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Last Update : Monday, Dec 28, 2015

International Cooperation

JapanGov Weekly

[Japan International Cooperation Agency] [Thursday, Dec 24, 2015]

Signing of Grant Agreement with Myanmar: Supporting efforts to reconstruct schools damaged by flooding and landslides while improving the learning environment

On December 22, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement (G/A) with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to provide grant aid of up to 1.5 billion yen for assistance for the Programme for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Schools in Flood and Landslide Affected Areas.

This project will provide financial support to a program operated by the Myanmar Ministry of Education to reconstruct and rehabilitate schools damaged by recent flooding and landslides, thereby rebuilding and improving the learning environment for children in the disaster area.

In Myanmar, the basic education system comprises three school levels: primary, lower secondary and upper secondary, for a total of 11 years. Through major policies in the basic education field, namely, the 30-Year Long-Term Education Development Plan (2001–2030) and the Education for All National Plan of Action (2003–2015), the Government of Myanmar has prioritized the enrollment ratio and quality of education as areas in education targeted for improvement. Since 2011, Myanmar has been expanding its system of free basic education and improving the learning environment to raise the level of education to international standards.

While these developments were in progress, flooding occurred in July 2015, causing damage in 12 of the country’s 14 states and regions: Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine, and Shan States, and Ayeyarwady, Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Yangon, and Sagaing Regions. Out of 4,116 educational facilities damaged, 608 were demolished which alone affected more than 170,000 school children, making the restoration and improvement of schools and the learning environment a priority.

Operating under the concept of “Build Back Better,” this project will provide assistance to the Government of Myanmar to improve the learning environment with school facilities that are more resilient against disaster, and support the speedy reconstruction of damaged schools.

[Japan International Cooperation Agency] [Monday, Dec 21, 2015]

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan with Nepal: Support to reconstruct earthquake-damaged schools and houses for a speedy recovery

On December 21, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed two loan agreements with the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in the capital city, Kathmandu, to provide Japanese ODA loans of up to a total of 26 billion yen for two projects. The two ODA loans will support the reconstruction of schools and housing damaged in the 2015 Nepal earthquake with earthquake-resistant construction.

On April 25, 2015, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 (according to the US Geological Survey) struck Gorkha District, about 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu. Including an aftershock on May 12 with a magnitude of 7.3, the main earthquake and aftershocks caused widespread devastation, killing 8,702 people, wounding 22,303 others, demolishing 498,852 houses and damaging 256,697 others (Post-Disaster Needs Assessment).

According to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) carried out by the Government of Nepal with assistance from the World Bank, EU, United Nations Development Programme, JICA and others, the total amount of damages equaled 706.5 billion Nepalese rupees (approximately 868.9 billion yen) and the total cost required for reconstruction and restoration is 669.5 billion Nepalese rupees (approximately 823.5 billion yen). The country’s economy has also been affected, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), lowering the estimated real GDP for the 2014-2015 fiscal year (from July 2014 to July 2015) by 0.8 percent to 3.8 percent.

The Government of Japan’s policy, based on the Build Back Better (BBB) concept, adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, for the 2015 Nepal earthquake is not only to restore conditions prior to the earthquake, but to support reconstruction with structures that are more resilient to natural disasters. Operating under this policy, the current two projects will support BBB efforts for housing in the regions hit hardest, and for schools which play an important role in people’s lives as community centers.

The characteristics of the projects funded by the Japanese ODA loans are described below.

(1) Rapid school reconstruction – assistance to rebuild earthquake-resistant schools
With more than 31,000 classrooms demolished or heavily damaged and another 16,700 classrooms suffering damages in the earthquake, nearly one million students have lost their place of learning due to delays in classroom repairs and reconstruction even though many schools reopened a month after the earthquake struck. To this day, there are many schools that must resort to tents and other temporary classroom structures for teaching facilities. In addition, rapid restoration of the damaged educational environment is needed. Because the earthquake struck in the daytime on a Saturday, injuries to students and the school staff were limited at schools. Nevertheless, building school environments as safe shelters against future earthquakes is a priority for the safeguard of children.

Given these circumstances, the Emergency School Reconstruction Project will reconstruct, retrofit and repair earthquake-resistant schools and related facilities in 14 districts that suffered particularly severe damage. The education environment will be improved with earthquake-resistant schools, thereby contributing to sustainable socioeconomic development in the region through the BBB concept.

This project is co-financed with the ADB.

(2) Rapid reconstruction of housing that suffered widespread damage – support for housing reconstruction with earthquake resistance
About half of the total losses caused by the earthquake were houses, which sustained heavy damage particularly in outlying regions. In the regions where the earthquake struck, most of the houses were built with traditional methods using bricks or stones and mud without consideration to seismic resilience. Given such methods, constructing houses with earthquake-proofing in mind is a challenge. To employ the BBB concept in these circumstances, the Emergency Housing Reconstruction Project will reconstruct houses with earthquake-resistant measures for homeowners affected by the earthquake. Through the project, JICA will contribute to restoring and improving the living environment for people affected by the disaster, and will contribute to sustainable socioeconomic growth in the damaged districts through the BBB concept.

This project is co-financed with the World Bank.

[Japan International Cooperation Agency] [Monday, Dec 21, 2015]

Signing of Grant Agreement with Afghanistan: Partnering with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to improve agricultural productivity in Afghanistan

On December 19, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement (G/A) with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to provide grant aid of up to 1.487 billion yen for assistance for the Project for Enhancing Agriculture Production through Irrigation System Improvement and Strengthening Institutional Capacity.

The project will repair and expand the irrigation facilities and spread high-quality potato varieties in six provinces of Afghanistan, and improve the capacity of officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), thereby contributing to the sustainable and independent development of the country through agriculture and rural development.

The farming population accounts for approximately 80 percent of the total population of Afghanistan, and more than half of all the households in the country are engaged in agriculture. Agriculture is a key economic industry composing approximately 30 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and accounting for approximately 80 percent of lawful exports. As the country has an arid to semi-arid climate, only about 12 percent of the land is arable, and therefore irrigation facilities are essential to expand the amount of cultivated land and raise productivity. However, due to the disorder resulting from civil war that lasted for more than two decades, the basic agricultural infrastructure, including the irrigation facilities, has been destroyed, and currently the amount of irrigated land is merely 2.09 million hectares out of 9.61 million hectares of arable land. Given these circumstances, improving the irrigation infrastructure and training engineers who can design, implement, maintain and operate irrigation equipment are priorities.

After wheat, rice is the second most important grain in Afghanistan with approximately 460,000 tons produced annually, but the supply does not meet the domestic demand, and the country must therefore import 160,000 tons per year from neighboring countries, draining foreign currency reserves. Furthermore, the demand for rice is expected to increase due to the rising population. Yet, an administrative support system for rice farmers and a system for engineering development and extension to expand the rice production lagbehind. In addition, although the potato is the country’s third most important staple food, high-quality varieties of potato seeds are not available in the market, productivity is low compared to neighboring countries, and the yield per hectare is merely 13.6 tons in Afghanistan compared to 21.6 and 29.2 tons for Pakistan and Iran, respectively. According to FAO estimates, the introduction of high-quality potato varieties could raise the unit yield by 20 to 40 percent, a significant potential to increase productivity.

To meet these challenges, this project will improve irrigation facilities in major rice production regions, support the extension of an irrigation model, and select and introduce high-quality potato varieties suitable for the high altitudes ideal for potato production, aiming at expanding the amount of land producing rice and improving the productivity of rice and potatoes in the target areas. The irrigation model that will be supported will improve irrigation facilities by controlling the force with which water flows into irrigation channels, an approach conceived of for the Yamada weir in Asakura, a city in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. For this irrigation model, technical assistance has been provided for a joint project between JICA and Peace Japan Medical Service, a non-governmental organization in Afghanistan that has received support from the Japanese non-governmental organization Peshawar-kai.

FAO, the partner in this project, has a track record of successfully implementing projects in volatile areas. By combining the support of JICA that has been focused on capacity development of local human resource and the support of FAO which has unique expertise in working in volatile areas and in building local networks, this partnership is expected to create a synergistic effect in the outcome.

This project will improve existing irrigation facilities which cover 7,000 hectares, and newly introduce modernized irrigation facilities for 2,000 hectares, which is expected to improve the agricultural productivity of approximately 9,000 farming households in the target areas. The increase in unit yield of rice in the target areas through improved facilities, as well as the training and research guidance for MAIL officials, will strengthen the organizational capacity to introduce and extend high-quality potatoes, thereby improving potato productivity, with the aim of improving food security. In addition to this project, JICA has been conducting technical cooperation to support rice-based agriculture development, and improve the capacity of officials of the MAIL Irrigation Directorate and the officials at the corresponding local districts, providing comprehensive assistance toward improving agricultural productivity in Afghanistan.

[Japan International Cooperation Agency] [Friday, Dec 18, 2015]

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan with the Indonesia: Addressing the rapidly growing power demand

On December 18, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed loan agreements with the Government of the Republic of Indonesia to provide Japanese ODA loans of up to 63.571 billion yen for two projects.

The peak power demand in Indonesia overall was 36,787 megawatts in 2015, but it is growing at an average annual rate of 8.7 percent (3,800 megawatts per year). As the peak power demand is expected to reach 74,536 megawatts by 2024, alleviating the strain on the power supply is a priority.

In 2015, the country’s power source structure was composed of 11.4% oil/diesel, 24.7% natural gas, 53.5% coal, 5.7% hydroelectric (including small hydroelectric generation) and 4.2% geothermal. As the domestic consumption of oil and natural gas will rise with economic growth, placing further stress on the power supply, expanding the use of coal—a resource that Indonesia has ample deposits of—and of renewable energies with great potential such as hydroelectric and geothermal power is an important strategy for developing new power sources.

The Java-Sumatra Interconnection Transmission Line Project (II) will construct power transmission lines between power-impoverished Java and Sumatra with its abundance of coal deposits, enabling a power interchange from coal-fired power stations (total output of 3,000 megawatts (MW)) planned for development by independent power producers. The loan will specifically provide assistance for the construction of a total of 558 kilometers in transmission lines, including the first domestic DC submarine transmission line in Indonesia, and a DC/AC converter station. JICA has provided ODA loans for the project twice, in Japanese fiscal year 2008 for engineering services and in 2010 for the Construction of Java-Sumatra Interconnection Transmission Line Project (I).

The Geothermal Development Acceleration Program (Hululais Geothermal Power Plant Project (E/S)) will construct a geothermal power plant, a type of power plant gaining attention for its production of reusable, renewable energy as a stable power source. This new geothermal power plant will contribute to the stability of the power supply with the efficient use of the geothermal resources of Indonesia, which has one of the greatest geothermal energy potentials in the world, and to alleviating climate change by curbing greenhouse gas emissions.