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Information related to local government activities

Low carbon development in Asia

Asia is responsible for the world's economic growth, and by 2050, Asia is predicted to account for approximately 50% of the world's GDP, energy, and CO2 emissions. Various environmental problems accompanying the growth of cities must soon be resolved so that future generations can inherit a comfortable and sustainable society.

To achieve this goal, stakeholders in Japan must utilize their environmental technologies, systems, and know-how, use the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM), and collaborate to provide comprehensive support for development of cities with low carbon emissions.

Low carbon city development by local government

Promotion of advanced policies by local governments, involvement of local residents, corporations, and organizations, and good governance are essential for low carbon development at the city level. Numerous cities in Asia, including those in Japan, are engaged in various efforts to develop low carbon cities.

Local government policies related to development of cities with low carbon emissions.

Through local government policies and systems, low carbon technology will take root in communities and contribute to low carbon city development.

Involvement of and partnerships with local residents, firms, and organizations

Framework for Japan's support

In addition to the local government platform, corporations and research institutions are working to create other platforms to facilitate the effective transfer of Japan's technologies, systems, and know-how and to foster collaboration so that various stakeholders in Japan can collaborate together.

Programs supporting international cooperation and overseas expansion by local government

International networks
Collaboration by and cooperation of local governments

Local governments are connecting to their counterparts overseas, summarizing the viewpoints of local governments, and collecting and disseminating information to promote policy implementation by local governments.

In addition, these networks seek to enhance collaboration and cooperation among local governments through the implementation of various programs to tackle common problems.

Activities of typical organizations of which Japan's local governments are a member or which are organized by Japan's local governments are presented here.

ICLEI-Local governments for Sustainability

With the UNEP's support, this international association of leading local governments was established in 1990 to tackle global environmental problems. ICLEI is the largest network of local governments in the world, with membership of 1,000 local governments in 83 countries worldwide. ICLEI has local offices in 15 locations, including Japan, and it works with local governments in different regions.

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40)

This group consists of 40 megacities such as London, New York, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Jakarta that are enacting measures to address climate change. C40 works to promote reduction of GHG emissions and to enact measures to address climate change in member cities by leadership and commitment of leaders and by exchanging information on specific policies at the implementer level.

Asian Network of Major Cities 21

Spurred by the City of Tokyo, this international network was founded in 2001 at the joint behest of Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, and Tokyo. ANMC21 has increased the significance of Asia in the international community by enhancing collaboration of capital cities and major cities in Asia. ANMC21 aims to tackle issues common to cities (such as environmental measures, promotion of industry, and crisis management) and it seeks to link the results of these efforts to development of the Asian region.

Citynet (the Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements)

Founded in 1987, Citynet is an organization for international cooperation that seeks to address and resolve urban problems in the Asia Pacific region and to improve the living conditions of city residents. Citynet’s principal efforts are in areas such as the environment (solid waste management, water, and sanitation), infrastructure, and disaster prevention. Citynet dispatches and receives experts and it fosters technological cooperation between cities primarily through C2C (City-to-City) relationships. 131 organizations (cities, organizations, etc.) from 24 countries or regions are now members of Citynet. (As of March 2013) Citynet’s General Council is in the City of Seoul, South Korea.

The City of Kitakyushu's international environmental networks

Environmental Working Group of the Organization for the East Asia Economic Development The OEAED consists of 10 cities located around the Yellow Sea in Japan, China, and South Korea. The OEAED seeks to foster a Yellow Sea Economic Zone through economic and personnel exchanges. In order to facilitate sustainable development in countries around the Yellow Sea, the Environmental Working Group is promoting industry-academia-government collaboration to conduct seminars, and to create a database of leading environmental information, and to build capacity in countries around the Yellow Sea.

The Organization for Environmental Cooperation among Asian Cities In order to more efficiently manage personnel exchanges and conduct of the Seminar for Betterment of the Environment by the Asian Environmental Cooperation Network (founded by the City of Kitakyushu and 6 cities in 4 countries of Southeast Asia) and the Kitakyushu Initiative Network (173 cities in 19 countries), the OECAC was founded in February 2010 to facilitate the restructuring of those 2 networks and to transfer technology to achieve low carbon emissions to other countries in Asia.

Reference information Overseas expansion of and international cooperation by local governments

Manuals & research reports

Advanced Environmental Measures Taken by Local Governments (Case Reports)

To develop a low-carbon city, each local government is required to take initiatives in solving individual issues in the areas of natural environment, industries, lifestyles and others in a continuous manner. Important factors are not only technological introduction, but also policy development to solve the issues, cooperation among stakeholders, education and community involvement. This section introduces the experience and success factors of Japanese local governments to serve as useful examples for other local governments in Asia, taking actions for low-carbon city development.

Kitakyushu City - Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society

Since the 1990s, Kitakyushu City has made shift in its municipal solid waste management from conventional disposal processes to a more integrated and circular approach that promote 3Rs (reuse, reduce and recycle). While improving infrastructures for waste recycling technologies, the city has taken various measures including fee-based garbage bag collection and community education. Thorough the strategic policy planning and actions, the city has achieved targeted number of waste reduction and developed a sound material-cycle community which makes effective use of limited resources and energy.

Kumamoto City - Groundwater Conservation and Tap Water Management

Among Japanese cities with a population of 700,000 or more, Kumamoto City is the only city where almost all of its water supply is from groundwater. In order to maintain the stable grandwater system, the city has taken initiatives in broad-based cooperation with neighboring municipalities and related farming operators, forest concervation and citizen participatory water saving movement. The city also has taken thorough water management measures to conserve water quality. Through these initiatives, the city has made an effort to maintain stable water supply for the public by utilizing natural systems.

International City-to-City Cooperation toward Low-Carbon City Development

Various forms of city-to-city cooperation in Asia are possible in the area of the environment. This section introduces examples of on-going city-to-city cooperation and utilization of schemes mainly in relation to local goverments participating in large-scale JCM feasibility study projects.

Osaka City - From Exchanges in the Areas of Economy and Environment to Support for Low-Carbon City Development

Osaka City has made an effort to promote exchanges in culture, sports, human resources, economy and other areas with cities in different countries through various partnerships including sister/friendship cities and business partner cities. Especially, the city has emphasized exchanges with strongly growing Asian cities as one of the pillars of its economic growth strategy.

Osaka City affiliated with Ho Chi Minh City as a business partner city in May 1997. The city has performed various exchange projects in economy, environment and other areas and deepened the relationship. Through the exchanges, the city recognized how rapid urbanization and economic growth caused a serious environmental burden in Ho Chi Minh City. In July 2011, the city executed the Memorandum of Understanding for a partnership in main areas (economic relations, environment and water management). Utilizing support schemes provided by the Ministry of Environment, Japan, JICA and other organizations and receiving cooperation from research institutions and private companies in the city, the city has dispatched technological research groups, accepted trainees and held workshops including policy dialogues.

In addition, from fiscal year 2013, the city conducted a feasibility study project to evaluate the possibilities for implementing large-scale JCM projects, with the cooperation of the Global Environment Centre Foundation. As both cities established a cooperative system including crossover organizations, they signed the “Memorandum of Understanding on Developing a Low-Carbon City between Ho Chi Minh City and Osaka City” in October 2013. The Memorandum of Understanding determined to “formulate a climate action plan in Ho Chi Minh City,” “hold a mayor-level policy dialogue” and “implement private-public projects.” The city expanded the range of the cooperation from waste and water and sewerage works in the past to low-carbon city development including energy saving and transportation, resulting in more comprehensive, continous cooperation.

Kitakyushu City - From International Environmental Cooperation to Support for Promotion of Green Cities

Kitakyushu City experienced serious environmental pollution in the 1960s. Then, citizens, industry, research institutions and public administration worked in partnership to overcome the problem. Since 1970, the city had improved its environment dramatically as it achieved economic growth.

The momentum was increased to make use of the technologies and know-how overseas that were acquired through overcoming the pollution. In 1980, Kitakyushu International Techno-Cooperative Association (KITA) was established as an organization to implement international training regarding environmental technologies. After the establishment of KITA, the city promoted technical exchanges with Dalian, China, one of its friendship cities. The city worked with JICA Kitakyushu International Center and achieved great results in the Dalian Environmental Model Zone Project. The city built a network organization of cities in Southeast Asia and took other activities to deepen exchanges with Asian cities. The city utilized funds provided by JICA or other organizations to implement technical cooperation.

Based on the know-how accumulated through environmental technical cooperation for these Asian cities, the “Kitakyushu City Eco-Model City Action Plan” was formulated in 2009. In this plan, the city set out the targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% city-wide and by 150% throughout the Asian region at the same time by the end of 2050. The city opened Kitakyushu Asian Center for Low-Carbon Society as an organization to promote various projects in the Asian region with cooperation with private companies. The city has worked on various projects toward vitalization of local economies and low-carbon societies in Asia. The city signed the Environmental Sister City Agreement with Surabaya City (Indonesia) in November 2012. The city also executed the Sister City Agreement with Hai Phong City (Vietnam) in 2014 and upgraded their previous friendly cooperative relations. The city participates in large-scale JCM feasibility study projects and is providing support for these cities to formulate comprehensive plans toward creating low-carbon cities.

Kyoto City - International Cooperation through Initiatives as an Old Capital and Environmental City

Taking the great opportunities of the Third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) and the birth of the Kyoto Protocol in December 1997, Kyoto City has promoted initiatives toward prevention of global warming. Based on characters of traditional culture and being an old capital city, the city regards the following elements as important pillars of the initiatives; the pursuit of living in harmony with rich nature and eco-friendly lifestyles utilizing citizen's/area's capability.

Environmental education as a part of the initiatives has received attention from other Asian cities, resulting in city-to-city cooperation. The city was requested by the Iskandar Development Region in Malaysia to benefit from the Children's Eco Life Challenge (environmental education program for primary schools) in Kyoto, as the Region formulated a low-carbon city action plan to be performed with support from JICA and other organizations. Upon the request, the city has supported the initiative in the Region. The “Japan-China Environmental Technology Information Plaza” to be opened in 2015 in Beijing, China is modeled after “Miyako Ecology Center,” a hub for environmental education in Kyoto City. The city cooperates to provide know-how about operating facilities, fostering volunteers and others.

As a large-scale JCM feasibility study project, the city has cooperated with Vientiane Capital City (Laos), an old capital with rich cultural assets, provided its experience and know-how about promoting use of electric cars, managing waste and others and supported development as a low-carbon old capital.