Lesson Learned from JICA’s Experience of Triangular Cooperation with Thailand

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As long as we learn from the public information, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is one of the development agencies that strongly promote south-south cooperation or triangular cooperation (JICA 2012, 2009, JICA Brazil office 2011). It proudly says that it is JICA that first formalized the structure of south-south cooperation in the world in 1974, by providing a training course for Laotian sericulturists in silkworm factory in Thailand (Yamamoto 2009). As an example to show JICA‟s strong support for them, JICA co-hosted “high-level conference on south-south cooperation and triangular cooperation” in Washington D.C. in the end of 2009, and proposed to establishment of platform or evaluation method (JICA 2009). JICA also won the UN South-South Cooperation Award in 2012 with its individual projects being appreciated. As a concrete framework to implement JICA‟s Triangular Cooperation with Thailand toward “less-developed” countries in Southeast Asia, JICA-ASEAN Regional Cooperation Meeting (JARCOM) was established in 2002. It was expected to provide a forum to discuss about the demand and the supply of the development projects among Southeast countries. It then reformed to Japan-Southeast Asian Meeting for South-South Cooperation (J-SEAM), whose objective is to form and well-manage the south-south technical assistance projects in Southeast Asia, although it was dissolved in 2011. It was dissolved because it became unnecessary thanks to individual state‟s capacity improvement. While JICA often appeals the positive aspects of its triangular cooperation, Professor Ishii, who has both practical and academic experience in international 2 development field, emphasizes more negative aspects of triangular cooperation by JICA in Southeast Asia (Ishii 2016). However, Ishii‟s report is written in Japanese. In addition, there are already several copies of reports written about JICA‟s triangular cooperation in Japanese by insiders and outsiders, practitioners and academics. Therefore, in this mini project under Network of International Development Cooperation (NIDC), I would like to review and summarize several related articles and reports on triangular project mostly written in Japanese, so as to provide the lesson learned from JICA‟s experience of triangular cooperation with Thailand toward other Southeast Asian countries.

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