In recognition of the important role of science and technology for sustainable development, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan has contributed UNESCO in the form of the Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) in order to strengthen UNESCO activities in the field of science in Asia and the Pacific region since the 1970’s.

Over the years, it has supported important activities in areas of science capacity building and intergovernmental science programmes, including Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, International Hydrological Programme (IHP), Science and Technology Policy, and Engineering Science Programme in the region.

The programme successfully conducted and produced tangible outcomes such as the development of the Pacific MAB network, the IHP Nagoya Training Course, the Biotechnology Training Course, and the Science and Technology Camps for Children.

In 2007, MEXT introduced a new method for scientific fields related to JFIT. It selected “Global Challenges” as the programme focus, and established the “JFIT for Scientific Programmes on Global Challenges in Asia and the Pacific Region.”

This new JFIT scheme aims at providing assistance to the implementation of activities in the field of natural sciences, and special attention should be given to activities relating to water resources, their associated ecosystems, marine sciences and international basic sciences which have been selected as principal priority in this fields, as well as to human resources development in the field through regional co-operation underlining a catalytic role for the member states of UNESCO in the region.