UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Japan on July 17 pledged US$1 billion (S$1.37 billion) over the next two years to back the United Nations' development agenda, raising its profile as one of the world's largest foreign aid donors.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a meeting at the UN that the funding will go to help children and youth worldwide, in particular to promote education, health, disaster response and gender equality.
The announcement provided a boost to the UN as it seeks to build support for its sustainable development goals (SDGs) that call for ending extreme poverty by 2030, among other objectives.
UN humanitarian aid agencies are facing a funding crisis as they struggle to cope with growing demands from world crises while the United States is threatening deep cuts to its financial support for the world body.
"Today, I am pleased to announce that the government of Japan commits to provide one billion dollars of assistance by 2018," Mr Kishida told a meeting on implementing the SDGs.
Foreign ministry spokesman Norio Murayama said the funding will combine multilateral and bilateral aid.