– Greeting Message –
Prof. Dr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Chair of ICLEI Japan
On behalf of ICLEI Japan, I am honored to celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. I would like to express our sincere thanks to those who have extended their kind support over the years.
The role of local governments was highlighted as an essential vehicle to promote actions in addressing global environmental issues and realizing a sustainable society in the “Agenda 21,” an action plan adopted at the Rio Summit in 1992.
Currently, ICLEI Japan has a membership of 25 cities and local governments, and we have developed a variety of activities in addressing global environment and in realizing a sustainable future by learning lessons from ICLEI global network members and disseminating information on the activities made by our members.
In recent years, global environmental issues have grown significantly both in quality and quantity, and it is urgent to take action for integrated solutions by addressing economic and social issues at the same time. In particular, as the Paris Agreement has come into effect, many countries around the world have pledged their carbon neutrality by 2050 or around and have been committed to more ambitious target levels of their GHG emission reduction. Local governments are expected to play a leading role in achieving these targets.
At the same time, local governments are also expected to take the lead in achieving the goals under the “Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Global Framework,” which was adopted at COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2022. Under these circumstances, it is essential to collaborate with many stakeholders, including citizens and private business sectors in realizing a sustainable society in the future.
As the international community has changed dynamically towards realizing a decarbonized and sustainable society, ICLEI Japan will continue to commit itself to taking necessary actions to achieve these goals together with our network colleagues and stakeholders.
I wish a further development of our activities with your continued support and guidance.
Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, Iowa, USA, ICLEI Global President
Over the last three decades, ICLEI Japan Office has established itself as an indispensable ally to both the Government of Japan, which is showing true global leadership on decarbonization and sustainability, and local governments across the country.
As ICLEI President and Mayor of the U.S. city of Des Moines, Iowa, I congratulate ICLEI Japan’s milestone 30th year and recount several successes on its journey. The office’s dedicated staff have been instrumental in facilitating a strong U.S.-Japan partnership around the Zero Carbon Cities International Forum — and ensuring that going on 1,000 Japanese cities are reaching toward zero carbon by 2050. This partnership is strengthened further under the G7 Japanese Presidency, which formally recognized the Urban7 engagement group and the importance of multilevel action to address the climate emergency.
Finally, my own city of Des Moines has benefited from a long relationship with our sister city, Kōfu, in Yamanashi Prefecture, and I look forward to local governments in our two countries continuing to learn from each other’s decarbonization efforts. In the decades to come, ICLEI Japan Office will be a dedicated partner to our shared mission to create a safe, environmentally secure world where everyone thrives.
Gino Van Begin, ICLEI Secretary General
I would like to congratulate ICLEI Japan Office for achieving its 30th anniversary of promoting sustainability at local level in Japan. ICLEI Japan Office, as one of the first country offices of ICLEI, has played a vital role in consolidating the voices of the Japanese local government in the global sustainability agenda and promoting actions on the ground.
Local governments in Japan have long been active in environmental protection and climate actions. Together with its unique challenges and vulnerabilities to natural and climate-related hazards, Japan continues to provide valuable and practical solutions to the rest of the world.
Today, I am happy to know that hundreds of local governments in Japan are already equipped with Adaptation and Mitigation Plan and have also declared that they will become Zero Carbon by 2050. It is also encouraging to know that thousands of local governments are promoting SDGs and many others with Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan.
As the world is facing a triple planetary crisis, global climate emergency, biodiversity loss, and pollution, I cannot overemphasize the importance of local governments taking actions and providing solutions through collaboration with other local governments and stakeholders. I believe Japan, with its rich experience, can continuously lead and contribute to the sustainability of the world.
Personally, I have always enjoyed visiting Japan and the rich culture that Japan possesses. I am honored and happy that I am able to work together with the leading local governments of Japan and I would like to conclude by wishing ICLEI Japan Office for its continued success and further growth.