CityNet Yokohama Project Office E-News: December 2023

I. Y-SHIP 2023/12th Asia Smart City Conference

The City of Yokohama hosted the 12th Asia Smart City Conference (ASCC) in PACIFICO Yokohama North from 13th to 15th November 2023 as part of “Y-SHIP 2023,” an international convention focused open innovation by attracting both domestic and international organizations and private companies especially in the green transformation (GX) field. With the cooperation of international organizations such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and CITYNET, many people from Japan and overseas, including the leaders of 44 overseas cities and organizations, gathered in Yokohama. The main theme of this year’s ASCC was Asian cities together towards Zero Carbon.  The conference consisted of thematic sessions on decarbonization, smart cities, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Voluntary Local Review (VLR), which highlighted the experiences and best practices of CITYNET member cities as well as policy recommendations to build sustainable smart cities. Moreover, it included a business networking event, focusing on strengthening public-private partnership on urban development projects in Asian cities. With the endorsement of Asian city leaders and international organizations, the Mayor of Yokohama and the Governor of Bangkok jointly issued the Yokohama Declaration. More information can be found here.

 

II. CITYNET SDGs CLUSTER SEMINAR

Group photo with CITYNET members and speakers

On 15th November, the CITYNET SDGs Cluster Seminar was conducted, with the aim of promoting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through city networks, starting with Voluntary Local Review (VLR). CITYNET members, international organizations, private companies and academic institutions introduced their SDGs and decarbonization initiatives. We were pleased that about 120 people from 20 cities and organizations attended the seminar in person, and 30 more participated online. The seminar included simultaneous interpretation between Japanese and English. A recording of the seminar will be available at a later date.

At the opening of the seminar, the students of Yokohama Minatomiraihoncho Elementary School delighted the audience with their SDGs-themed school song “Colorful Future,” which they created themselves last year. The representative students introduced their thoughts on the SDGs in their school song before their performance. On behalf of the organizers, Mr. Hirotoshi Shiro, Deputy Mayor of the City of Yokohama gave the opening speech for the seminar. He expressed the City of Yokohama’s desire to continue cooperating with the CityNet members, international organizations, academic institutions and businesses to overcome global challenges together and create a hopeful future. After that, Ms. Sanjeevani Singh, an Economic Affairs Officer from UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Committee for Asia and the Pacific) delivered the keynote speech highlighting Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). Her presentation was very informative, including the importance of localizing the SDGs, the benefits of VLRs, the ESCAP support scheme, and so on.

Seminar Highlights

Performance by Minatomiraihoncho Elementary School Students

Opening Speech by Mr. Hirotoshi Shiro, Deputy Mayor of Yokohama

Keynote Speech by Ms. Sanjeevani Singh, UNESCAP

During SDGs initiatives presentation session, representatives from CITYNET member cities including Yokohama, Kuala Lumpur, and Da Nang showcased their efforts towards the SDGs and decarbonization. Mr. Takuya Endo from the Climate Change Policy Headquarters of Yokohama City introduced the initiatives of the “Y-SDGs,” which won the 2nd CityNet-ESCAP SDG City Award, and Ms. Xuanxuan Kumazawa from the World Horticultural Exhibition Promotion Division of Yokohama City introduced “GREEN x EXPO 2027” to be held in Yokohama. Y-SDGs is a certification system by the City of Yokohama for companies and organizations in and outside the city that are actively working toward achieving the SDGs. There were also presentations on efforts by two private companies that have obtained the Supreme certification of Y-SDGs, Ishii Zouen Landscape Co., Ltd. and JFE Engineering Corporation. Ms. Nor Nazariah binti Kamardin from the Administration Department of Kuala Lumpur City, which serves as the lead city of the SDGs Cluster, gave a presentation on the process of formulating its VLR and an analysis of its SDG initiatives. In addition, Mr. Le Minh Tuong from the Department of Planning and Investment of Da Nang City introduced the progress of VLR formulation in Da Nang City, which Yokohama and ESCAP are currently supporting. The presentation materials of the presenters can be found here until 31st January, 2024.

The seminar concluded with a discussion session with moderator Ms. Yatsuka Kataoka from Institute of Global Environmental Studies (IGES), presenters, CITYNET members such as Baguio, Colombo, Makassar, Santa Rosa, United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) and private companies. The moderator initiated the discussion by asking questions to the partcipating members on two topics  (1) VLR/review process and how to utilize the results, and (2) collaboration between actors on SDGs. The discussion concluded with positive outcomes including encouraging statements from government representatives and others expressing a commitment to start tracking SDGs implementation. There was a collective call to gather, learn and support each other for a “Colorful Future.” The SDGs cluster seminar successfully concluded with closing remarks by Ms. Rumi Kurita, the head of the CITYNET Yokohama Project Office (CYO).

 

III. NETWORKING FOR CITYNET MEMBERS

The Networking session for CITYNET members was conducted face-to-face on 14th November with MC Mr. Chris Di Gennaro from the CITYNET secretariat, aiming for valuable networking and relationship-building. 28 participants from 13 cities and organizations attended this session (8 CITYNET member cities: Baguio, Colombo, Iloilo, Khulna, Kuala Lumpur, Makassar, Santa Rosa and Yokohama).

 The session started with the opening remarks of Mr. Norio Tomioka, Executive Director of Development Cooperation of the City of Yokohama, highlighting the significance of strengthening the relationships among CITYNET members. Participants casually introduced themselves and exchanged their opinions while enjoying refreshments. After that, a feedback presentation based on the results of questionnaire on SDGs was made by Ms. Akiko Yamakoshi, Director of Project Administration, CYO. In the questionnaire, CITYNET members were asked about the state of initiatives related to SDGs as well as the challenges they are facing. The results of the questionnaire can be seen here until 31st January, 2024. The session successfully concluded with closing remarks by Mr. Bohyun Kim from the CITYNET secretariat, introducing CityNet’s planned activities for 2024.

 

IV. YOKOHAMA STUDY TOURS

On 13th November, more than 100 people from invited cities and organizations participated in a tour of urban infrastructure facilities in Yokohama. Tour-A explored the advanced business district of Minato Mirai 21 (A1: Promotion of Green Energy, A2: R&D Hub and Liveliness, A3: Eco-friendly MICE and PPP), designated as a “Decarbonization Leading Area” by the Government of Japan. Meanwhile, Tour-B focused on environmental infrastructure facilities managed by the City of Yokohama, specifically the Hokubu Sludge Treatment Plant, a wastewater treatment and sludge recycling facility in Tsurumi ward.

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2023.12.11

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