A Comparative Study of New Zealand and Japan’s ODA Policy toward the Pacific Region

The Case of Kiribati, 2007-2015


Masterarbeit, 2020
67 Seiten, Note: 3.6
Anonym

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Objective of Study
1.4 Hypothesis/Argument
1.5 Case Studies
1.6 Significant of the Study
1.7 Methodology
1.8 Thesis Structure

CHAPTER TWO: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS CAUSES BY CLIMATE CHANGE
2.1 Kiribati
2.2 Poverty
2.3 Unhealthy Population

CHAPTER THREE: GENERAL OVERVIEW OF OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE (ODA) POLICY
3.1 New Zealand
3.2 JAPAN

CHAPTER FOUR: NEW ZEALAND’S OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE IN KIRIBATI
4.1 Education
4.2 Climate Change
4.3 Economic Development
4.3.1 Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme
4.3.2 Remittance Inflows

CHAPTER FIVE: JAPAN’S OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE IN KIRIBATI
5.1 Education
5.2 Climate Change
5.3 Economic Development

CHAPTER SIX: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

REFERENCES

ABSTRACT

New Zealand and Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) Policy play an important role in assisting the Pacific Island Countries economically and socially, especially now as climate change has become a threat to economic and social growth. With climate change, low-lying atolls such as Kiribati face economic failure, unhealthy population, and poverty. In this thesis, I will discuss how New Zealand and Japan’s ODA play an important role in the development of Kiribati, focusing on education, climate change, and economic development.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction

It is widely known that the implications of climate change have been one of the major problems of this century.1 Small island nations suffered dramatically, in particular, those with limited resources like Kiribati. In today's politics, it is hard for countries like China and the United States to accept that climate change is being caused by human activities, especially when they are trying to boost their economy. However, New Zealand and Japan recognized that human act did indeed contribute to climate change and its impacts; therefore they agreed to extend some support through their Official Development Assistance (ODA) policy, especially to countries that are vulnerable to climate change and its impacts, such as Kiribati. With that perspective, New Zealand and Japan came to realize that focusing on education, economic development and climate change will be a productive way to assist Kiribati to tackle climate change issues. For instance, investing in education is a long-term strategy, which provides local governments and citizens with the skills and knowledge that needed for the development of their country. On the other hand, aid on climate change and other related matters often build resilience during the time of disasters, allowing the government and its population to recover and rebuild from sudden natural disasters such as cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and so forth.

For economic development, New Zealand and Japan have also invested in labor migration in Kiribati, empowering many I-Kiribati (known as people of Kiribati) with job opportunities on Japanese fishing vessels and on New Zealand farms under the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme, which therefore lead to remittance inflows as another source of income for most families as well as improving economic status of the country.

The role of New Zealand and Japan’s ODA in the Pacific region, particularly in Kiribati is crucial, not only because of its contribution to economic growth but also to social development. In 1979, New Zealand and Japan became involved in the development of Kiribati, just after the British had granted the country full independence. With the departure of the British colony, Kiribati is left with nothing but damaged as a result of the phosphate mining. According to the Pacific island scholar Trease, “.The British during their eighty-seven years of colonial administration did very little for our economic and social development. They left us with a very poor infrastructure and not a single viable industry.”2 Since then, Kiribati has always been struggling to improve its economics and even to provide for the need of its citizens but with New Zealand and Japan’s assistance on economic infrastructure, Kiribati is able to improve its economy rapidly.

However, in the 21st century - where the impacts of climate change have threatened economic and social development, New Zealand and Japan's assistance have shifted from economic infrastructure to social infrastructure, especially in Kiribati. These changes are part of New Zealand and Japan’s new policy to meet the need of the islands throughout the Pacific region, especially in combating the issues of climate change. Kiribati is one of the major focuses of New Zealand and Japan's ODA, particularly between 2007 and 2015- where New Zealand and Japan began to prioritize social development, focusing on education, climate change, and economic development in order to assist Kiribati fight against the impacts of climate change.

The period between 2007 and 2015 was unique. For one reason, it is the time when a former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong became tied up with his climate change campaigns. After seeing the impact of global warming on his country, he eventually changed the nature of the country’s foreign policy which previously focused on foreign investments, particularly in the field of tourism and fishing industry.3 Soon after his re-election in 2007, he has spent his entire leadership becoming an advocate of climate change both at the regional and international level.

With his campaigns against climate change, other countries have agreed, which therefore brought many leaders to sign the Paris Agreement in 2015 - an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emission to well below 2 Decree Celsius.4 By signing the Paris Accord, many countries, including New Zealand and Japan have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and invest in environmental protection, education, and human economic development.

Furthermore, in 2007, Kiribati has experienced a massive drought, particularly in the “southern islands as the country is experiencing the dry La Nina weather pattern.”5 An interview between Radio New Zealand (RNZ) and the Kiribati Meteorological Services (MET) has acknowledged that the 2007 drought did impact water resources on the Southern part of the country, causing many people suffered from access to safe water. Additionally, in 2015, Kiribati was also hit by a massive cyclone called Pam, causing damages to various buildings along the shore, including causeways and hospitals. As stated by Tenaua, the Kiribati Minister of Health “had to conduct an emergency evacuation of maternity ward at the Betio Hospital because water was pounding the outside of the building and crashing through doors and windows (as cited by Stone, 2015).”6 As global warming increases, more countries will experience the impacts of climate change, because as Tong said, “as melting ice sheets from Greenland, the Arctic, and the Antarctic due to global warming flow into the oceans, sea level will rise consistently.”7 The United Nations also acknowledged that the 21st century is “the hottest on record as global warming continues.”8 With this regard, Kiribati has suffered from climate change and its impacts, particularly drought and the rising sea level.

This situation has brought New Zealand and Japan together to consider climate change as a threat to economic and social development in Kiribati. Therefore, they made a decision on expanding aid allocation in the field of education, climate change, and economic development. To be sure, New Zealand and Japan are not the only contributors toward the development of Kiribati. Australia, South Korea, European Union and some International Organizations are also donors, but their contributions are not as high as those by New Zealand and Japan. I will discuss more about how New Zealand and Japan’s ODA did indeed influence or contribute to the development of Kiribati later in this thesis.

Typically, New Zealand and Japan are the most active contributors to Kiribati, not only with their official development assistance policy but also their domestic policies that might contribute to the future of Kiribati, especially when sea-level rise continues to threaten their sovereignty. For instance, in 2015, New Zealand faced criticism from neighboring countries by denying a claim launched by Ioane Teitiota (Kiribati national), “who was seeking legal recognition as the world's first climate change refugee”9 in New Zealand. In response to that issue, the current Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern “decided to create a special refugee visa for the Pacific people who are forced to migrate because of rising sea levels.”10 Historically, no country has ever agreed with the idea of climate change refugee, except for countries that are most affected by climate change. For one reason, according to the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees, it has been described that refugee is someone who has been forced to leave his/her country because of fear of persecution.11 In that perspective, countries find it hard to describe climate change refugee in that category, therefore they disagree that climate change should be listed under the refugee status.

On the other hand, Japan also recognized that offering ODA to poor countries is vital, although it was never enough because in reality, some countries may only need cash for satisfying their needs but other countries like Kiribati, they need more than just ODA. For example, even though Kiribati may continue to rely on ODA, we cannot change the fact about its land size and location, and no matter how much donor countries contribute, Kiribati will always be in the front-line of climate change. This leads Japan to act and involve more in its affairs with Kiribati, not only with its ODA but also with its policy to grant scholarships as well as students visas such as MEXT and Pacific-LEADS scholarships. Under the MEXT scholarship, students are allowed to stay in Japan only if they find jobs after graduating. To elaborate, Kiribati has never received scholarships from Japan to study in Japan's universities not until 2015 when Japan realized how important it was to share its experiences with Kiribati in regards to natural disasters.12 Other donors like Australia, South Korea, USA and the European Union have also assisted Kiribati through their ODA policies, although, their effort in creating future policies to help Kiribati address climate change in the future is limited. Let take Australia as an example. As argued by the World Bank, “New Zealand and Australia should allow open migration for citizens of Pacific nations threatened by climate change, to boost struggling island economies and prevent a later mass forced migration.”13 With pressures from the international community, New Zealand has undergone such policies but not yet implemented, whereas Australia has shown little interest in the matter, even though Australia contributed more to Kiribati in terms of its ODA.14

For these reasons, New Zealand and Japan have become the core interest of this research, not only because of their generous ODA but also their effort in creating policies that will help Kiribati now and in the future.

1.2 Problem Statement

The impacts and risks of climate change on economic and social development have caused Small Island nations to suffer from poverty and unhealthy population.15 Kiribati is said to be one of these island nations. It often experiences these issues due to its small land size, location and limited resources inherited within its borders, making it weak to overcome its own problems.16

With such issues, communities both in the capital city of Tarawa as well as outer-islands have found it difficult to do farming, and most importantly accessing to fresh drinking water.

However, climate change is not only one country’s problem. It is a battle for every nation, which means that every leader has a responsibility to contribute by adapting to new global climate change policy or assisting developing countries through their ODA policy to meet their obligation under the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). As countries are united by working together or contributing to the other country's development, more countries will be able to tackle their own problems rather than forcing their population to migrate and abandon their cultures. Also, through cooperation, many countries like Kiribati will benefit economically and socially, whereas the donor countries will receive positive reputation. This lets New Zealand and Japan to participate in the development of poor countries like Kiribati.

Advancing our understanding of the significant role of New Zealand and Japan’s ODA policy in Kiribati and how this policy has helped Kiribati economically and socially now is important. How did New Zealand and Japan’s ODA policy influence the economic and social conditions in Kiribati between 2007 and 2015? What ways could this policy bring more fruitful and meaningful influences?

1.3 Objective of Study

The main purpose of studying ODA policy in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) is to help us understand its influences on countries that suffered from climate change. This study will also help us identify areas of improvement where politicians and policymakers should focus on. In general, the main goal is to evaluate a comparative study of New Zealand and Japan's ODA policy on education, climate change, and economic development in the PICs, focusing on Kiribati.

This paper will cover the following specific objectives.

i) To investigate climate change and its impacts on economic and social development and how it leads to poverty and unhealthy population.
ii) To analyze New Zealand and Japan’s ODA policy on economic development, education and climate change in Kiribati.
iv) To recommend other potential alternatives to improve the island countries addressing the impacts of climate change based on findings.

1.4 Hypothesis/Argument

In order to achieve the objective of the study, I have argued that New Zealand and Japan’s ODA policy did indeed have an influence on economic development, education and climate change in Kiribati. The conventional argument is that New Zealand and Japan’s ODA policy often focused on the hard infrastructure built by their own companies, which therefore benefit them rather than the recipient countries. Although this might be true in other countries, but for Kiribati, this policy has been changed, meaning that New Zealand and Japan's ODA policy is now focused more on the soft infrastructure such as education, economic development, and climate change, rather than the hard infrastructure.

1.5 Case Study

The focus area of this study is the small island nation of Kiribati, located in the Pacific region. The reason for choosing Kiribati in this research is significant. For one reason, as global warming continues to deteriorate, Kiribati's vulnerability to climate change and its impacts such as drought and sea-level rise is also increased, causing difficulties to access to fresh drinking water as well as cultivation. Thus, social poverty and unhealthy population became predominant. To elaborate, drought and the rising sea level have negatively affected water sources such as rainwater and groundwater. For example, drought caused the reduction in rainwater, whilst sea- level rise contaminates groundwater, causing it to turn salty.17 This is a major concern for the island nation of Kiribati because water resources only collected from wells water as well as rainwater. With water shortages, other problems may follow, such as food insecurity, especially in outer-islands. According to Sethi , Kiribati is one of the poorest countries in the world, which lead to a large number of families depend on subsistence agriculture for survival, nutrition, and income.18 Kiribati is a tropical country, which can only grow certain crops such as coconuts, pandanus, pumpkins, pulaka (known as taro), breadfruit, banana, and papaya. These crops also need a huge amount of water in order to survive and bare fruits.

Map1. Kiribati

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Source: Office of the President, Government of Kiribati

Kiribati is composed of 33 small atoll islands, which are distributed over 3.5 million square kilometers across the Pacific Ocean. The islands are made up of reefs and sand, which are barely rise 3 meters above sea level. With land size and location, Kiribati is vulnerable to climate change and its impacts, such as drought and sea-level rise, which often caused water shortages and soil salinity. Throughout the year, Kiribati will often face two king high tides, and when combines with strong winds, then the result will be devastating, especially to farmers and communities along the coast.

1.6 Significant of the Study

This is essentially a policy-oriented study. The research on New Zealand and Japan’s ODA Policy in the Pacific region is important for policymakers of the countries that are vulnerable to climate change and its impacts, such as Kiribati. If my research concluded that New Zealand and Japan’s ODA Policy does influence economic development, education and climate change in Kiribati, then perhaps, more scholars will believe that the ODA policy is not only for hard infrastructure but also for soft infrastructure where the recipient country can be benefited from. This will also encourage more countries to offer assistance in the field of education, climate change, and economic development so that countries like Kiribati can manage to improve its economic and social well-being of its own citizens. In this way, it will provide more opportunities for these people to educate themselves and be able to give back and develop their country so that poverty and unhealthy population as a direct result of climate change will reduce gradually.

1.7 Methodology

To test my hypothesis, I intend to employ a qualitative method of inquiry to prove the validity of the argument in this thesis, which combines both policy analysis work, research, and interviews or reviewing past interviews with key national representatives. This will involve some of the crucial statements offered at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COP) and other related conferences on the topic. I will also be examining a broad range of literature from various perspectives such as International Relations Theory, International Law and socio-political theory and their relative topics in the field of climate change and official development assistance. This will also include a public policy document from the three countries (New Zealand, Japan, and Kiribati) and most importantly, New Zealand and Japan’s ODA policy toward Kiribati.

1.8 Thesis Structure

This thesis is comprised of six chapters which include the present introductory chapter, then the rest of the chapter is structured as follows;

In the second chapter, I begin with a demonstration of economic and social conditions due to climate change on the island nation of Kiribati. This will involve the impacts of sea-level rise and drought on crops and water. Then, the chapter will continue by discussing some major threats and outcomes related to these issues.

In chapter three, I layout the general overview of New Zealand and Japan’s Official Development Assistance Policy. At this point, I will explain in more details why New Zealand and Japan participated and committed to the development of poor countries like Kiribati through their ODA policy.

In the fourth chapter, I begin with the discussion of New Zealand’s ODA and how it has contributed to education, climate change, and economic development. Then, at the end of this section, the literature reviews will be conducted.

In chapter five, I will demonstrate Japan's ODA policy in Kiribati and what influences this policy has made within the education sector, climate change, and economic development. In this section, I will also review the literature and what other scholars have said regarding Japan’s ODA policy.

The final chapter will focus on the analysis based on the findings and then discuss recommendations for future studies as well as future policies for donor countries, especially in the distribution of their ODA.

CHAPTER TWO ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS CAUSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

2.1 Kiribati

“ C limate change is not a problem of the future. It is one of the most severe crises that we are facing now” - President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong The impacts of drought, together with the rising sea level, are known to have long-term consequences on economic and social development, especially in developing countries like Kiribati. As discussed in chapter one, poverty and unhealthy population are two of the major consequences. In this chapter, I will examine how drought and sea-level rise contributed to such issues (poverty & unhealthy population).

There are two reasons why climate change had caused poverty and unhealthy population in Kiribati, including water shortages and soil contamination.

2.2 Poverty

Climate change is the main causes of extreme poverty (social) in Kiribati, especially as most people rely heavily on agriculture and rainwater for survival. According to the OECD, a group of ten organizations has reported that climate change is linked to poverty, particularly in poor countries like Kiribati. They noted that “climate change will further reduce access to drinking water, negatively affect the health of poor people, and will pose a real threat to food security in many developing countries.”19 The United Nations also added by indicating Kiribati as one of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) in the world, meaning that it “low socioeconomic development is characterized by weak human and institutional capacities, low and unequally distributed income and scarcity of domestic financial resources.”20 With poverty, many people have suffered, even the government itself. Frankly, the richer the country is, the better its economy would be, and therefore, poverty could not have been a major issue for many citizens. In comparison, let’s take the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean region. It is reported that even though, the country experienced natural disasters like Kiribati, poverty has never been a serious problem; rather poverty rate has been declining since 2000 until 2015.21 The reason is that the Dominican Republic is a rich country with good economic status, which means the government is capable to provide and assists its own population. Kiribati, on the other hand, could not contribute to the well-being of its citizens, because economic resources were not available. It means that job opportunities are limited to accommodate the increased number of the population. Besides, education system remained an issue - high cost, insufficient school facilities and government’s sponsorship, and children failing tests, which are contributed to approximately “one-third of children finish secondary school.”22 In 2005, it was reported that the number of unemployment in Kiribati was approximately 6.1%, whereas, in 2010, the number has increased to 30.6%.23 To be sure, poverty is not a new phenomenon in Kiribati, although, it is expected that the poverty rate will be increased unless countries are working together to reduce the impacts of climate change as well as providing assistance to countries that are most affected by climate change.

2.3 Unhealthy Population

The vulnerability of Kiribati to sea-level rise is one of the major causes of diarrhea, cholera or even death at a young age. There are two reasons why sea-level rise is contributing to health issues in Kiribati.

First, sea-level rise has a major impact on water resources. For instance, Kiribati has three sources of water, including boreholes, rain, and water purified at the government plant. Generally, most of the population used boreholes or wells for daily purposes, although, this might be a challenge, especially during the high tides. At this point, the rising sea level, which often caused floods everywhere, “seeps into the groundwater stratum, fresh water has turned salty”24 making it difficult for people to use it. The Office of the President of Kiribati noted that the country relied heavily on groundwater to supply water for its population, but this supply has been failing as a direct result of climate change.25

Additionally, the office also noted that water lens is only 1 to 2 meters below the ground; therefore it is so much easier to turn salty or contaminated. As discussed earlier, most of the population is considered extremely poor, thus, they have no choice but to continue to use well water for their needs. This increased the risk of being exposed to various diseases, including diarrhea and cholera. The Kiribati Climate Change Study Team has acknowledged that the diseases occurred because of the poor quality of water and sanitation.26 The Office of the President Republic of Kiribati also added, the rising tides make it possible to spread these diseases at a higher rate because of the high sewage contamination in Tarawa’s coastal water.

In addition, climate change is also causing severe drought across the Pacific Rim. To elaborate more on this, it is important to understand the links between climate change and drought. In this regard, many scientists have argued, “if more greenhouse gas emissions are released into the air, causing air temperatures to increase, then, more moisture evaporates from land and lakes, rivers, and plant soil, which affects plant life and reduce rainfall even more.”27 In Kiribati, drought is common; however, the report had acknowledged that it has been worse than usual. For instance, “the average annual rainfall is approximately 2100mm with just over 900mm received between May and October. From July 1988 to December 1989, only 205mm of rain fell, while from August 1998 to February 1999 total rainfall was 95mm, and the recent drought from April 2007 to early 2009 severely affected water supplies across the country.”28

Second, the rising sea level also brings salt in the soil, causing it to become less productive for cultivation. With the drought and the high concentration of salt in the soil, citizens have found it hard to grow crops and vegetables, leaving them with no choice, but relied heavily on imported food often low in nutrition value.29 Thus, more and more people suffered from non- communicable diseases (NCDs), nutrition conditions and other chronic diseases such as stroke, heart problems, and diabetes (figure 1). As described by the Kiribati Health Strategy Plan (2012- 2015), nutrition is the leading risk factor due to the “increased consumption of imported, cheap and low-quality food products high in salt, sugar, and fat."30 Referring to statistic on NCDs and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions, it is reported that health conditions have been improved since 2000.

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Figure 1: Percentage for causes of death in Kiribati

Source: World Bank

CHAPTER THREE GENERAL OVERVIEW OF OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE POLICY (ODA)

3.1 New Zealand

New Zealand's contribution to the development of small island nations is one of the biggest and generous offers that the island countries have always been depended on for many decades. As mentioned in chapter one, New Zealand has been actively participated in the Development Assistance Committee since 1973, “delivering aid effectively toward its small island neighbors, and using its experience of natural disasters to help manage risks in the region.”31 The graph in figure 2 indicates a commitment that New Zealand has made as a provider to the Development Assistance Committee between 1999 to 2015, which made "New Zealand the 15th largest contributor in terms of ODA as a percentage of GNI and the 21st largest in volume."32

Figure 2

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Source: OECD

However, the objective of New Zealand’s ODA is to focus more on the need of small island nations in the Pacific region, especially as most islands are struggling with the issues of climate change. As reported by the New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT), “our Pacific neighbors receive almost 60% of our aid funding, reflecting New Zealand’s shared interest with Pacific peoples in the prosperity and stability of the region.”33 In 1979, the latest overall of New Zealand’s ODA to Kiribati was amounted to US$280,000, whereas in 2015, the value has increased to US$13,610,000.34

In addition, New Zealand’s ODA programme also offers a number of aids to different programmes and agencies including bilateral and regional aid programmes on governance, health, education, economic growth, and environment and vulnerability. Apart from bilateral and regional aid programmes, New Zealand also supports regional agencies and organization in the Pacific. It means that “New Zealand’s ODA is distributed through multilateral agencies and programmes of the United Nations, international financial institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and New Zealand non-government organizations that work in different regions, countries, and sectors.”35 With this generous aid, the Pacific island countries, particularly Kiribati, have seen changes and improvement not only in the economic perspective but also in social well-being (Refer to chapter 4).

3.2 Japan

Prior to joining the Development Assistance Committee in 1960, Japan had been involved in the development and “securing of peace, stability, and prosperity of the international community”36 through its official development assistance. At the end of World War II, Japan suffered from a negative reputation, therefore, its goal is to promote a positive reputation as well as a friendly relation with the Asian countries by providing war reparation through its ODA loan.37 The process of providing aid did not end right after the termination of the reparation in 1976. In fact, the amount has increased tremendously, and even the recipient countries have also been expanded, not only to Asian countries, but also to countries in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and most importantly, the Pacific region, which is the main focus of this research. At the end of the 1980s, Japan’s latest ODA distribution to Kiribati was US$533,000 (as of 1989), although, this number has been increased over the last two decades to US$1,850,000 (as of 2015).38

It must be noted, however, that Japan’s goal in assisting developing countries varies from one country to another, depending on the situation and needs of each nation. For instance, in the Pacific region, Japan’s ODA seeks to provide the Pacific island countries with “sustainable economic development through the promotion of trade, investment, and tourism.”39 Historically, Japan’s commitment to the Pacific island countries begun in 1989, in which Japan has been attending the Post-Forum Dialogues between the Pacific island countries (also known as the Pacific Island Forum or PIF) and non-member countries at the vice-ministerial level. Since then, Japan’s relations with countries in the Pacific region have grown stronger, which lead to the establishment of the Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) in 1997. In this meeting, the leaders from each island meet every three years in Japan to discuss issues facing their small islands, particularly climate change. This provides Japan with an opportunity to offer the Pacific island nations aid that might help in addressing their own problems, and at the same time, promoting Japan’s images at the international level. Below (Table 1) is a summary of Japan’s aid focus in the Pacific island countries, which indicates how committed Japan was toward its neighboring island nations, including the island nation of Kiribati.

Table 1: Japan’s Aid Focus in the Pacific Region, 1997 – 2015

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Source: MOFA

To date, Japan continues to offer assistance on bilateral aid and multilateral aid, based on technical cooperation, loan aid, grant aid, and financing international organizations. Figure 3 indicates a general overview of Japan’s cooperation and ODA.

Figure 3: Japan’s Economic Cooperation and ODA

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Source: MOFA

In addition, aid for environmental protection has also been part of Japan’s ODA for many decades. In 1997, during the third session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) in Kyoto, “Government of Japan announced ‘The Kyoto Initiative’ to support developing countries measures against global warming mainly through its ODA.”40 Under this initiative, Japan has committed to help developing countries dealing with the impacts of climate change by improving capacity development through training in the areas related to climate change, transfer of technology, and most importantly its ODA loans at the most concessional terms. Figure 4 shows a comparison of Japan’s ODA in the fields related to global warming, revealing its contribution as the largest donor in the world between 2000 and 2004. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) also noted that from 1997 to 2006, the total amount of “Japan’s ODA loan to counter global warming was amounted to 1,141 billion yen (92 projects) from December 1997 to March 2006.”41

Figure 4: ODA of DAC countries, 2000 – 2004

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Source: OECD-DAC

CHAPTER FOUR NEW ZEALAND’S OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE IN KIRIBATI

As discussed in the previous sections, we understood there are several effects that climate change has caused on small island nations. This chapter seeks to identify how New Zealand’s ODA policy on education, climate change, and economic development has assisted Kiribati economically and socially between 2007 and 2015. Additionally, I will also review the literature and provide some data to prove the validity of my argument.

4.1 Education

Education plays an important role in developing the minds of people. Without education, countries like Kiribati will continue to see and experience economic failure, poverty, and even unhealthy population. With education, citizens are trained how to become professionals, which gives them the ability to contribute to their well-being as well as the success of their nations.

In Kiribati, education is free up to junior high school level, whereas secondary level isn’t free unless students prove themselves academically. This is a period where most children dropped out from secondary school due to poor circumstances. Such issues create the need for more specialists on numerous subjects, like engineering and climate change in the case of Kiribati. One literature discussed the important role of education in India. It argued that “a quality education is today’s need as it is the development of intellectual skills and knowledge which equip learners to fulfill the needs of professionals, decision makers and trainers (Sreenivasulu, 2013).”42 With the author’s argument, it seems to me that education is indeed necessary, especially in the development of our well-being as well as economic prosperity, just like India.

However, in the context of climate change, Kiribati has already experienced economic failures and social poverty, thus, providing for higher education has also become an issue. Families could not afford their kids to attend higher education, and likewise, the government has also failed to support its citizens obtaining higher education, especially with the increased number of population. Such issues have caused many donors to invest in education, which one of them is the government of New Zealand. Annually, New Zealand “offers scholarship to people from Kiribati who are motivated to make a difference at home.”43 In other words, once the scholarship is given to individuals, that person is committed to return home under New Zealand’s scholarship law to work at least three years to fulfill his/her obligation as a scholarship recipient.

There are four types of scholarships offered to citizens of Kiribati, which include; i) New Zealand Pacific Scholarships, ii) New Zealand Regional Development Scholarships, iii) New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships, and iv) Short-Term Training Scholarships. In addition to scholarships, New Zealand also spent millions of dollars just to build and improve the education system on the island nation of Kiribati. Figure 5 indicates the overall of New Zealand's aid allocated to the education sector, including aid for scholarships, training, and other related areas. The graph shows a fluctuated result due to a combination of factors, especially an incident between 2007 and 2008 (global financial crisis). The year 2008 was worse, in which New Zealand's aid has dropped dramatically, although progression has again taken place the following years.

Figure 5: New Zealand’s ODA to the education sector in Kiribati, 2005-2015

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Source: OECD.Stat (Dataset: GeoBook: ODA by sector - bilateral by donor and recipient) However, according to figure 6, most of the aid in education comes from Australia, followed by New Zealand, then Japan. This does not mean that New Zealand and Japan’s contribution did not play an important role in improving education in Kiribati. Imagine if Australia only invested in education in Kiribati, then opportunities are limited, whereas, more donors to contribute, more chances available to accommodate the increasing number of population.

Figure 6: Bilateral ODA by country to the education sector in Kiribati, 2005 – 2015 (US$ million)

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Source: OECD.Stat. (Dataset: GeoBook: ODA by sector - bilateral by donor and recipient)

Moreover, New Zealand’s commitment to providing scholarships as well as improving education in Kiribati is one of the Government’s assistance in preparing the people of Kiribati to migrate with dignity - a policy established by the former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, “to give citizens the tools to relocate legally, and finding work in other nations like Australia and New Zealand.”44 The ongoing issue of climate change can lead to relocation, although it might not be easy due to cultural attachment to “ancestral land, the island on which they live (Tong).” However, when citizens are left with no choice, then the concept of ‘migration with dignity' will ensure that all I-Kiribati migrants will find jobs as well as contributing to the development of the receiving countries. To date, more than one thousand students from Kiribati have granted student visas to study in New Zealand, which two hundred and eighty-six (286) of them are currently receiving the New Zealand’s scholarships (as of April 2018).45

Likewise, Australia also supported Kiribati by granting visas to more than two hundred students, which thirty-eight (38) of them have been offered university scholarships to study in Australia (as of 2017).46 The graph below indicates the number of I-Kiribati students that are already given student visas between 2007 and 2018 (figure 7). Based on statistics, it appears that even though Australia invested more on education than New Zealand did, the chances for Kiribati to send its students to study in Australia, whether for private or sponsored by the Australian government is limited, whereas chances to New Zealand is high.

Figure 7

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Source: New Zealand Immigration & Australia Department of Home Affairs

4.2 Climate Change

Apart from education, New Zealand’s ODA policy also focuses on environmental protection, in which the government has addressed New Zealand’s position and interest in dealing with the impacts of climate change. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, one way of protecting our environment is New Zealand’s engagement in the United Nations (UN) negotiations, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement.47 Under these engagements, New Zealand is committed to support the climate finance and adaptation fund, which is established under the Kyoto Protocol and strengthen at the Paris Agreement. This leads to New Zealand’s decision to provide assistance to build resilience to recover and rebuild from sudden natural disasters.48

However, most of New Zealand’s ODA on climate change such as humanitarian aids are distributed through multilateral and regional agencies, although, in case of emergencies, New Zealand may consider providing bilateral aid to the affected areas rather than to multilateral or regional organizations. For example, according to OECD, New Zealand has occasionally provide assistance to Kiribati in the field of climate change, particularly on environment protection, including environmental policy and administrative management, biosphere protection, bio- diversity, site preservation, flood prevention/control, environmental education/training and environmental research (refer to table 2 and figure 8).49

Table 2: New Zealand’s ODA to Kiribati regarding environmental protection, 2004 – 2015

(U nit: US$ millions)

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Source: OECD.Stat. [The data shown above is the total amount of ODA after adding the results of three years. This does not mean that every data are provided each year. Some data are missing]

Figure 8: New Zealand’s ODA to Kiribati regarding environmental protection (Unit: US$ millions)

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Source: OECD.Stat. [Same as table 2]

Referring to figure 8, New Zealand aid allocation for environmental protection has declined since 2006 due to some unknown reasons; however, it does show how committed New Zealand was in providing aids whenever it is needed. It is also important to note that the data provided by OECD for New Zealand’s ODA on environmental protection is not completed – meaning that there are lots of missing data, particularly in the year 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015, whereas for Australia only for the year 2004, 2005 and 2009. This could be one of the reasons why New Zealand’s ODA has declined while Australia’s ODA has gone up. Other rationales might be due to the fact that New Zealand’s aid on environmental related matters, particularly humanitarian aid was not directly granted to Kiribati but rather given through multilateral and regional agencies, in which Kiribati can access from in time of need.

4.3 Economic Development

The role of New Zealand in the Pacific region is vital, not only because of its contribution toward education and climate change but also to economic development. Assistance for economic development is hard to describe as it “falls under the Aid for Trade category.”50 Aid for Trade covers a variety of activities not just for goods but also services. For this research, Aid for Trade is more related to poverty reduction by enhancing social economic development through the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. Under this programme, Kiribati is able to receive remittance inflows through those who work on New Zealand farms under the RSE scheme. Table 3 and figure 9 indicates the total grants aid to Kiribati between 2004 and 2015. The use of statistics on grants aid is more relevant compared to technical assistance because grants aid focuses on social infrastructure whereas technical assistance based on economic infrastructure.51

Table 3: Total grants aid (ODA) to Kiribati, 2004 – 2015 (Unit: US$ million)

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Source: Data extracted on 19 Jun 2018 04:40 UTC (GMT) from OECD.Stat

Figure 9: Total grants aid (line graph) to Kiribati, 2004-2015 (Unit: US$ million)

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Data extracted on 19 Jun 2018 04:40 UTC (GMT) from OECD.Stat Referring to table 3 and figure 9, Australia was the top leading country in providing grants aid (ODA) to Kiribati between 2004 and 2015 while New Zealand was the second largest provider of grants aid. Obviously, even though New Zealand’s contribution was lower than of Australia, its participation in assisting Kiribati remains active. In the next section, there are two things to discuss, including New Zealand’s RSE scheme and remittance inflows. These two factors will give us a broader understanding of how New Zealand involvement in Kiribati brought a better future for Kiribati, not just through its ODA distribution but also its policies implementation.

4.3.1 Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme

The impacts of climate change on the small island nation of Kiribati have caused donors, like New Zealand to implement policies that would lead to the development of Kiribati and its population. As describes by New Zealand Immigration, the Recognized Seasonal Employer scheme is a “policy that allows the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit workers from overseas for seasonal work when there are not enough New Zealand workers.”52 It provides job opportunities for many citizens from the Pacific region. Kiribati is among the participant countries since the scheme came into effect in 2007. Although Australia on the other hand, also runs a similar program, the number of workers from Kiribati was lower there than the workers in New Zealand. Below is the number of arrivals for Kiribati citizens to work in New Zealand under the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE)53 scheme and in Australia under the Seasonal Work Programme (SWP).54

Figure 10

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Source: New Zealand Immigration Statistic (RSE), and Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship and MLHRD (SWP)

With this scheme, many I-Kiribati (people) have found jobs in New Zealand, which allow them to provide for their families in Kiribati through remittance. Since unemployment is still common, remittance has become another source of income for most families. Below is a testimony from three Kiribati citizens working in New Zealand under the RSE scheme.

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Source: Kiribati Employment Solutions

4.3.2 Remittance Inflows

At the end of a colonial period in 1979, remittance inflows became an important part of the Government’s economy as well as a regular income for families on the island nation of Kiribati.55 According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper prepared by Gupta, Pattillo, and Wagh, "remittance is another important source of external revenue and brings important economic benefits, such as reducing poverty and stabilizing national income.”56

Figure 11 and 12 indicates the trends of migrant remittance inflows to Kiribati from 1990 to 1994 and from 2006 to 2015, however, both graphs can be influenced by a variety of reasons such as remittance through students studying abroad, labor migration and even from families living overseas permanently.

Figure 11: Overall of migrant remittance inflows to Kiribati, 1990-1994

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Source : World Bank Data (Annual Remittance Inflows Data [updated as of April 2018])

Figure 12: Overall of migrant remittance inflows to Kiribati, 2006-2017

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Source : World Bank Data (Annual Remittance Inflows Data [updated as of April 2018])

With migrant remittance inflows, New Zealand is known to be the second largest country to send remittance to Kiribati alongside the United States (figure 13). This might be associated with the fact that when converting the US dollar to an Australian dollar (currency used in Kiribati), it is expected that the amount will increase, whereas converting the New Zealand dollar to an Australian dollar, the amount received in the Australian dollar will decrease.

Figure 13: Migrant Remittance Inflows to Kiribati (Unit: US$ million)

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Source: USD Explorer

Nevertheless, based on the conventional argument, the literature has often argued that New Zealand’s ODA has repeatedly focused on the hard infrastructure rather than the soft infrastructure. As argued by Gounder, New Zealand’s ODA policy in Asian countries tends to provide Aid for Trade-related infrastructure in order to increase export opportunities for New Zealand with Asia.57 Perhaps, this might be true in Asian countries, but it is not the case with Kiribati. Technically, New Zealand's interest in one country might not be the same as the other country, therefore, its ODA policy also differs from one nation to another. In Kiribati, New Zealand's ODA policy has shifted from economic infrastructure to social infrastructure because as Rose and Hay noted, in order for New Zealand to make its ODA more effective in reducing poverty, investment in human capital is necessary, particularly in poor countries.58 Under Tong’s administration (President of Kiribati), the government recognized the importance of “enhancing economic growth for sustainable development through human resources development (education), economic growth (related to peoples economic development) and poverty reduction, health, environment/climate change, governance, and infrastructure maintenance”59 in order to improve the social standard of the population. With this Kiribati Development Plan (KDP), New Zealand was able to align itself with the government of Kiribati by providing aid related to this goal. On the other hand, Hanks’ argument is quite an opposite. He argued that New Zealand’s Aid Programme has currently changed from social infrastructure to economic infrastructure, mostly in the Pacific region. He noted that in order for “Infrastructure development to truly be sustainable, inclusive, coordinated and relevant, donors must base their actions on lessons learned from the past. These lessons include; (i) providing on-going support for infrastructure maintenance and local capacity, (ii) recognizing the vulnerability of the infrastructure sector to corruption and building an environment of good governance, (iii) establishing a fully coordinated and harmonized donor approach to infrastructure projects, and (iv) ensuring that infrastructure projects are relevant to the people in each particular country and meet their needs.”60

With lessons learned from the past, the author has concluded that building new infrastructures that are sustainable in the recipient countries is essential to facilitate infrastructure development. Obviously, the transformation of New Zealand Aid Programme to economic infrastructure does not guarantee a success in some countries. It might contribute to developed countries at some point but it might not help developing countries. Besides, the author has failed to address the importance of technical skills in order to operate and preserve such infrastructures. As Kane and Tomer argued, "a wide variety of knowledge, tools, and technologies, and education and training is often required in the infrastructure occupation, especially when the infrastructure workforce is aging and experiencing a high level of turnover."61 This is important because even if New Zealand focuses on building new infrastructures, there is indeed a need for maintaining technical skills in order to operate and preserve such infrastructures.

However, it seems that during the period of 2007 to 2015, New Zealand's ODA did indeed focus on social infrastructure rather than economic infrastructure, at least in Kiribati (refer to figure 14). Prior to 2007, the figure indicates a fluctuation between social infrastructure and services and economic infrastructure. In 2011, economic infrastructure and services were recorded to be the highest. For one reason, the approval of the Pacific Aviation Investment Project for East Asia and Pacific, this aimed to "improve operational safety and oversight of international air transport infrastructure.”62 In the Pacific region, Kiribati was also one of the covering areas, which lead to a high contribution to economic infrastructure and services. As reported by the World Bank, “funding for the Kiribati Aviation Investment Protect came through the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility, which funded by the governments of Australia and New Zealand.”63

Figure 14: New Zealand's ODA by sector in Kiribati, 2005 -2016 (Unit: US$ million)

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Source: OECD.Stat (date extracted on 21 May 2018)

CHAPTER FIVE JAPAN’S OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE POLICY IN KIRIBATI

In this chapter, I discuss Japan’s ODA policy in Kiribati, focusing on aid distribution in the field of education, climate change, and economic development. Additionally, I will also review the literature on the conventional argument as well as the analysis whether or not Japan's ODA on education, climate change, and economic development did indeed contribute to Kiribati, both economically and socially.

There are two graphs provided below; figure 15 and figure 16. Each graph indicates an overview of Japan’s ODA disbursements to Kiribati for the year 2000 to 2006 (figure 15) and the year 2007 up to 2015 (figure 16), which is an important time frame for this research. The blue line (graph) represents the amount of Japan’s grant aid to Kiribati, while the red line (graph) represents its technical cooperation. Japan’s grant aid to Kiribati is enormous, although it also shows a fluctuation of aid distribution from year to year. This could be a result of the Japanese budget by fiscal year. However, in 2006, the total grant aid allocation was US$8.87 million, while in 2007; the amount has increased to US$11.97 million. Perhaps, this could have been associated with the 2007 drought affecting the entire nation. On the other hand, Japan’s technical cooperation also indicates a similar situation; however, the amount seems to be steadier compared to the grant aid. Since 2007, technical cooperation has increased from US$1.08 million to US$2.51 million (2009), although between 2010 and 2011, the amount was reduced to US$0.86 million. From 2013 to 2015, the amount has increased once again.

Figure 15

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Source: MOFA

[ Note : 1. Technical Cooperation includes projects implemented by relevant ministries and local governments in addition to those administered by JICA

Note : 2. Grant Aid indicates the sum of funds disbursed within the calendar year from the amount committed with the exchange of notes.]

Figure 16

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Source: MOFA

[ Note : 1. Technical Cooperation includes projects implemented by relevant ministries and local governments in addition to those administered by JICA

Note : 2. Grant Aid indicates the sum of funds disbursed within the calendar year from the amount committed with an exchange of notes.]

5.1 Education

Like other donor countries, Japan also recognized the importance of advancing education as well as improving people-to-people exchanges with the island nation of Kiribati.64 During the Fifth Pacific Island Leaders Meeting in 2009, Prime Minister Aso hosted a bilateral meeting with President Tong of Kiribati to discuss some of the challenges affecting the country and the need for human resource development. In response, Japan promised to continue dispatching members of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) to Kiribati to assist in the socio-economic development of local communities. In 2014, there were 9 Japanese volunteers arrived in Kiribati under the JOCV and were disseminated to different Ministries based on their experience and qualifications.65

In addition, in 2014, the Government of Japan also offered scholarships to Kiribati's students for 2015 under four categories, including research student for university degree holders, undergraduate student degree, college of technology student diploma, and professional training college student certificate.66 These scholarships are barely new compared to other donors, although, its influence on social development has grown rapidly. In 2015, Japan has established another scholarship opportunity for most islands in the Pacific region, including Kiribati, allowing more students to engage and attend Japanese universities under the Pacific Leaders’ Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific-LEADS). With these scholarships, more students from Kiribati have been given the chance to further their education in Japan alongside New Zealand and Australia. Currently, there are nine students still attending the Japanese universities under the Pacific-LEADS and three under the MEXT scholarship.67 Apart from these scholarships, Japan also provide training programme through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Fiji, which provide funding to Kiribati nominees who have been nominated to participate in selected training such as Training and Dialogue Programs, Disaster Management Courses, Youth programs, Human Resources Management Courses, Water Sewage Management Courses, Information Systems Promoting Courses, and Rural Development Courses.68 With Japan’s assistance in advancing education as well as improving people-to-people exchanges, Kiribati’s citizens are able to receive the skills and knowledge that better strengthen their capacity to fulfill their duty as government civil servant. According to figure 17, Japan's ODA on the education sector in Kiribati has shown an increase between 2008 and 2011, although, in 2013, the amount has declined from $0.51 million (2011) to $0.14 million (2013). One possible reason for this decline might be associated with Japan’s budget by fiscal year. Besides, figure 17 also include data from other DAC countries, such as Germany, France, South Korea and multilateral agencies, although their contributions do not show any progression at all. This comparison is important in analyzing whether or not Japan’s ODA did influence education in Kiribati.

Figure 17: A comparison between DAC countries and Japan’s ODA to the education sector in Kiribati, 2003-2016 (Unit: US$ million)

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Source: OECD Stat. [GeoBook: ODA by sector - bilateral commitments by donor and recipient]

According to figure 18, the graph indicates the number of students and trainees arrived in Japan between 2006 and 2016. To elaborate, the data represents all students entered Japan during this period, whether for higher education or for primary exchange programs. Referring to a graph on a study, there has been an increased number of students arrived in Japan since 2006. For one reason, the Government of Japan has committed to promote "two-way exchanges and training of human resources to serve as assistance in cultivating both expertise and technical skills."69

Figure 18

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Source: Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

Furthermore, the quality of education also contributed to good health. According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), education is linked to good health.70 It provided a broader understanding of particular health issues such as HIV Aids. Without proper education, chances to expose to various health issues will increase. For one reason, the Government is failed to inform and train its population how to protect themselves from such issues. This lead many donors, including Japan, to focus on education as a source to reduce health issues, particularly in poor countries such as Kiribati. For instance, in 2012, the Government of Japan promised Kiribati to provide support to improve health care and medical services as well as improvement of immunization and infectious disease control measure for the eradication of Filariasis until 2020.71

5.2 Climate Change

As the Pacific Island Countries shared common issues like climate change, the Government of Japan has decided that contributing to climate change fund will be a productive way to assist these islands dealing with the impacts of climate change. For example, in 2010, “Prime Minister Abe announced Japan’s contribution of $1.5 billion (USD) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – the largest source of fund for supporting the reduction of greenhouse gases (mitigation) and addressing impacts of climate change (adaptation) in developing countries.”72 To be sure, Japan is not the only donor to the GCF, although its contribution was the third largest other than the US and the European Union. Through this fund, Kiribati has received “US$585,927 for the Readiness Support to strengthen Kiribati engagement with the Green Climate Fund” (Toatu, 2017).73

In addition to Japan’s engagement in the Green Climate Fund, the Government of Japan also supports regional agencies such as the Pacific Island Forum and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). In regard to the Pacific Island Forum, for instance, Japan has continued to provide support to the “Pacific to help the countries, including Kiribati fight against climate change and natural disasters.”74 As discussed earlier in chapter one, Japan has been hosting a Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM) since 1997, in which the leaders have shared common concern regarding the threat climate change has caused on economic and social development. In response to this common challenge, Japan has pledged billions of dollars to accommodate the need of all countries in the Pacific region. For example, in 2001, Japan's ODA to the Pacific Island Countries has amounted to approximately $100 million, which Kiribati has received a share of 34%.75 In 2009, Prime Minister Aso conveyed another 6.8 billion yen of Japan’s cooperation in the form of donations of solar panels through the Pacific Island Forum, which later distributed to the island nations such as Kiribati.76 In 2012 (during the Sixth Pacific Island Leaders Meeting), the Pacific Island Forum accepted Japan’s pledge of up to US$500 million to further strengthen cooperation to reach the five pillars (refer to table 1) goals.77 Last but not least, at the end of the Seventh Pacific Island Leaders Meeting in 2015, Prime Minister Abe announced Japan’s agreement in providing more than 55 billion yen in aid to the Pacific to help the Islands addressing the impact of climate change and natural disasters.78

Apart from the GCF and aid distribution through regional agencies, the Government of Kiribati also received Japan’s bilateral ODA on climate change and other related matters like environmental protection and humanitarian aid on basic need. According to MOFA, “The Government of Japan provides support to Kiribati focusing mainly on the field of environmental improvement and conservation in Tarawa with the purpose of enhancing in environmentally friendly living standards and adaptation measures in climate change by solid waste management approach of reducing garbage disposal in the city.”79

In table 4, Japan’s cooperation to Kiribati in relation to humanitarian aid has been provided, alongside with the Australian's commitment, which later describes how committed Japan was in maintaining its relationship with Kiribati, especially in the time of need. In 2010, both donor countries provided humanitarian aid to Kiribati, while the following years, only Japan offered assistance based on the situations. As discussed earlier, in 2015, Kiribati has experienced massive destruction due to cyclone PAM, although, table 4 shows only Japan’s contribution in the amount of US$0.02 million, whereas Australia did not specify any contribution at all.

Tabl e 4: Japan’s humanitarian aid to Kiribati during sudden natural disasters

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Date extracted on 09 May 2018 03:48 UTC (GMT)

5.3 Economic Development

In 1980, diplomatic relations between Japan and Kiribati were formally established, in which the Government of Japan has continued to assist the Government of Kiribati in the area of fisheries. Fisheries cooperation is one of the cornerstones of Japan and Kiribati relationships to improve living standards among many communities throughout the country. In Kiribati, fisheries play an important role in bringing in external revenue. It also provides food and income for local communities. According to World Bank, “more than 80% of the population engaged in fishing for livelihood.”80 As Anterea (Kiribati’s citizen) described, “We call the sea in Kiribati our Mother Ocean. We eat fish in the morning for breakfast, we eat fish for lunch and we eat fish at dinner time. And in our day, we also get money from our ocean. Young people, the men go out fishing, and then the women sell the fish along the roads.”81

With more than 80% of the people relied heavily on marine and ocean, the Government of Japan has supported Kiribati in various ways in order to maintain human economic development as well as reducing poverty in the country. Many Pacific Island Leaders often argued that the impacts of climate change on marine and ocean could lead to the reduction in ocean fisheries, thus limiting access to a critical food source for most poor countries like Kiribati (PSIDS, 2009).82

There are two major contributions the Government of Japan has provided to Kiribati to improve living standards and minimizing poverty through social economic development. First, Japan’s cooperation in providing assistance to maintain the Marine Training Centre. The objective of this Centre is to provide training related to fishing activities, which therefore enhancing the ability of young men to work on Japan's fishing vessels. To meet the need of Kiribati in reducing poverty, Japan Marine Services (JMS) has recruited I-Kiribati crew to work on 12 Pole & Line Vessels and 15 Purse Seiners. As of 2015, more than two hundred I-Kiribati fishermen have worked on Japan's fishing vessels, while in 2018, it is approximately more than five hundreds crews (Tokobea, 2018).83 The data shows an increased number of I-Kiribati fishermen working abroad on Japan's fishing boats, in which they provided a substantial amount of cash to their families back in Kiribati through remittance. As the Azam, Haseeb and Samsudin noted, "foreign remittance is found to have a positive impact on poverty alleviation and statistically significant only for upper middle-income countries."84

In addition, Japan’s cooperation in supporting Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation (OFCF) which designed to encourage local fishing activities and to strengthen the management and operation of the Marine Export Division of the Ministry of the Line and Phoenix Groups (MLPG) of the Republic of Kiribati has also improved living standards among the outer-island communities.85 Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kiribati noted that through this area, local communities, in particular on outer-islands, have gained support for their livelihoods, income generation, and food security. For one reason, Japan's assistance through OFCF continually provides AUD$367,500.00 worth of items (in-kind materials) as donations to aid fisheries development activities in Kiribati.86 These in-kind materials include fishing boats and engines, fishing gears, equipment and other simple facilities to assure the quality of fish products, especially as most islands outside the capital city of Tarawa have no refrigerators to maintain fish quality. In figure 19, it is noted that Japan’s ODA in the areas related to fishing was one of the largest compared to other DAC countries. The data shows a fluctuated and a high amount of ODA offered to Kiribati between 2003 and 2007, while in 2008 to 2016, the amount was decreasing, although, Japan’s persistence in providing ODA to fishing sector in Kiribati continue to exist.

Figure 19: A comparison between other DAC countries and Japan’s ODA on the fishing sector in Kiribati, 2003 – 2016 (Unit: US$ million)

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Source: OECD. Stat [In the field of fishing, including fishing policy and administration management, fishery development, fishery education/training, fishery research, and fishery services].

Moreover, based on the conventional argument, it is noted that Japan’s ODA has often been criticized for its emphasis on economic infrastructure projects rather than social infrastructure projects, just like New Zealand. For instance, in Bangladesh, “in the area of physical infrastructure, Japan has done more than any other donor and indeed taken a lead role in financing a number of high-profile bridges such as the Jamuna, Rupsa and Padma bridges.”87

Other scholars like Yoshimatsu, also argued that while the Japanese government has emphasized exporting infrastructure systems to improve Japanese economy, the government also work together with Asian countries to strengthen political relations through emerging economies and balancing China’s rising power in the region.88 Interestingly, both arguments have emphasized that Japan has been fascinated in providing aid on hard infrastructure projects in Asian countries.

In reality, improving hard infrastructure is necessary, especially with neighboring countries that have a high number of populations and easy access to integrate. In this way, both the donor and the recipient country can share and benefit from each other. On the other hand, Japan’s interest in Kiribati is more on soft infrastructure-related projects, which aims to enhance technical skills, provide job opportunities and protection of marine and ocean. For Kiribati, this is an area that matters the most, which in return is also important to Japan in terms of labor migration as well as providing access to fish in Kiribati’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Figure 20, the graph indicates that prior to 2007, Japan’s ODA for social infrastructure and service rise from $0.21 million in 2005 to $3.62 million in 2007, although in 2008, ODA allocation on social infrastructure and services has declined until 2012, when improvements have occurred. However, in 2011, the data shows a high distribution in Japan’s ODA in the area of economic infrastructure and service. As mentioned earlier, this is due to the approval of the Pacific Aviation Investment Project for East Asia and Pacific.

Figure 20: Japan’s ODA by sector: Bilateral commitments to Kiribati, 2005 – 2015 (Unit: US$ million)

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Source: Date extracted on 29 May 2018 06:15 UTC (GMT) from OECD.Stat

CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS

To answer the question of whether or not New Zealand and Japan’s ODA policy have an influence on the economic and social conditions in Kiribati between 2007 and 2015, I conclude that based on the finding, New Zealand and Japan’s ODA did indeed contribute toward economic and social development in Kiribati. With ODA policy and how New Zealand and Japan have carefully selected a field of focus have brought benefit and meaningful influences not only to Kiribati but also to both donors. For instance, in 2009, just after a global financial crisis, New Zealand's ODA to the education sector in Kiribati has increased, even though Australia was known to be the leading donor in the sector. The role of Australia played in this field does not make New Zealand less effective in its part. However, according to figure 6, it is explained that even though New Zealand's ODA pledge was lower than Australia, the number of I-Kiribati students received by the Government of New Zealand was higher than Australia. Likewise, Japan's aid to the education sector in Kiribati also has an influence on social development, especially when the Australian and New Zealand's scholarships are very competitive. Unlike other donors, Japan's commitment in providing scholarships to citizens of Kiribati is new, although the objective is comparable. It means that the goal is to achieve a good quality of education and prepare citizens for the future, especially in the development of their nation.

Additionally, in regard to climate change, the data indicates that both New Zealand and Japan participated in assisting Kiribati dealing with the impacts of climate change, although it also shows that most of New Zealand and Japan’s ODA allocation on climate change and other related matters were distributed through multilateral and regional agencies. This means that both donors have contributed more to multilateral and regional organizations rather than to Kiribati itself. On the other hand, the OECD noted that from time to time, especially in times of need or during emergencies, New Zealand and Japan did offer bilateral aid to support Kiribati addressing the impacts of climate change and achieving its goal in protecting the environment.

However, referring to economic development, it is concluded that New Zealand and Japan's ODA policy also played a significant role in improving the economic and social well- being of many people in Kiribati. It provides job opportunities on New Zealand's farms under the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and also on Japan's fishing boats. With these possibilities, I-Kiribati employees were able to send money to their families through remittance, thus remittance becomes another source of income not only to people but also to the government. With New Zealand and Japan's ODA policy that focused on education, climate change, and economic development, the Government of Kiribati, and in particular, its people were able to understand how to protect themselves from any diseases and most importantly, to reduce the effect of poverty within their communities. As criticism remained about New Zealand and Japan's ODA and its focus on economic infrastructure-related projects, I conclude that in the case of Kiribati, New Zealand and Japan's ODA policy has shifted from the hard infrastructure to a more meaningful objective, which is a focus on social infrastructure like education, climate change, and economic development.

Finally, for a recommendation, I strongly advise that donor countries, especially when dealing with countries like Kiribati, should focus more on soft infrastructure, particularly in the area of education and social economic development. For one reason, education and social economic development are long-term strategies that can play major roles to improve the living standards of a community by reducing poverty and improving health outcomes. On the other hand, assistance for climate change is also important, but it seems to me that most of the benefit goes to multilateral and regional agencies rather than to the country itself. Once the quality of education improves, more people will understand how to protect themselves from any diseases, natural disasters and most importantly, contribute to the development of their nations, even if climate change continues to threaten economic and social development. In addition, providing assistance to enhance social economic development is also necessary, especially in the poor country, because of its contribution in poverty alleviation.

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[...]


1 See Costello 2009.

2 Trease 1993, 226.

3 Derbyshire, J. D., & Derbyshire, I. 2000, 732.

4 See United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2015.

5 See Radio of New Zealand 2007.

6 See Stone 2015.

7 Sunhak Peace Prize Committee 2016, 18.

8 See United Nations and Climate Change 2015.

9 See Pearlman on The Straits Time News 2017.

10 See Krever on CNN News 2017.

11 See UNHCR 2010, 2.

12 See MOFA on Japan-Kiribati Summit Meeting 2015.

13 See Doherty & Roy 2017.

14 See Milman 2015.

15 See Asian Development Bank 2013.

16 Tanielu 2017.

17 See The Government of the Republic of Kiribati 2009.

18 See Sethi 2018.

19 Abeygunawardena et al. 2009.

20 UN-OHRLLS 2001.

21 See The Statistics Portal for data on poverty in the Dominican Republic 2018.

22 See Save Kiribati’s Education Newsletter.

23 See Central Intelligence Agency Website on Kiribati Economy 2018.

24 Sunhaek Peace Prize 2016, 37.

25 See Office of the President of Kiribati Website on fresh water supply.

26 Kiribati Climate Change Study Team 2007. See also McIver et al. 2014, 5224-5240

27 See The Climate Reality Project 2016.

28 See Kiribati Meteorology Service, Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO 2011, 93-110.

29 See World Bank 2000, 19.

30 See Kiribati Ministry of Health 2012, 8.

31 See OECD on DAC member profile 2016.

32 See OECD on Development Co-operation Report 2016, 235.

33 See New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade on Our aid partnerships in the Pacific.

34 See Index Mundi (New Zealand) 1972-2016

35 Brady 2008.

36 See MOFA Cabinet paper 2015.

37 See MOFA Website on the History of Official Development Assistance 1994.

38 See Index Mundi (Japan) 1974-2016.

39 See MOFA regarding Japan and the Pacific Foreign Islands Forum Relations 2016.

40 See MOFA in related to ‘The Kyoto Initiative’ 1997.

41 See MOFA in related to Japan’s International Cooperation on Climate Change: Contribution through ODA 2006, 2.

42 Sreenivasulu 2013, 32-35.

43 See New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade Website on Kiribati Scholarships

44 Walsh 2017.

45 See New Zealand Immigration 2018, 55. Also see Appendix 1.

46 See Australian Government 2017-18.

47 See Office of the Minister for Climate Change.

48 See New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade, Humanitarian Action.

49 OECD data regarding New Zealand general environmental protection 2018.

50 See Plater (2011,1).

51 See New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade, Aid and Development (Our approach to aid section).

52 See New Zealand Immigration on Innovation RSE scheme 10 years young 2017.

53 See New Zealand Immigration regarding Factsheet for RSE scheme 2007.

54 See Ministry of Labour and Human Resources Development 2015.

55 See The Commonwealth Website on Kiribati Economy 2018.

56 See Gupta, Pattillo, and Wagh 2007, 11.

57 See Gounder 2016.

58 See Rose and Hay 2001.

59 See Rose and Hay 2001.

60 Kane and Tomer 2016.

61 Kane and Tomer 2016.

62 See World Bank 2011.

63 See World Bank 2016.

64 MOFA on Japan-Kiribati Summit Meeting 2009.

65 As described in MFAI, Kiribati/Japan Relations 2015, 16.

66 See Embassy of Japan in Kiribati.

67 See Finau 2018.

68 See Kiribati Public Service Office Website.

69 See Masangkay 2015.

70 See United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2015.

71 See MOFA, Country Assistance Policy for the Republic of Kiribati (Overcoming Vulnerability) 2012.

72 See MOFA Website on Green Climate Fund 2017.

73 See Toatu 2017.

74 Explaining Japan’s engagement toward regional agencies, Radio New Zealand has announced Japan’s pledged of US$453 million to the Pacific Island Forum 2015.

75 See MOFA, Why the Pacific Island Countries are important to Japan? Relations between Japan and the Pacific Countries, and Japan’s cooperation 2001.

76 See MOFA, Press Conference by Prime Minister Taro Aso and Premier Toke Tufukia Talagi of Niue 2009.

77 See MOFA regarding the Sixth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (Overview of Outcome). 2012.

78 See MOFA regarding the Seventh Pacific Island Leaders Meeting 2015.

79 See MOFA, Country Assistance Policy to the Republic of Kiribati (Environment/Climate Change) 2012.

80 World Bank 2012.

81 Anterea 2012.

82 See Pacific Small Island Developing States 2009.

83 See Tokobea 2018.

84 Azam, Haseeb, Samsudin, 2016, 1.

85 See MFAI, Kiribati/Japan Relations 2015, 18.

86 See MFAI, Kiribati/Japan Relations 2015, 19.

87 Quibria 2010.

88 Yoshimatsu 2017).

67 von 67 Seiten

Details

Titel
A Comparative Study of New Zealand and Japan’s ODA Policy toward the Pacific Region
Untertitel
The Case of Kiribati, 2007-2015
Hochschule
Universität Tokio
Veranstaltung
International Relations
Note
3.6
Jahr
2020
Seiten
67
Katalognummer
V539521
Sprache
Englisch
Schlagworte
case, comparative, japan’s, kiribati, pacific, policy, region, study, zealand
Arbeit zitieren
Anonym, 2020, A Comparative Study of New Zealand and Japan’s ODA Policy toward the Pacific Region, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/539521

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