During a national forum held in Yokohama representatives of 93 local authorities from across Japan pledged to work on U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and forge ahead with regional revitalisation, at the major national event for local government held in the city in Kanagawa Prefecture
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) is a set of international development goals from 2016 to 2030, which was adopted by the UN Sustainable Development Summit held in September 2015 building on the success of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In the words of one mayor at the gathering in Yokohama on January 30th “We are thinking globally and acting locally.” The event underlined SDGs being a major topic on the agenda across the country in the public sector focusing on the role of civic institutions in national industrial strategy within local communities.
The participants adopted a declaration on the “SDGs Japan model,” which aims to promote cooperation with the residents of their communities in seeking to solve societal challenges.
The forum titled “SDGs All Japan Meeting 2019” was hosted by Kanagawa prefectural government with the joint-sponsorship of Yokohama and Kamakura city authorities, both also within in the prefecture.
During various panel discussion, leaders of local authorities talked about how their respective self-governing bodies are working strategically to pursue SDGs.
Hiroko Kuniya, the well-known Japanese news presenter and journalist, moderated the opening session, with the governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, leading the national forum, and the mayors of four cities that are actively committed to SDGs served as panellists.
Discussions in other panels focused on social problems facing all regions, such as population decline and super-aging, which are becoming increasingly challenging. Aiming to solve these problems, many local authorities, private companies and civil organisations now cooperate in SDGs business, and Japan will become an SDGs developed country which wants to make a contribution to the international community.
As a recent major focus of Japanese local government activity the number of participating organisations has nearly quadrupled from the initial number of 450 to over 1700 in the space of a few years. The event showed the high level of interest in SDGs amongst local authorities. The major theme of the forum, which consisted of nine panels in four sessions, was the launch of the specific “SDGs Japan Model” declaration on behalf of the attending local government participants.
The promotion of SDGs in which residents play a leading role in partnerships that transcend gender across generations is a key objective of discussions at the event and plans to be implemented by local authorities.
They echo the SDGs action plan promoted by the central government, and are the core of the “All Japan’s SDGs Initiative” announced by the Abe administration at the High-Level Political Forum held in July 2018.
SDGs National Forum 2019 gathered stakeholders together to deepen understanding of SDGs and aim for further implementation as well as raising the public profile of such initiatives. Future planned fora will continue to relay information to the public and encourage further discussion and involvement.
A more detailed synopsis of the event and the panel discussion highlighting the debate in Japan can be found here (link)