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Donor Tracker to host webinar on education in emergencies

Join the Donor Tracker on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, at 15:00-16:00 CET for a webinar addressing education in emergencies, featuring experts from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a global fund and partnership to improve education in lower-income countries, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency.

The growth of protracted conflicts and the increasing prevalence of emergencies globally have impacted the educational opportunities of millions of children. Precarious humanitarian situations around the world have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. With just ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), amid a global pandemic, prioritizing the educational needs of the world’s most vulnerable children is more important than ever.

However, are donors dedicating sufficient attention to education in emergencies? Join the webinar for a discussion on financing needs, donor priorities, and policy trends in the sector.

This webinar complements our recently published report, ‘Decades of neglect: Donor financing for education in emergencies’.

Registration - Zoom

Report - Donor Tracker

Japan pledges US$1 million for COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, support for ongoing US$19.0 billion 'Japan-ASEAN Connectivity Initiative'

Japan announced that it will cooperate with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to fight the COVID-19 crisis by strengthening supply chains and utilizing digital technology. Japan additionally pledged US$1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund for regional support.

Japan stated that it will support hard and soft infrastructure development in ASEAN's ongoing ¥2.00 trillion (US$19.0 billion) 'Japan-ASEAN Connectivity Initiative' (which includes building transnational land, sea, and air corridors to increase access and trade), as well as human resource development for 1,000 individuals over the next three years.

Japan also emphasized its goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 and its desire to work with ASEAN countries to further reduce emissions.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Joint statement - ASEAN-Japan Summit

Japan provides US$9 million to prevent pediatric infections in Afghanistan

Japan has agreed to provide ¥940 million (US$9 million) to strengthen the prevention of pediatric infections in Afghanistan, which will provide polio vaccines for approximately one million children under the age of one and for three million women in their reproductive years.

In 2018, the mortality rate for children under five years old was 62 per 1000 births in Afghanistan. 27% of these deaths were caused by infectious diseases. The implementation of routine vaccinations will decrease the number of infectious diseases in children and women throughout Afghanistan.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan provides US$35 million in loans to microfinance institutions in low-income ASEAN countries with focus on financial inclusion of women

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) invested US$35 million in the “COVID-19 Emerging Frontier Markets MSME Support Fund”, to provide loans to microfinance institutions in low-income countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

The COVID-19 crisis has had major impacts on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), especially for businesses run by women. During this crisis, microfinance institutions, which are organizations that provide financial services to low-income individuals and businesses, have been critical in supporting MSMEs in partner countries. 

JICA’s funds will be managed by the investment manager, Blue Orchard Finance Ltd., to actively support the financial inclusion of women in partner countries in the ASEAN region. US and UK development finance institutions have also announced their participation in the fund. 

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japanese think tank launches WELCO Lab to increase global health collaboration among Japanese companies

In October 2020, Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting, a Japanese think tank, launched the WELCO Lab for Global Health to build multisectoral collaboration between Japanese companies for developing innovative solutions to global health issues.

With the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s support, the WELCO Lab has currently brought together 13 Japanese companies that are committed to solving global health issues, and it is welcoming more members.

By publicizing these companies' future global health projects, the WELCO Lab aims to strengthen commitments and build connections among companies with the goal of collaboration and co-creation.

News article - Jiji Press

Japan commits up to US$238 million in ODA loans to strengthen Mongolia's COVID-19 response

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced that it will provide up to ¥25.0 billion (US$238 million) in official development assistance (ODA) loans to strengthen Mongolia’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The loans will be used to implement emergency response measures for the health, economic, and social sectors to mitigate the socioeconomic damage caused by the pandemic. The loans will also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 3 (Zero Hunger), and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).

The interest rate for the loan is 0.01% per annum with a 15-year repayment period and a four-year grace period.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan completes US$20 million irrigation project in Rwanda to help agricultural sector

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) completed a project worth US$20 million of three irrigation dams and a main irrigation canal in Eastern Rwanda.

Launched in February 2019, the project included the rehabilitation of two storage dams, called Cyimpima and Gashara, and the construction of a new storage dam, Bugugu. The project covered three marshlands totaling 170 hectares located in Kigabiro, Mwulire, and Rubona, which is used by 1,174 farmers.

The project will improve irrigation and increase the yield of farms, contributing to the development of the agricultural sector.

News article - The New Times

Japan provides US$407 million in loans for East-West Economic Corridor infrastructure, small and medium-sized companies in Myanmar

Japan announced that it will provide ¥42.8 billion (US$407 million) in loans to build a bridge and finance small and medium-sized companies in Myanmar.

¥27.8 billion (US$264 million) of the funds will be used for the construction of a bridge in Myanmar that will be part of the East-West Economic Corridor that crosses Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The Corridor aims to facilitate more trade in the Mekong region which includes these four countries and Cambodia, increasing access to the Indian market and potentially alleviating the region's economic dependence on the Chinese market.

The remainder of the loans, ¥15.0 billion (US$143 million), will be used to stabilize small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and help mitigate the socioeconomic damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis in Myanmar.

Press release – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

News article – Japan Times

Japan emphasizes international cooperation for health systems strengthening during OECD meeting

From October 28-29, 2020, 37 OECD member countries including Japan participated in the OECD Meeting of Council at Ministerial Level. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga opened with a video message and highlighted the importance of international cooperation to strengthen health systems.

Suga praised the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Program (SEARP) support of policy reforms and efforts in Southeast Asia and highlighted their efforts for digital transformation.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Press release – Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

Japan announces joint lead managers of JICA COVID-19 response bonds

The joint lead managers of the Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA's) new COVID-19 Response Social Bonds have been announced. The bonds, which come in ten- and twenty-year varieties, are non-guaranteed, domestic, capital market bonds, and are expected to be launched in December 2020.

For the ten-year Fiscal Investment and Loan Program (FILP) Agency Bonds, the joint lead managers will be SMBC Nikko Securities, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, Mizuho Securities, and SBI Securities.

For the 20-year bonds, the Joint Lead Managers will be SMBC Nikko Securities, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, and Mizuho Securities.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan provides US$20 million to improve hospitals in Cambodia

Japan has agreed to provide ¥2.1 billion (US$20 million) to improve referral hospitals in the Siem Reap Province in Cambodia. 

The project will be implemented at the Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital and four subordinate referral hospitals. The project is estimated to take 69 months and will include the construction of a new ward and the maintenance of medical equipment for three years after delivery.

The project is expected to improve basic health services and contribute to Sustainable Development Goals three and eleven (good health and sustainable communities). 

Press release – The Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan will provide US$33 million to improve schools, living conditions of Palestinian refugees

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced that it will provide ¥2.4 billion (US$33 million) to improve schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as improve the living environments of refugee camps in the West Bank.

JICA will improve 155 classrooms, rooms for teachers, libraries, multipurpose halls, science laboratories, technology laboratories, accessible classrooms, toilets, and more, to ten schools. JICA will procure ICT (information and computer technology) and educational equipment, as well as provide consulting services. JICA will also provide grants to improve refugee camps in the West Bank, especially for youth, people with disabilities, and women.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan holds Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, discusses “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”, COVID-19, continued cooperation

On October 20, 2020, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi held the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) to strengthen cooperation with Pacific Island countries. He discussed Japan’s cooperation with Pacific Islanders to establish a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”, as well as Japan’s continued efforts to provide assistance and promote human resource development.

Motegi also highlighted Japan’s provision of medical supplies and equipment to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the Pacific Islands. Japan aims to work with the Pacific Island countries to address international issues.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Press release - Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting

Japan's Board of Audit releases report evaluating development assistance programs, recommends additional steps

On October 20, 2020, the Board of Audit of Japan published a report evaluating the effectiveness of Japan’s development assistance programs. The report focused on whether Japan’s development assistance programs have addressed the current situations of partner countries, whether provisions were being utilized, and whether adjustments were made with partner countries to ensure the steady implementation of such programs.

The report reviewed the construction of primary schools in Papua New Guinea as well as the Solomon Islands’ radio broadcasting network for disaster prevention. Japan provided ¥8 million (US$79 thousand) for the construction of two primary schools in Papua New Guinea, but due to safety concerns, the construction of these schools was abandoned without Japan’s knowledge. The Board of Audit recommended that necessary actions be taken to confirm the progress of future projects.

Furthermore, Japan provided ¥500 million (US$4 million) to install a radio broadcasting network for disaster prevention in the Solomon Islands. However, during a field survey, the Board of Audit noticed that parts of the equipment have been defective for at least one year. The report, therefore, suggested that Japan should provide sufficient communication on how to maintain the equipment to ensure that it functions during emergencies.

Press release - Board of Audit of Japan (in Japanese)

News article - Tokyo Shimbun (in Japanese)

News article - Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese)

Japan’s Suga highlights continued partnership with ASEAN in speech

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made a speech at the Vietnam-Japan University (VJUL), sharing Japan’s vision in Asia and his desire to build relationships with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

ASEAN and Japan have been working closely together, which has been exemplified during the COVID-19 crisis. Vietnam sent 1.2 million masks to Japan, while Japan has been providing medical supplies and equipment in the form of grant assistance, as well as helping human resource development.

Suga also discussed a range of cooperation efforts to improve connectivity in ASEAN countries. Presently, Japan has been focusing on hard and soft infrastructure, but the future will be in digital technology and supply chains. Suga also stressed the importance of human resource development through strengthening partnerships, and that Japan's and ASEAN's shared views on rule of law, openness, freedom, transparency, and inclusiveness will help collaboration.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

With eye toward zoootic disease detection, Japan announces technical support for veterinary clinical studies in Zambia

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced plans to strengthen the capacity for clinical studies at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zambia.

In the Republic of Zambia, about 60% of the working population is involved in the agricultural sector, of which more than 70% have at least one kind of livestock. However, outbreaks of animal diseases and zoonoses (infections or diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans) can affect farmers' livelihoods and threaten human health.

While the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zambia has cooperated with Japan to further clinical research, most of their equipment is degraded and the educational system needs improvement, according to JICA. Therefore, JICA will strengthen teaching capacity and help improve lectures and practical classes to produce skilled veterinarians.

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

OECD commends Japan’s contribution to sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, but urges whole-of-government approach, transparent procedures for poverty reduction

In a new peer review of Japan, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) reviewed Japan’s cooperation efforts. The DAC commended Japan’s commitment to sustainable development, respecting partner countries' ownership and mutual benefit, and disaster risk reduction. However, the report suggested that Japan should promote whole-of-government country policies, reduce tied development assistance, streamline systems and procedures, utilize conflict analysis, and improve strategic evaluation.

The review states that Japan increased official development assistance (ODA) by 40.70% to US$14.2 billion in 2018, approximately 0.28% of its gross national income (GNI). The preliminary figures for 2019 show that Japan’s ODA/GNI ratio is 0.29%, which falls below the UN target for ODA/GNI of 0.70%. Increasing Japan’s ODA could strengthen Japan’s leadership and commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Japan’s share of ODA to low-income countries rose from 23% in 2014 to 31% in 2018. While this increase is commendable, Japan does not have a clear integrated approach to ensure that its policies benefit even the most vulnerable. Moreover, the review found that the share of untied bilateral ODA decreased from 74.60% in 2016 to 67.20% in 2018 and that Japan should work to untie development assistance. Additionally, interagency coordination can be improved to address future clashes between Japan's domestic policies and sustainable development objectives. 

Report - Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Japan-funded LEAP finances Vietnam’s largest solar power plant

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a US$9 million loan to finance Vietnam’s largest solar power plant through the 'Leading Asia's Private Infrastructure Fund' (LEAP) funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

In cooperation with The B.Grimm Power Public Company Limited (Thai independent power producer) and Vietnam's Truong Thanh Viet Nam Group Joint Stock Company, the ADB will support the construction of a 257-megawatt solar power project in Phu Yen Province. This solar powerplant is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 123,000 tons per year, which will reduce dependence on coal and diesel fuels and promote the use of clean domestic energy resources. 

Press release – Japan International Cooperation Agency

Hosting meeting on universal health coverage, Japan announces US$130 million to COVAX AMC for vaccine production

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi announced that Japan will contribute more than US$130 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), through Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance. COVAX AMC serves as the financing instrument for Gavi's larger COVAX Facility, which focuses on production and equitable distribution of future COVID-19 vaccines.

Speaking at the October 8, 2020, Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage Ministerial Meeting, which aimed to accelerate efforts to promote universal health coverage globally, Motegi emphasized the importance of equitable vaccine access, health systems strengthening, and bolstering health security to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

This latest pledge to COVAX AMC is part of a commitment made by Japan at the June 2020 Global Vaccine Summit for a total of US$300 million.

The October 8 meeting was attended by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom, various foreign ministers, as well as representatives of international organizations, the private sector, and civil society, among others. 

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Transcript - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Transcript - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Factsheet - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Japan attends OECD Development Centre meeting on COVID-19 recovery, highlights importance of quality infrastructure investment

On October 6, 2020, Japan's Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Satoshi Nakanishi participated in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Development Centre's 6th High-Level Meeting of the Governing Board, entitled 'A New Deal for Development: Laying the Foundations for a Resilient Recovery and Beyond'.

This meeting was attended by the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Li Yong, who emphasized the need to strengthen the productive capacities of low-income countries, support industry policy, and create an inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the COVID-19 recovery process.

Nakanishi underlined the importance of the strong infrastructure investment by highlighting the 'G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment' and the 'Compendium of Policy Good Practices for Quality Infrastructure Investment' (written by the OECD Development Centre for governments to use when making and implementing policies).

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese)

Transcript – Ministry of Foreign Affairs