JICA organizes a forum with NITI Aayog on Health and Nutrition
New Delhi: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and National Institute for Transforming India Aayog (NITI Aayog), organized the 2nd Japan-India SDGs Forum. Sponsored by the governments of the two countries, the Forum aims to create a platform to enhance the opportunities for sharing and exchanging specific and appropriate experience, knowledge, technologies, skills and know-how regarding SDGs amongst the wider stakeholders involving the private sectors and government officials of the two countries.
JICA has been partnering with NITI Aayog, which plays a central role in coordinating efforts to achieve SDG goals and targets in India. On January 18, 2019, JICA signed an agreement with the Government of India to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of 15 billion Japanese Yen (approximately INR 1,000 Crore) for “Program for Japan-India Cooperative
Actions towards Sustainable Development Goals in India” to help India’s policy actions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This program’s design aligns with the Government of India’s activities to support districts that have the potential to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs in India. The program expedites the five themes, namely, (1) health and nutrition, (2) education, (3) agriculture and water resources, (4) financial inclusion and skill development, and (5) basic infrastructure.
The forum started by opening remarks by Mr. Rakesh Ranjan, DDG (Evaluation), NITI Aayog and Welcome Remarks by Mr. KAJITA Takuma, Counsellor, Embassy of Japan. In the first half of the forum, Senior Advisors of JICA shared Japanese experience / best practices of Health and Nutrition sector. These experiences were largely around optimal use of maternal and child health handbook and delivery of key nutrition services by the Japanese local government across different life stages especially from pregnancy to early childhood. In the forum, the Ajinomoto Foundation, a public interest incorporated foundation established by a Japanese company Ajinomoto Co., Inc., explained the current school meal program in Japan and how this school meal program was contextualized in Vietnam. The presentations were followed by a panel discussion on how the best practices presented in the first half can be contextualized in Indian districts. Participants from the concerned local governments, ministries, and other organizations in India had opportunity to exchange opinions and knowledge and deepen their understanding.
In the closing session, Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office said, “In India there are many globally known civil organizations who are doing great activities in the field of school lunch and education to mothers. These efforts are simple but have a big impact. JICA’s SDGs loan has been utilized in more than 40 districts in India. Each activity may be small, but I think it also has a big impact too since Indian local governments’ collective efforts in their specific context is one of the most important factors for the world to achieve SDGs.
In the world with pandemic, health care system along with nutritional sufficiency is key elements to establishing a resilient society. Today we presented some Japanese experiences. As India is such a huge and diverse country, it would not be easy to apply those measures to each locality in the same way. I know that India has supreme talent of get things done in very innovative manner, I hope this forum will encourage and help participants to make commitments to overcome challenges in its local society. ”