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March 28, 2017 15:19

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08:34 21 February 2017

Japan, int'l body to promote human security in Middle East, Africa

GENEVA, Feb. 21, Kyodo

Japan on Monday partnered with the U.N.-affiliated International Trade Center in Geneva to promote human security in conflict-ridden parts of the Middle East and Africa.

Japan will contribute $794,000 to assist four ITC projects in Syria, Jordan, Sudan and North Africa aimed at bolstering social stability through vocational training for refugees and expanding employment opportunities, as well as promoting trade-led economic growth.

"We are promoting the concept of humanitarian development nexus, which combines humanitarian and development efforts, because we believe that to cope with protracted situations and human rights issues we have to ensure the sustainability of the economies," Junichi Ihara, Japan's ambassador to international organizations in Geneva, said during an exchange of notes at ITC headquarters.

The humanitarian development nexus is an aspect of the concept of human security, which has grown steadily in importance in Japan's foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and is today a key element of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's international efforts under the banner of "proactive contribution to peace."

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, "human security aims to protect people from critical and pervasive threats to human lives, livelihoods and dignity, and to enhance human fulfillment."

These threats, such as the smuggling of people, arms and drugs as well as infectious diseases, have multiplied in today's globalized world.

ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez welcomed Japan's support, saying it "enables the ITC to kick-start skills and vocational training programs aimed in particular at youth and women, which will help create economic opportunities through connecting these entrepreneurs to markets."

The ITC, a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, is dedicated to supporting the internationalization of small and medium-sized companies to boost economic development, paying special attention to the role of women entrepreneurs.

==Kyodo

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