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  May 1999    

UNU and MOFA cohost international development symposium
The United Nations University and the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on 24 June 1999 jointly hosted an International Symposium on Development. Attending this full-day symposium held at the UNU Centre in Tokyo were high-level officials of several major international organizations as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations, donor countries, and overseas development assistance recipient countries.

The theme of the symposium was "Development: With a Special Focus on Human Security." Symposium participants explored the modalities of cooperation among actors in the development process and discussed several practical and specific development issues, including health care, poverty eradication, and development in Africa.

The symposium's Opening Session included remarks by Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Masahiko Koumura, and a keynote speech by Mr. Keizo Takemi, Japan's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Takemi reminded participants that "although globalization has helped to bring about economic growth and higher standards of living, it has also engendered an awareness of the existence of problems that threaten human lives, livelihoods, and dignity." He said the Government of Japan, therefore, "has elected to make human security one of the essential principles for the conduct of Japanese foreign policy, with the intention of making the twenty-first century a truly 'human-centred' century."

Session 1 focused on "A Human Security Perspective for Health Care Issues." Dr. Shigeru Omi, Regional Director for the World Health Organization, discussed reform of the health care system, and Dr. Lincoln Chen, Executive Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke on the process of translating theory into action. According to Dr. Chen, the concept of human security "brings together 'freedom from want' with 'freedom from fear' - the foundation of human development and human rights, respectively. To these 'negative freedoms' are added 'positive freedoms' of belief, of association, and of participation."

The topic of Session 2 was "A New Approach to Poverty Eradication and the Relief of the Vulnerable Members of Society in the Age of Globalization." Speaking in this session were Dr. Richard Jolly, Special Adviser to the Administrator, UN Development Programme, who discussed human-centred development, and Mr. Kiyoshi Araki, Deputy Director-General of MOFA's Economic Cooperation Bureau, who reviewed Japan's assistance policies. Session 3 considered "Priorities in Assistance to Africa from the Viewpoint of Human Security." Speakers for this session were Mr. Micah Cheserem, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, and Mr. Kaoru Ishikawa, Deputy Director-General of MOFA's Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau. The symposium closed in late afternoon with concluding remarks by Mr. Hideaki Ueda, Director-General of MOFA's Multilateral Cooperation Department.

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