containers, medical patrol vehicles, and other healthcare and medical-related equipment to ensure that medical care can reach rural areas and remote islands.

Micronesia additionally relies on diesel power generation for most of its electricity supply. It is quite vulnerable to international fluctuations in crude oil prices and transportation costs. These funds will help stabilize the country’s energy supply by providing fuel oil for power generation.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan launches US$192 million in non-guaranteed domestic bonds for SDGs

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched ¥20 billion (US$192 million) in non-guaranteed domestic bonds in two tranches: ¥10 billion (US$96 million) with a 10-year maturity and ¥10 billion (US$96 million) with a 20-year maturity.

The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) has earmarked the funds as 'social bonds,' and they are qualified by the Japan Research Institute. The bonds are expected to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)