19/12/2016 - Japan, one of the founding members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)’s Development Centre in 1962, made a welcome return to the Centre last June and continues to show strong commitment to advancing sustainable development through constructive engagement with developing and emerging economies.
The country has been a key player in development cooperation -with its three-pronged approach towards nations, institutions and people - and is an essential contributor to strengthening the global ties of solidarity notably through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The 2000s witnessed remarkable advances in terms of growth and development in most of the emerging and developing economies, shifting the world’s economic centre of gravity away from the industrialised countries. This shifting wealth phenomenon lifted millions out of poverty. The share of China’s population living on less than USD 1.90 (2011 Purchase Parity Power) per day fell from 31.95% in 2002 to 1.85% in 2013, and other countries in the region have also seen large declines in poverty. In Viet Nam, for example, the rate fell from 38.8% in 2002 to 3.0% in 2014.
And while the coming years are expected to bring new opportunities for development, they will also come with new risks, such as climate change, rising inequality and rapid population growth - especially in Africa and South Asia. Those risks could alter the progress made so far on improving well-being in the developing economies, including in emerging Asia.
These topics are at the heart of today’s Seminar on Global Development Trends and Challenges Emerging in Asia hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organised by the OECD Development Centre. Director Mario Pezzini is leading the Centre’s delegation of experts. Kiyoshi Odawara, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan delivered the opening remarks. Toshihiro Nikai, a senior Member of House of Representatives of Japan, and Shinichi Kitaoka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) made keynote speeches. Other main speakers included Tadahiko Ito, State Minister for the Environment, Fauziah Zen, Economist of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and Naohiro Kitano, Director, JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI).
By helping developing countries draw from its own challenges and experiences, and from those of other industrialised and emerging economies in Asia and other regions, Japan can empower them to formulate their own mix of innovative development policies to reach the SDGs.
The Development Centre provides analytical and comparative policy expertise and dialogue platforms – at the global, national and regional levels – and can help Japan leverage its experience and resources to stimulate innovative policy making in emerging Asia and in developing countries.
Key projects discussed during the Seminar include the Multi-dimensional Country Reviews (MDCRs) in the framework of the SDGs, the OECD Initiative on Global Value Chains and Productive Transformation, the Gender programme that shares research, data and solutions to advance gender equality, and connectivity and infrastructure in Asia. The discussions also build on data from the recently released OECD Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India 2017 which focuses on tackling energy challenges and Revenue statistics in Asian Countries 2016. The discussions addressed key development questions facing the region such as the high quality infrastructure and the productivity.
The experiences of Japan and other emerging countries in Asia can help the OECD Development Centre tackle a wide range of development challenges that developing countries in other regions are facing. In this context, the participants heard the Development Centre’s presentation on the nexus between development and the environment, including natural disaster risk management where the country would be able to share its own hands-on expertise. The Centre has a track record of fostering environmental sustainability through its work on Africa’s urbanisation, the use of renewable energy in the industrial sector, and its dialogue with private investors from the greening economy working group of the OECD Emerging Markets Network (EMnet), and on natural resources management in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group. The Development Centre valued the contribution by Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and JICA, and renewed its intention to further strengthen the cooperation with ERIA and JICA.
Alongside six other Members from Asia, including China, the Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam, Japan is an active player of the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme that aims to foster the mutual learning and the exchange of good practices between policy makers in Southeast Asia and OECD countries.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Ms Naoko Ueda (Naoko.Ueda@oecd.org; tel: +188.8.131.52.25.29) OECD Development Centre’s Deputy Director.