FGFJ | Symposium: “From Okinawa to Toyako: Dealing with Communicable Diseases as Global Human Security Threats”

May 23–28, 2008

On May 23-24, 2008, more than 150 NGO, business, and philanthropic leaders from around the world met in Tokyo for a major JCIE/FGFJ conference to explore how the world can respond more effectively to the spread of communicable diseases in developing countries. The conference, which was co-sponsored by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, opened as Japan was preparing to host two prominent international meetings—the Toyako G8 Summit in July and the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) from May 28.

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who serves as chair of the FGFJ, opened the conference by noting how much progress we have witnessed since he hosted the last G8 Summit held in Japan, the Kyushu-Okinawa G8 Summit which helped spark the creation of the Global Fund. Still, he added that “now is the time when we need to look toward the future and decide together what we need to do so that we can have an even greater impact on the lives of people around the world.”

In his address, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the host of the 2008 G8 Summit, pledged a new Japanese contribution of US$560 million to the Global Fund. Focusing on human security approaches to global health issues, he also singled out for special praise the Global Fund’s participatory approach to responses “in which all stakeholders, such as donor countries, recipient countries, international agencies, private corporations, private foundations, and civil society, are jointly engaged in decision-making and the formulation and implementation of programs.”

Sadako Ogata, president of Japan’s ODA agency, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), gave a keynote address in which she stressed the importance of human security approaches in working to improve global health. Then, during the conference’s first full session, Michel Kazatchkine of the Global Fund, Peter Piot of UNAIDS, and Joy Phumaphi of the World Bank shared their assessments of the progress made since 2000 G8 Summit and how much more remains to be done. In later sessions, Keizo Takemi presented the findings of a major working group that has been preparing global health proposals for Japan for the G8 Summit, and leading figures from diverse fields shared their views about how to more effectively build cooperation between different regions of the world and different sectors of society in responding to the global challenge of communicable diseases.

For more information on this event, please visit the FGFJ website.