Global Health Summit 2008

Main Contents
Follow-Up Meeting in Tokyo

organizer
supporter
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
  • Ministry of Finance

Media

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Newspaper
  • The Nihon Keizai Shimbun

    March 11th 2008,
    Morning Edition, page 29
    Keizai Kyoshitsu

    Japan should demonstrate leadership in global health

    French

  • The Japan Times

    February 24th 2008, page 2

    World Bank asks Japan to double medical ODA

  • The Japan Times

    February 18th 2008, page 2

    Experts push global health initiatives for G8 summit
    >>Online version

  • The Asahi Shimbun

    February 11th 2008, Morning Edition, page 4
    Opinion column "Today’s Topic"

    Global Health Summit to convene on February 16th (Sat)

TV
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The Nihon Keizai Shimbun
March 11th 2008,
Morning Edition, page 29
Keizai Kyoshitsu

zoom

 

French

 

More support needed for the efforts of private companies

Firstly, governments should, from the beginning, include private foundations as governmental partners in formulating measures and programs regarding development issues. In the area of global health, there are many private foundations in the world with monetary resources comparable to those of governments. Examples include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (US) and the Welcome Trust (UK). Although it is more often the case in Japan that the government establishes a framework and then invites actors from the private sector, this process tends to hinder large-scale cooperation between the government and the private sector.

Secondly, a new funding mechanism should be established in collaboration with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and African Development Bank. Something to be noted in this respect is a funding mechanism called “outcome-based debt buy-down”. It has been piloted in several projects including polio eradication projects in Pakistan. If a target for polio reduction is reached, donor governments and foundations “buy down” a certain amount of the loan or credit needed for the project implementation. Because it is outcome-based, it lowers the barrier for extending assistance, at the same time creating incentives for borrowing countries to achieve specific targets. It is an effective mechanism to involve outcome-conscious private organizations in development assistance and to promote efficient use of donor governments’ funds.

Furthermore, there are two measures to be taken in the medium and long term, which should be initiated immediately.

The first is to support the efforts of private companies. Companies from Europe, the US, and China have been rushing into African markets, which have been enjoying high economic growth rates in recent years. While Japanese companies as a whole are somewhat behind in this trend, there are some exceptions. One example is Sumitomo Chemical, which has developed mosquito nets for preventing malaria and greatly contributed to creating local employment by building its factories in Africa. The problem is that most Japanese people and companies do not know about these outstanding efforts.

From this year’s Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) on, the Hideyo Noguchi Prize for Africa will be awarded every five years. This prize was established by the Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to reward outstanding achievements in the fields of basic medical research and medical services contributing to the health and welfare of the people of Africa. The Japanese government's enthusiasm for raising the prize to a level that rivals the Nobel Prizes is attracting attention in the international community. It is critical to provide strong support for the efforts of private companies so that there will be more outstanding achievements made by companies in new fields.

The second measure to be taken is to support NGOs in enhancing their public relations activities. The Japanese government, out of fear of criticism, tends not to build close cooperative ties with NGOs beyond a certain level. However, NGOs can help to shape public opinion in favor of extending international assistance through their public relations efforts. This in turn would guarantee political support for providing assistance under severe fiscal circumstances. Without the efforts of civil society to shape favorable public opinion, it is hard to establish a stable foundation for providing international aid.

The G8 Summit is where the agenda-setting ability of the host country is tested. Among many challenges such as climate change and the world economic slowdown, global health is the area where Japan can exert strong leadership. Japan is expected to follow the G8 Okinawa Summit tradition to appropriately set agendas, create a new trend in which the private sector can participate widely, and to lead the world on the issue of global health.