This paper argues that serious signs of economic weakness, which could lead to social and political disintegration, are emerging in some of East Asia's leading economies. The first section discusses the economic policy distortions that weaken East Asian countries' participation in the global economy. A slowing down of growth rates may be expected as the more advanced of the East Asian economies catch up with the more mature industrial countries, but if present policy distortions are not contained and reversed, a substantial fall in growth rates and worsening income distribution will lead to economic stagnation and widespread social and political unrest before high incomes are reached. The second part of the paper turns to underlying political economy issues that have to be resolved if growth with equity and environmental sustainability, and hence social well being and economic and political development, are to continue.
The Mekong Committee, which was composed of the four riparian countries in the lower Mekong river basin, was created in 1957 for the purpose of promoting economic development of the river basin. The Committee in 1970 elaborated the Indicative Basin Plan (IBP), which aimed at flood control, irrigation and power generation within riparian countries, by constructing several large dams in the mainstream. Integrated management of the basin was then assumed essential to promote such a huge development scheme.
However, the scheme suggested in IBP was not materialized, due to (i) lack of support from the World Bank and associated financing organizations, and (ii) changeover of political regime in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in mid 1970's. The circumstance remained unchanged until early 1990's.
The new agreement among basin countries was adopted in 1995. Though it provides principles for sustainable development, utilization, management and conservation of the water and related resources of the Mekong river basin, the integrated management of the river basin is now much less likely to be materialized (than it used to be in early 1970's) due to following factors: (i) Thailand puts the highest priority on securing water resources from the Mekong river for her irrigation development scheme in the north-eastern region, to which Vietnam has objected. (ii) Cooperation among riparian countries is now less firm, than it used to be in 1960's, due to the conflict between Thailand and Vietnam. (iii) Thailand, as a rapidly industrializing country, does not need to stay within the framework of cooperation among basin countries, which used to be a show-case to solicit funds from developed countries and aid organizations, and (iv) large-scale development projects in the main stream, as suggested in IBP, may no longer be implemented due to their possible effects on environment.
Contrary to the commonly-held perceptions, it is not Sub-Saharan Africa but South Asia which is the world's biggest home of child malnutrition More than half of the malnourished children in the world live in this region. Also in terms of proportion, South Asia has been showing by far the highest incidence of child malnutrition throughout the world: almost 60 percent of its children are underweight compared with the international standard, while it is just over 30 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa.
This paper analyzes the possible causes and processes of this high incidence of child malnutrition in South Asia with special reference to India. The author first examines several economic factors which are normally associated with the situation of nutritional situation in the country, viz. the level of overall food production and supply, the average level of income and its distribution, and the incidence and intensity of absolute poverty. Comparing India with Sub-Saharan African countries, the author concludes that none of these factors can satisfactorily explain the exceptionally high incidence of underweight children in India. The author then analyzes two more factors in detail which are more social than economic. One is the low social status and poor physical conditions of Indian women, and how it leads to inter-generational process of child malnutrition in India through low birth weight. Another is the problems in care and feeding for young children in India, particularly the timing of introducing appropriate supplementary food to the young infants at home, and how children get malnourished by two years of age before the conventional feeding programme starts. In the end, the author briefly comments on the practical implications of the results of these analyses for the planning and management of nutrition programme and nutrition-relevant actions in India and South Asia.
Extensive industrial relocation is taking place in Asia due to various factors such as labor costs, changes in the exchange rate, and the quest for new markets. In particular, Japanese manufacturers have largely shifted their production facilities to other countries in Asia. This paper discusses the environmental implications of the increased presence of Japanese-affiliated firms in China, which is the second largest recipient of Japanese foreign investment next to the US. The number of foreign-affiliated firms has increased gradually in China since the 1980s: in 1994, the share of foreign-affiliated firms in its industrial gross output value amounted to 13.6%, it was as large as 38% in Guangdongthe Province. Foreign-affiliated firms usually employ the same technology as they have used in their home countries, and this greatly contributes to the modernization of the industrial technology of the recipient country in terms of emissions and primary resource consumption per unit of production. It is estimated that the contribution of foreign-affiliated firms to the total energy consumption in China was about 2% while they contributed to a reduction in energy intensity per unit of production (energy consumption per GDP) in China by 26.5% from 1982 to 1994. This phenomenon was significant in Guangdong Province.
Japanese technical cooperation in Malaysia was studied as a possible model for other middle income countries. Project finding activities were weak, particularly at the state government level. For more effective project finding, active information exchange in the Japanese technical cooperation system in Malaysia and use of Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers as an information source from grass roots were suggested.
The prominent contribution of individual experts to identification and formulation of development survey projects was indicated. However, the share of individual experts has declined since the late 1980's. The supply of individual experts may be limited because of difficulties in recruiting from Japanese industries. The lengthy preparation period before dispatching personnel was also investigated. Introducing “program assistance” for quick and flexible technical cooperation was recommended to shorten the period and meet rapidly changing Malaysian needs for experts.
There was a positive correlation between the amount of ODA and the number of articles on international cooperation in a major Malaysian newspaper. More than half of these articles pertained to Japanese assistance, which was reported objectively. Information dissemination not only to recipient government circles, but to research institutions and public libraries was implied.
Local Governments have been playing a crucial role in pollution control in Japan since the 1960s. Since the prioritization of environmental projects in Japan's ODA, the experience and technologies of Japan's local governments have been important in providing technical assistance to developing countries which face similar pollution problems as Japan did.
From 1991 to 1996, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Environment Agency of the national government was only able to respond to less than 20% of requests of developing countries for the dispatch of urban environmental management officials. JICA dispatched 240 experts of whom 89 (37%) were local government officials. Yet, with over ten thousand environmental officials employed by Japan's local governments, a better utilization of this human resource should make it possible for Japanese ODA to better serve the needs of the developing countries.
International cooperation between the local governments in Japan and those in developing countries has recently become active. Some local governments have even established their own institutions for international environmental cooperation. A number of Japanese local governments are cooperating with Chinese local governments most of which are their sister cities.
The environmental cooperation between Kitakyushu City in Japan and Dalian City in China in the preparation of the “Environmental Master Plan for Dalian” involved an innovative approach for local governments. Unlike most of those programs which are dependent upon budgetary constraints, they successfully extended their financial capability by implementing their program as a JICA's development research program. This plan involves some infrastructure projects, taking the possibility of loans from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) or international lending institutions into account.
It is, however, still often difficult for local governments to launch international cooperation projects even when they have been requested by the Japanese national government. Because the Local Government Law does not stipulate that international cooperation is a local government responsibility, the administrative departments of many local governments are reluctant to take a new role which their neighbors have not assumed. Further encouragement by the national government and the establishment of forums to exchange information is needed to facilitate their cooperation.
This paper briefly reviews the role of inland fisheries in an area development project in Bangladesh. The study was done in 1995-1996 by interviews with fishermen in the Tanas (Counties) of Doudkandi and Homna in the Comilla District.
The inland fisheries of Bangladesh have been important sources of animal protein for citizens, and provide employment in rural areas, as well. When the monsoon season starts, riverine water and the increasing rainfall bring about floods, which spread to lowland areas throughout the country. Fisheries in inundated areas are common in rural areas.
In Bangladesh, the widely distributed riverine fishing communities are situated in the vicinity of rivers. People become fishermen with almost no need for capital, but they are generally unable to rise above the poverty level. Inland fisheries are important for business as well as for the livelihood of individuals, but they are not specifically considered in rural development projects in an area.
For effectiveness, it is important to incorporate fishery development plans as part of the overall plan for area development. Inland fisheries should be developed through effective management and conservation of ponds, riverine fisheries, and floodplains.
This paper is concerned with issues of Japanese technical cooperation for the agricultural sector. Regardless of the growing recognition of the importance of the socio-economic and institutional aspects of agricultural and rural development under the currently evolving development thought which embraces the key concepts of equity and sustainability, traditionally, typical Japanese agricultural technical cooperation (especially, Project-Type Technical Cooperation) has been heavily emphasized technological development through research and experimental activities and other technology-related activities, rather than relying on a direct approach to the farmers.
There are several possible reasons for such tendencies (for example, a relative abundance of agricultural technicians, the language communication problems of Japanese agricultural technicians, a lack of appropriate policy dialogue between governments, and the preference of Third World governments for high-tech and large-scale development projects). However, I estimate that more fundamental reasons come from Japan's domestic administrative environment for technical cooperation which is ruled overt by conventional technocratic thinking. Based on this recognition, in this paper I will examine and discuss aspects of Japan's current public administration system for technical cooperation and will show how this domestic administrative environment affects the characteristics of Japan's agricultural technical cooperation.
Based on the discussions, I suggest several strategies for transformation of agricultural technical cooperation from traditional technology-transfer to cooperation for sustainable rural development. The suggestions include utilization of social science knowledge, domestic human resource development, and some long-term bureaucratic reforms.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of rural development projects focused on afforestation. A wide range of rural development components and practices are being encouraged with the objective of increasing a living standard and sustainability of natural resources in the rural areas through afforestation.
This study discusses the current demand for operation and evaluation of the rural development projects, mainly focused on afforestation extension projects. In afforestation extension projects, for the most part, forestry related technical function such as nursery plant have priority. This means extension function are placed as a support function even in operating projects with the name extension, though extension function should be a main function essentially.
This study proposes an alternative operational framework based on project cycle management from the view point of extension function. In particular, this study focuses on afforestation extension projects supported by Japan's technical assistance in the Philippines, Nepal, Kenya. Concluding remarks from the case are as follows. First, extension function should have great importance in an afforestation extension project. Second, field surveys in the view point of socioeconomic conditions bring a useful and necessary data in operating projects. Third, the combination approach based on project environment appraisal and multi criteria appraisal is appropriate in evaluating extension projects. Selection of indicators for each criteria should depend on whether project objectives relate to changes. Even in designing an afforestation project, the view points of rural development are necessary. Fourth, promoting Japanese area experts and utilizing local area experts are useful in recruiting project experts. Finally, the lessons from some other projects are useful for a new project.