Strengthening International NGO Partnerships on Disaster Responses: Lessons from 3/11

Tokyo | November 19, 2013

Along with the Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC) and the Japan Platform (JPF), JCIE brought together more than 60 leaders from the NGO sector, private sector, and government to reflect on lessons learned from international partnerships formed during the wake of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and discuss concrete ways to strengthen these partnerships moving forward. The experiences of Japanese and overseas groups in the 3/11 response have demonstrated the importance of robust international partnerships between nonprofits in Japan and abroad. However, these partnerships have also faced major challenges that, in many cases, have required extraordinary efforts to overcome.

This gathering focused on what Japanese and Western NGOs and other organizations that are likely to respond to major humanitarian crises in the Asia Pacific can do to make coordination and cooperative efforts smoother and less time consuming. Participants also explored how governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders can help create a more conducive environment for international NGO partnerships in the future. Specifically, the 3/11 experiences hints that there are concrete steps that can be taken to lay the foundations for more effective international partnerships, such as funding and philanthropic practices, capacity building, and technical issues.

This meeting was made possible by support from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

Background Paper (Draft): “Strengthening International NGO Partnerships on Disaster Responses—Lessons from 3/11” [English | 日本語]

Yukie Osa, AAR Japan
Kiyoshi Murakami, AidTAKATA
Randy Martin, Mercy Corps

Atsuko Geiger, JCIE



Welcome Remarks

Ken Shibusawa, President & CEO, Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)

Session 1: Assessing NGOs’ Joint Work on 3/11—Setting the Stage
Preliminary findings from a Japan Platform survey of Japanese NGOs, a JANIC study of humanitarian assistance NGOs involved in the 3/11 response, and a JCIE study of Japanese and non-Japanese perspectives on international partnerships.

Moderator: Masashi Yamaguchi, Secretary General, Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC)

“Findings of the Japan Platform Survey of Japanese Humanitarian Assistance NGOs”
Noriyuku Shiina, Secretary General, Japan Platform

“Humanitarian NGOs and the Great East Japan Earthquake”
Makoto Tajima, Chief Coordinator, Taskforce for Disaster Response, Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC)

“Perspectives from Japanese Organizations on Partnering with Overseas NGOs”
James Gannon, Executive Director, JCIE/USA

“Overseas Perspectives on Partnering with Japanese NGOs”
Atsuko Geiger, Director of Operations, JCIE/USA

Session 2: Lessons for NGOs from 3/11
Japanese and Western NGOs learned a great deal from working with one another, and they also ran into challenges that have limited their ability to effectively partner with one another. How well did international NGO partnerships function in the 3/11 response and what can be done to make them more effective in the future? In other words, what worked? What didn’t?

Moderator: Hideko Katsumata, Executive Director & COO, JCIE

Keiko Kiyama, Co-Chair, Japan Platform; Secretary General, JEN (Japan Emergency NGO)

Shinko Tana, Program Officer, International Rescue Committee

Yoshinori Abe, Deputy Director, Disaster Relief and Recovery, Ishinomaki Social Welfare Council

Open Discussion

Session 3: Building the Foundations for International NGO Partnerships
What needs to be done to strengthen the foundations for more effective and sustainable partnerships between Japanese and Western NGOs on disaster responses and humanitarian crises? Can some of the innovative approaches used by NGOs partnering on the 3/11 response be replicated elsewhere? Also, what can government agencies and NGOs do to create better conditions for international NGO collaborations?

Moderator: James Gannon, Executive Director, JCIE/USA

Randy Martin, Director for Partnership Development—East Asia, Mercy Corps

José Pedro Ferrão, Executive Vice President, International Network, United Way Worldwide

Norio Ehara, Director, Non-governmental Organizations Cooperation Division, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Yukie Osa, President, AAR Japan

Open Discussion

Closing Remarks

Keiko Kiyama, Co-Chair, Japan Platform; Secretary General, JEN (Japan Emergency NGO)