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International Environment Cooperation and Business, utilizing the city to city collaboration

Kitakyushu has priority goals such as Goal 5 (Gender Equality), Goal 6 (Water and Sanitation), Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production) and Goal 17 (partnership) etc., and they are also the strength of the city. In this report, Goal 17 (partnership) among them is focused on, especially "International Environmental Contribution (International Environmental Cooperation and International Environmental Business), that the city has been working since long years ago.

Objective of the practice

Aspiring to be a World Capital of Sustainable Development, Kitakyushu is leveraging the city’s achievements, including its experiences in overcoming pollution and developing the Eco-Town project to promote international cooperation in the field of the environment. The city has built a formidable reputation in both Japan and abroad, including the distinction of being selected by OECD as the first “green growth city” in Asia.
Sustainable development is now more crucial as environmental impacts around the world have become more severe and environmental issues have grown more apparent with the economic development of Asian countries.
To resolve these problems, Kitakyushu promotes the export of urban environmental infrastructure and in other areas to improve the environment in Asia by taking advantage of its experiences, know-how, and networks with other countries.

Key stakeholders and partnerships

-World Bank
-More than 160 countries that have been engaged in international environmental cooperation
-75 Asian cities collaborating in environmental international business (*1)
-Ministry of the Environment of Japan
-Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan
-JICA (The Japan International Cooperation Agency)
-NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization)
-IGES (The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies)
-KITA (The Kitakyushu International Techno-cooperative Association)
-Related Japanese companies with environmental and water infrastructure technologies
(*1) Includes “the Environment Sister City”, that is specified into the environment field, the Kitakyushu’s original partnership.

Implementation of the Project/Activity

For example, in the field of international environment cooperation, Kitakyushu has achieved a significant track record in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for many years through the implementation of technical cooperation including the dispatch of experts and acceptance of trainees. It resulted in the significant improvement of people's lives by reducing high non-revenue water ratio (leakage/stealing) -72% in 1993 to 8% in 2006, and realizing 24-hour supply of drinkable tap water. This achievement is called "a miracle of Phnom Penh".
In Surabaya, Indonesia, in order to achieve a reduction in waste, which has become a major issue in cities in developing countries, Kitakyushu implemented a composting project for organic waste in households and communities. A composting method developed in cooperation with a local company in Kitakyushu has been expanded to 20,000 households and significantly contributed to local waste reduction and improvement of sanitation.
In the field of international environment business, the City of Kitakyushu concluded the sister city partnership with the City of Hai Phong, Viet Nam and based on this, Kitakyushu supported to formulate "Green Growth Promotion Plan" that covers whole urban environment management, according to the request from Hai Phong. This plan consists of 7 fields, such as waste management, Energy Management, Water Management, Transport Management and Green Production etc., and includes 15 pilot projects that is aiming to be realized by 2020.
These projects are being conducted now. 
In Davao, Philippines, the amount of waste is increasing with the expansion of economic activity, and the reduction of waste into final disposal site is an urgent issue. Kitakyushu city is investigating the possibility of introduction of "waste power generation facility", which utilizes the JCM framework based on the environmental sister city partnership to try to reduce waste and produce energy from the waste simultaneously.
In Mandalay, Myanmar, Kitakyushu is conducting investigations to solve problems by utilizing JCM (Joint Crediting Mechanism) in two fields, such as the waste management field (introduction of waste disposal facility to realize appropriate management of urban solid waste), which Mandalay takes a deep interest in, and the energy field (energy conservation for large scale facilities and introduction of renewable energy)) where CO2 emission reduction effect can be expected.


Environmental international cooperation: Have accepted more than 9000 trainees from 165 countries and dispatched 199 experts to 25 countries
Environmental International Business: Have done 156 environmental projects in 57 cities in Asia (Chiang Mai City of Thailand, Davao City of Philippines, Hai Phong City of Vietnam, Phnom Penh City of Cambodia etc.)
The total project amount so far exceeds 10 billion yen.

Enabling factors and constraints

Kitakyushu City is promoting efforts of international environmental business by utilizing the framework of JCM (= Joint Credit Mechanism), which includes financial support from national government, promoted by Ministry of the Environment of Japan based on the city to city collaboration. For example, the support to formulate the "Green Growth Promotion Plan" in Haiphong City, Vietnam was conducted in this JCM framework. The existence of such financial framework and the utilization of it are the important enabling factors.
Besides, it is also an enabling factor to be able to provide "high-quality infrastructure" by providing support from upstream processes such as city planning.
In addition, the plan includes 15 pilot projects to solve the problem of Hai Phong City, and many technologies in Kitakyushu city are utilized in these projects. For example, in the project to introduce EV bus to Cat Ba Island in Hai Phong City, the technology of company in Kitakyushu city is implemented on the EV bus. It is also an enabling factor that such technology can be procured.
Furthermore, administrative aspects such as securing financial resources for introducing the EV bus and measures to ban diesel-vehicles on the island are also subjects. City of Kitakyushu has provided administrative advices to the City of Hai Phong.
It is also an enabling factor to support by city to city collaboration.

Sustainability and replicability


City of Kitakyushu has been promoting environmental international cooperation to contribute to the development of developing countries including the Asian region based on the technology and know-how cultivated through overcoming pollution.
Since 1980, we have received over 9000 trainees from 165 countries for nearly 40 years, providing technologies such as environment, water supply and sewerage, fire fighting etc.
We also dispatch experts from Kitakyushu to overseas cities and also provide technical support.
In 2010, we established the "Kitakyushu Asian Center for Low Carbon Society" that contributes to environmental improvement in the Asian region by taking advantage of the city's environmental technology, and utilizing the network cultivated through international environment cooperation, it is leading to the international environment business.
177 projects in 75 cities in 15 countries were conducted, the total amount of the projects exceeds 10 billion yen.
The examples of the projects are as the followings.
-Garbage composting project in Surabaya City, Indonesia
-Support for planning on green city in Hai Phong City, Vietnam
-Support for planning climate change in Phnom Penh City, Cambodia
-Support for introducing waste power generation in Davao City, Philippines
-Soil contamination purification in Dalian, China
-PM 2.5 improvement cooperation with 6 cities in China
Also in the water supply and drainage field, Technical support for Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and Vietnam (Hai Phong) is progressing.
Under these circumstances, the 2030 agenda is adopted by the United Nations in 2015.
Then SDGs, the creation of a sustainable society, has become a common language in the world.
In July 2018, the mayor of Kitakyushu participated in the SDGs international conference "High Level Political Forum" held at the United Nations headquarters upon request from the Japanese government and UN agencies. This is the first participation as Japan's mayor.
At the "Local and Regional Government Forum" where about 30 mayors (includes the mayors of the capital in several countries) attended, mayor of Kitakyushu made presentation of Kitakyushu’s SDGs activities. It was only Kitakyushu that made a presentation from the Asian region. The mayor announced that SDGs will be realized from the region by utilizing Kitakyushu's strengths such as citizen's power, energy, water and sewer, international contribution, culture, these are cultivated through overcoming pollution, and these movement should be spread to the Asia and the world.
The mayor felt the importance of local governments in the international community in the future. We believe that the international contribution to overseas cities developed by Kitakyushu will become more and more important in the future.

Other sources of information


Goal 17
Other, please specify
Financing, Cooperation, Capacity-Building, City to City Collaboration, Technology
Basic information
Start: 01 January, 1980
Completion: 31 December, 1969
Ongoing? no
Asia and Pacific
Geographical Coverage
International Environment Cooperation: Over 165 countries International Environment Business: 75 cities in Asia (Chiang Mai City of Thailand, Davao City of Philippines, Hai Phong City of Vietnam, Phnom Penh City of Cambodia etc.)
General Affairs Division, Environment Bureau, City of Kitakyushu
Type: Government
Contact information
Yoshifumi Ogawa, Assistant manager, yoshifumi_ogawa01@city.kitakyushu.lg.jp, +81-93-582-2173
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United Nations