We made a press release on the revision of the Development Cooperation Charter (DCC): “Call for a Charter that truly stands for Human Security!”

On December 9, 2022, a report was submitted by the Advisory Panel on the revision of the DCC to Mr. Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs. We, as members of civil society, held a press conference at the Japan National Press Club hosted by the NGO-side coordinator of the ODA Policy Council and the NGO-side committee of the Partnership Promotion Committee for the NGO-Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Regular Consultation Meeting.


Press Release: “Call for a Charter that truly stands for Human Security!”

December 9, 2022

-Will the government use development cooperation as a “diplomatic tool” and relax the non-military principle? Civil society blew a whistle on the report by the Advisory Panel on the Revision of the Development Cooperation Charter –

Masaki INABA

Representative NGO member for the revision of the

Development Cooperation Charter, NGO-MOFA

Regular Consultation Meeting

Civil Society Advisory Group for the Revision of the

Development Cooperation Charter

On December 9, the Advisory Panel on the Revision of the DCC submitted a report that includes recommendations for the revision of the Charter to Mr. Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The DCC is the supreme policy document for Japanese development cooperation such as the Official Development Assistance (ODA). Masaki INABA, a joint representative of the Africa-Japan Forum and a committee member of the Advisory Panel from civil society, said that the report has some commendable points, in that the report requires the achievement of the UN-set target of raising ODA up to 0.7% of gross domestic income within a given time-limit. However, he warns about the issues it contains. “Based on their unique view of the world, the Japanese government uses development cooperation for developing countries as a diplomatic tool for short-term foreign policy objectives, strengthening support for military and military personnel while claiming to retain the non-military principle. On the other hand, their relationships with civil society, a supposed development cooperation partner, have been neglected. I wonder if the revised Charter will stand ten years.”

According to the report, the Japanese government plans to quickly develop the outline of the Charter, solicit public comments, and conduct public hearings and opinion exchange meetings to revise the Charter in the first half of the year 2023. Yumiko HORIE, the Advocacy Manager of Save the Children Japan, said, “In the report, development cooperation is treated as a diplomatic tool, and it is clear that it will be used as a means of achieving recent Japanese diplomatic objectives such as the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) and Economic Security. Under such circumstances, it would be impossible to attain the original goals of development cooperation of saving vulnerable people’s lives by challenging worsening climate change, economic disparity, and social division with a long-span perspective.”

As a strategic partner of the government, civil society has been seeking the original meaning of development cooperation for decades. “However, the implementation of ODA through NGOs has been under 2% of the total, far below 15% which is the average of the member nations of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). In the revised DCC, concrete plans must be stipulated for enhancing support for NGOs and civil society, who are seeking the original meaning of development cooperation”, claimed Yoshiteru HORIE, President of the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan.

The report underscores a sense of impending crisis of global security by referring, for example, to the phrase “a period of complicated competition among nations.” “If that is true, the government must strengthen the non-military principle that has been upheld so far in the present DCC. On the contrary, however, the report says that the government will boost support for military and military personnel and will review the conventional description of watching the target nation’s trend of military spending. In that case, this would leave the chance that development cooperation could perpetuate human rights abuses, for example, by supporting the military and police of the Philippines, a country where severe human rights violations continue. We call for thorough compliance with the non-military principle which would prevent development cooperation targeting military or military personnel and law enforcement bodies with power”, Takaki IMAI, President of the Japan International Volunteer Center, pointed out.

“It’s not too late. We ask that the government listen to the calls of civil society and revise the DCC so that it aims for development cooperation with a prospect for the next 10 years, truly embodying the paradigm of human security”, called Masaki INABA, who led the discussion of the Advisory Panel as a representative of civil society.

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