IFRTD agenda presented at TICAD Civil Society Forum Workshop
Although infrastructure comprises one of the largest areas of Japanese ODA, much of this is invested in highways and other large-scale infrastructure and fails to directly benefit the majority of the African population.
This was the clear message delivered by Nite Tanzarn to participants of the recent TICAD Civil Society Forum (TCSF) in Tokyo. Nite, an active member of both IFRTD and the Gatnet Gender, Equity and Transport Community, was attending the workshop in October as a representative of IFRTD following a similar meeting held in Nairobi in September that was attended by the IFRTD Secretariat.
TCSF aims to improve Japan’s policy to Africa by sharing African civil society voices with Japanese citizens and policy makers. TCSF workshops harmonise the messages they receive from participants to feed into the TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) and by extension the 2008 G8 summit that will be held in Japan. TICAD is a 5 yearly event and the next conference takes place on 28-30 May 2008 focusing on i) boosting economic growth ii) ensuring human security iii) addressing environmental issues/climate change.
The interactive workshop included presentations, plenary and group discussions, field visits as well as videoconferencing with connections to Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Senegal and Cameroon. Nite Tanzarn presented on the work of IFRTD and her involvement with the Gatnet community. Other participants supported her argument and confirmed the key role that rural infrastructure plays in poverty reduction and development.
The key output of the workshop was a document entitled “Voices of African and Japanese Civil Society towards TICAD IV”. Recommendations from the meeting include urging Japan ODA to target poor rural infrastructure as well as ensuring that infrastructure development responds to both social/livelihood needs as well as broad economic considerations.
“Investing in pro-poor rural infrastructure and promoting gender equality came out clearly in our recommendations to the TICAD IV. Hopefully, these recommendations will filter through to the July 2008 G8 summit. I am hoping that the TCSF will not hold a parallel session during the TICAD IV, as is usually the case with CSOs, but that they will be substantive delegates to the conference with a right to their voices being heard and listened to. Further, I hope that our recommendations are incorporated into the TICAD IV agenda. That way Japan ODA will be responsive to the African realities… realities such as poor rural access, high maternal and infant mortality rates and persistent gender inequalities.” Nite Tanzarn
For more information please contact:
Email: tanzarn [at] yahoo.co.uk
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