18 June 2007

The Upper House ODA Committee Adopts the Recommendation to Create a Human Security Centre

(From the left: Mme. OGATA, Prime Minister ABE, and Foreign Minister ASO)

(Tokyo - 13 June 2007) The Upper House Special Committee on Official Development Assistance and Related Matters on Wednesday adopted an interim report on the status of the Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA), which included a recommendation to the Cabinet to establish a Human Security Centre (tentative name) for capacity building of individual peace workers and establishing job security (a career path) for all personnel working overseas on government mission.

The Committee, led by Deputy Chief Director of the Cabinet Office MASAAKI YAMAZAKI (LDP) and also where Senator TADASHI INUZUKA (DPJ) plays a leading role as Head Director, have unanimously adopted the recommendation included in the interim report entitled, "Towards New Forms of International Assistance". With the presence of Mme. SADAKO OGATA, the President of JICA or Japan International Cooperation Agency, Prime Minister SHINZO ABE said he would consider the recommendation for adoption in the Cabinet.

Below is an excerpt from the section on Human Security Centre (unofficial translation).

(1) Establishment of a Human Security Centre (tentative name)   
Development of personnel capacity is of utmost significance to our Committee when considering the future of development assistance. We must expand our assistance budget in this area of development assistance. In particular, we are in pressing need of individuals who can strategically facilitate innovation and discovery of new items as well as those who can commit themselves in peace building efforts.

For example, for the development of peace-building personnel, formulation of an integrated and comprehensive training program which incorporates a variety of fields such as emergency humanitarian relief, development assistance, governance support, and peace-keeping operations would be necessary to increase the number of assistance experts. 
Personnel development and training has already been discussed in the report submitted in 2002 by the Advisory Group on International Cooperation for Peace and further refurbished by the proposal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in developing a "School to build peace builders". Studies are also underway at the new Ministry of Defense to setup a training center for international peace operations.  

Although these efforts are to be commended, the training framework to be set up by the government, JICA, and others must not delve into the pitfall of bureaucratic sectionalism. Instead, practical division of labor, communication and coordination must be set in place to enable efficient execution of development assistance, peace-building, and peace-keeping operations.  

With all of these past achievements well accounted for, we recommend to put into perspective the establishment of a Human Security Centre (tentative name) where experienced field personnel and researchers from within Japan and from abroad can participate in a robust and comprehensive training program to facilitate the development of a central hub training center in Asia.

The meeting was followed by a press conference and the news was covered in all of the major newspapers in Japan such as the Nikkei, the Yomiuri, and Sankei (none available in English).

The possibility of the current administration to consider this proposal could open up the path to establishing a standing group of peace-operators composed of willing individuals, constructing the basis of a new form of contribution in Japan's future international peace operations.


sumisu said...

That's all very nice, but the UN has proven itself absolutely incapable of protecting life, or preventing genocide. It has done a much better job of assisting, and in some cases promoting, genocide- Srebrenica is one example of many. It is inevitable that Article 9 will be amended out of existence in the near future, and I am not sure that that is a bad thing.

The problem with pacifism is that it only works if there is someone else to do your killing for you. Japan has been in such a state since the end of WWII, with the US supplying the muscle. In the aftermath of the Iraq war I think the US is going to be much less willing to be involved in foreign wars. Japan will have to retake its place in the world.

To "protect life to its fullest", you must be willing to take life. A true pacifist cannot protect anyone, and must rely on another for his own protection. To think otherwise is to live in a dreamworld, one that reality will inevitably shatter.

So you must choose- you can be a pacifist, or you can protect life, but you cannot do both anymore than you can fly by flapping your arms. As my mother used to say, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

Tadashi said...

The Security Council, great power maneuvering; the General Assembly, a theatre for empty rhetoric; the Economic and Social Council, a dysfunctional irrelevance; and the Secretariat, alarmingly inefficient. May be it is not fair to say all that including your comment above, but that’s why we need UNEPS.

We've been under US umbrella spending minimum on the military affairs, and that has been the reason for the recovery. Now what we need for many areas of the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan for instance, is the Civilian Military Cooperation (CIMIC). Japan should be repositioning its place in the world not as a member of great power alliance, but as a country that literally rebuilt its nation from ashes.

We need a set of principles to exercise a will to kill, or I prefer to call it a legitimacy of use of force. A terrorist for one side is a resistance hero for the other, and that is why we need to stick to the UN reform.

I don't dream of a world without wars, but designing a world not going to wars, I do. This is the very concept of the Responsibility To Protect (R2P) approach, upon which UNEPS rests its foundation.