The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, was invited to attend the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) which was co-hosted by the Government of Japan, The United Nations (UN/OSSA and UNDP) and the World Bank.
The Conference was held in Yokohama, Japan from the 28th to the 30th of May 2008.
Out of the ten African Civil Society organsiations which attended TICAD, Mr. Gounden was one of three Civil Society representatives who were invited to address the main TICAD plenary session, giving a voice to civil society perspectives. Mr. Gounden was asked to focus on the topic of Democratisation. The other two topics discussed during the plenary session focused on food security and addressing Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s).
TICAD was created in 1993 to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners. Since its inception, TICAD has provided fundamental and comprehensive policy and guideline on African development. In the early 90's, when 'aid fatigue' set in after the Cold War, Japan launched TICAD in order to refocus international attention on the importance and urgency of African development issues. Japan has stressed the importance of 'Africa's ownership' of its development as well as of the 'partnership' between Africa and the international community. A central feature of TICAD is the cooperation between Asia and Africa.
At TICAD I in 1993 African and its development partners determined to do their utmost for African stability and prosperity. At TICAD II in 1998 the Tokyo Agenda for Action (TAA) was agreed upon, which was a strategic and action oriented guideline, with poverty reduction in Africa and its integration into the global economy as two fundamental goals. At TICAD III in 2003 the achievements of the ten year TICAD process was reviewed, the future direction it should take in light of the latest developments on the Continent and in the international arena was discussed, and the “TICAD Tenth Anniversary Declaration’ was produced. TICAD IV aimed to mobilize knowledge and resources of the international community in the core areas of: (a) Boosting Economic Growth, (b) Ensuring Human Security including achieving MDGs and consolidation of peace, and (c) Addressing environment/climate change issues.
While in Japan Mr. Gounden was invited to participate in a TV debate programme on 30 May 2008 called ‘New BS Debate’, which is a 100 minute monthly debate programme hosted by NHK – the Japanese National Broadcast Corporation. The title of this particular programme was “African Development – Listening to the Voices of Africa”, with the aim of discussing how the international community could and should contribute to the sustainable development of Africa. The main panel consisted of, among others, Madam Sadako Ogata, President of the Japan International Development Agency (JICA); Bono from U2; Mr. Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank; and the former African Union President and former President of Mozambique, H.E. President Joaquim Chissano (ACCORD awarded the Africa Peace Award to the Nation of Mozambique in 1997).
Mr. Gounden attended TICAD II in 1998 and ACCORD was represented at TICAD III in 2003. In preparation for TICAD IV a ministerial-level meeting on development in Africa was held in Libreville, Gabon, in March 2008, which was attended by Pravina Malan-Lakha, ACCORD’s General Manager: Operations and Business Development.