The Abe administration commenced a campaign to standardize the idea of ‘quality infrastructure’ investment in the international community in 2015, meaning that Japan has sought to become a norm entrepreneur. This paper examines the Abe administration's campaign for quality infrastructure as an international norm. First, this paper provides an overview of the dynamics of international development norms. Next, it describes how Japan has so far faced the dynamics of international development norms. It discusses why Japan has changed its traditional stance to aim at becoming a norm entrepreneur, and how Japan undertook activities to achieve this goal. Finally, it evaluates the activities toward international standardization of quality infrastructure by the Abe administration and the concept of quality infrastructure as an international norm. It thereby provides some insights into the future of ODA policies and international norms.
There have been a number of achievements in China's foreign aid over its 70-year history. Some scholars argue that, unlike OECD countries whose multilateral assistance accounts for a large part of their total volume of aid, China offers mainly bilateral aid. However, since resuming its legal seat in the UN, China has become steadily more involved in multilateral assistance, joining most of the major international organizations and working closely with them. In the new millennium, China has formulated many initiatives and offered creative approaches while promoting its multilateral assistance. While China is playing an effective role in the field of international assistance, in facing the new international aid landscape, China needs to improve its approach to multilateral assistance. To achieve this goal, China should increase its multilateral assistance contributions, play a greater role in agenda setting, enhance cooperation with other countries, and promote studies and academic exchanges with regard to multilateral assistance.
This paper discusses the diverse approaches of emerging countries to multilateral aid by comparing the different approaches of two Asian multilateral aid partners, Gulf donors and China. Gulf donors, a culturally and religiously homogeneous group, share common norms through which the prevailing regional members develop their own multilateral aid systems on a regional level. Their Coordination Group, functioning in a similar way to the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC), provides an important regional coordination mechanism for facilitating aid. Recently, Gulf donors have also been collaborating on providing more traditional multilateral aid. By contrast, China, an emerging superpower, not only has its own aid norms, but it also has enormous power to institutionalize its new multilateral aid structure on a global level. While demanding more space and a greater voice for emerging countries in traditional multilateral aid, China has succeeded in initiating a new form of multilateralism, through institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the New Development Bank (NDB or BRICS Bank), and the One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR).
The UN Development System(UNDS) has been engaged in an ambitious repositioning to attain the 2030 Agenda since May 2018. This is expected to yield more integrated and focused delivery on the ground, as well as accountability for contributions, with better-aligned capacities, skillsets, and resources toward the realization of the 2030 Agenda. Reform of the UNDS is also a response to re-emerging skepticism about the value of multilateralism and the relevance of multilateral institutions. Addressing the current global challenges requires inclusive and integrated approaches, a limitation for any single agency seeking to fully and unilaterally provide for all needs. At the center of the UNDS transformation is the Resident Coordinator(RC) System, which is being redesigned to deliver collective responses to national needs. It is a role that emphasizes the importance of the effectiveness of multilateral aid channels. This paper reviews the reform process of the UNDS and identifies new challenges for multilateral aid channels in ways that can contribute to multilateral aid. It seeks to define approaches that can sufficiently account for aid allocation in the attainment of the international community's most prominent development challenge.