The Marshall Islands and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement last month for the third phase of a Marshall Islands and Pacific regional solid waste program to move into gear.
The program is officially known as the Project for Promotion of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management in Pacific Island Countries Phase 3 (J-PRISM3).
RMI Environmental Protection Authority General Manager Moriana Phillip and JICA Resident Representative Hikoyuki Ukai signed the new agreement.
The aim of the agreement is promotion of international cooperation by supporting the socioeconomic development and economic stability of developing regions.
In the RMI, JICA contributes to waste disposal, health and sanitation, and education. JICA comes in by providing assistance with a focus on controlling the generation of waste and maintaining lifelines such as electric power, water systems, transportation, and communication.
After negotiations between the RMI and JICA, with consideration for RMI’s priority needs, the following was agreed: Identifying viable measures to improve the sustainability of “3R+Return” — collect and domestically reuse/repurpose or return — of target waste streams.
This may entail the strengthening of legal, institutional and financial capability and other measures to be prepared through a feasibility study, trial-pilot activity, or training of people of relevant programs.
The Phase 3 of the regional project for self-sustaining solid waste management and 3R+Return will start beginning next month and continue for five years.
At the signing, Phillip recognized JICA as an important counterpart in the J-PRISM3 project.
In related JICA developments, there is big news for Marshall Islands public schools and the Ministry of Health and Human Services: Japan volunteers will start returning to RMI later this month after a three-year gap.
Recently arrived Makoto Watanabe is the new Japan International Cooperation Agency Volunteer Coordinator at the Majuro JICA office. His arrival was the precursor to JICA volunteers returning to work in RMI public schools and at the hospitals.
JICA Majuro official Yoshiki Narita told the Journal Monday this week that the first two will arrive later in March. Both “senior” volunteers with extensive experience in their fields, one will be assigned to the Public School System headquarters as a math advisor and trainer. The other, a senior volunteer nurse, will work at Majuro hospital — on her fifth tour of duty in the RMI.
Later in the summer, the first four regular volunteers for schools and the hospital will arrive to begin working. JICA volunteers have been focused in the past in teaching math in public elementary schools and working in Majuro and Ebeye hospitals.
Once Covid struck worldwide in early 2020, JICA returned all volunteers to Japan.