Research and Advocacy
Japanese and international economic, aid and security policies greatly affect the state of affairs that causes the widening gap between rich and poor, conflicts and environmental destruction in developing nations. JVC is thus cooperating with other NGOs and local citizens in appealing to the Japanese government and companies conducting economic activities in developing countries for social and environmental concerns to be taken into account when aid and business projects are implemented. We also make proposals to international bodies and governments based on our experiences with the goal of building a peaceful society in which problems are solved through dialogue rather than force. We also speak with a variety of stakeholders in the world in order to create an environmentally friendly, equitable and peaceful society.
Summary of activities
In concert with other NGOs, JVC organized a peaceful candle demonstration against the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip which began in July 2014. JVC also made 28 media statements advocating for a ceasefire between the armed parties such as Hamas and Israel. After a ceasefire was reached, JVC called on the Japanese foreign ministry to push the Israeli government to allow the UN Human Rights Commission Investigation Team to enter Gaza. In addition, through a network of 80 international NGOs, JVC made joint statements appealing for a mechanism to prevent a repeat of the destruction in Gaza, the lifting of the blockade, the protection of human rights and accountability for violations of international law. JVC also held 35 conferences and seminars to help the Japanese public understand this issue.
A number of explosions occurred during the presidential election. Because clinics are commonly used as polling places even though they need to be prepared for incidents and emergencies, we made an urgent statement in cooperation with other NGOs opposing the use of clinics for voting. JVC was ultimately able to change the polling places in the areas we are active. In other areas, however, the Afghan Local Police (ALP), which consists of local residents organized and armed by the government, forcibly used NGO offices as polling places and continued to occupy them afterwards. We asked the government and other NGOs to discuss this matter and succeeded in removing ALP from the offices. In December 2014, JVC played a central role in the London Conference on Afghanistan by issuing advocacy papers and holding events on Japanese and Afghan civil society and engaging in a dialogue with governments.
1. Proposal on the Large-Scale Agricultural Development in Mozambique
The Japanese government and JICA’s “Program of Triangular Cooperation for Agricultural Development of the Tropical Savannah in Mozambique” (ProSAVANA-JBM), which covers a roughly 14 million hectare area in the country’s northern three provinces, has continued. ProSAVANA was created to support Japanese and Brazil corporations in expanding their business opportunities in Africa rather than to meet the needs of local farmers. JVC has therefore been lobbying to have the government reconsider the program. The situation has not yet changed, however, and as a result Mozambican civil society organizations (including farmers’ organizations) launched a “No! to ProSAVANA” campaign in June 2014. JVC and other organizations conducted their own research in Mozambique in 2013 and 2014. JVC then presented analysis and proposals concerning ProSAVANA to the public and the government.
2. NGO-MOFA Regular Meeting
The NGO-MOFA Regular Meeting on ODA Policy is a forum for NGOs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to exchange opinions. It held three regular meetings and an ad hoc meeting in 2014. JVC Research and Advocacy Officer Takahashi, representing the ODA Reform Network, and JVC President Taniyama, vice-chairman of JANIC, served as coordinators. The discussions mainly focused on revising the ODA Charter.
3. Development Project Accountability Committee
While serving as an elected member of the ‘Development Project Accountability Committee’, JVC Research and Advocacy Officer Takahashi conducted reviews of ODA projects prior to their implementation from the perspective of the public. This committee was established to improve the transparency and effective implementation of ODA projects during the PDCA cycle. During the meetings, the members primarily discussed whether individual project items were appropriately connected to larger frameworks (master plans, country assistance policies, ”rolling plans”, etc.)
The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets
JVC is concerned that SDS could obstruct the activities of NGOs by making it difficult to obtain safety information from governments in areas affected by conflicts. JVC’s president Taniyama founded the Japan NGO Action Network on the Security Law (NANSL) in cooperation with other NGOs. In November, NANSL signed a mutual cooperation agreement with a lawyers’ group and jointly organized study meeting on the issue. It also lobbied the government to prevent the act from harming NGOs.
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)
As an active member of the “National Executive Committee for a Dialogue between the Citizens and Government on the TPP”, JVC advocated for the disclosure of information and a public dialogue on the TPP. JVC also sent staff members to Mexico to investigate the social effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a precedent for the TPP.
Prime Statements in 2014
- Joint NGO statement requesting revision of the ODA Charter (April)
- Statement on the right of collective self-defense (June)
- Letter calling for an immediate end to the indiscriminate attacks on Gaza and the protection of its citizens in accordance with international humanitarian law (July)
- Statement for the London Conference on Afghanistan (October)
- Analysis of and NGO statements on ProSAVANA (October)
(source: “JVC Annual Report – 2014 report”)Share This: