In 2023, Japan assumes the G7 Presidency. More than 10 Ministerial Meetings will take place in Japan, and the G7 Summit will be held in Hiroshima. Various initiatives are being undertaken by cities to the G7, including the third annual U7 Mayors Summit, the most significant cities event in the framework of the G7 Summit. On 2 March 2023, city leaders from G7 countries gathered in Tokyo for the U7 Mayors Summit in hybrid. The city leaders discussed a vision for the role of cities as Japan assumes the G7 Presidency. The Mayors and Leaders of the Urban7 (U7) Group, applaud the G7’s unprecedented recognition of the Urban7, cities, sustainable urban development, and multilevel governance under Germany’s G7 Presidency in 2022. On the issues of climate change, mayors emphasise that local governments are at the forefront of addressing climate change emergencies and call on G7 countries (central governments) to recognise the important role of local governments in the sustainability agenda.
At the opening remarks, Kizo Hisamoto, Mayor of Kobe; Chair of Japan Designated Cities Mayors Association (JDCMA) expressed his condolences for the Turkish and Syrian earthquakes and the determination of the cities of the G7 countries to cooperate in the reconstruction efforts.
Katsuhiro Akimoto, Mayor of Sapporo, the host city of the G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy, and Environment, mentioned Sapporo’s responsibility for the climate change issues surrounding the world and introduced the city’s initiatives to achieve Zero Carbon by 2050.
During the plenary session, 14 mayors from 8 counties, including Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim, Germany; Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima, the host city of the G7 Summit Japan 2023; Daisaku Kadokawa, Mayor of Kyoto City and Hayato Shimizu, Mayor of Saitama City, both are Vice Chair of the JDCMA, spoke on the 2023 U7 Mayors Declaration, either in the hall or via online. In addition, Kobe Mayor Hisamoto explained the main purpose of the Joint Declaration, and statements were also made by the C7, T7, Y7, and other organizations.
After the summit, the Joint Declaration was handed over to the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and the Cabinet Office. On 9 March, Kobe Mayor Hisamoto also handed over the Declaration to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It is hoped that the summit will reaffirm the role of cities and strengthen their commitment to sustainability and climate change. The U7 aims to be part of the official engagement group, where G7 countries listen to their input on the preparation of joint statements for a summit or other meetings of heads of state.
Dr. Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim, Germany, and Chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors said, “I am pleased with the process, which is now in its third year, and will continue to work together closely to ensure that the interests of local government are addressed by all relevant ministries and heads of state. The Urban7 is a process, not an end goal.”
ICLEI’s Japanese member local governments’ initiatives towards the G7
- ‘KANKYO HIROBA HOKKAIDO 2023’ will be held at Sapporo Dome on the same day as the Ministers’ Meeting as a commemorative event for the G7 Sapporo Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy, and Environment on 15-16 April, and the online also will be held at the same time as the real events.
- An Environmental Report Exhibition where companies and organizations in the city publish their Environmental Reports, which summaries their environmental efforts in their business activities, in order to deepen understanding and further promote environmental conservation action. In 2023, the exhibition will be held online utilizing the City of Sapporo’s official website and the Sapporo Zero Carbon Promotion Network website and will be open until the end of June.
- The Citizens Council for the Hiroshima Summit, a public-private organization in Hiroshima Prefecture was established in July 2022, in preparation for the summit meeting of G7 to be held in Hiroshima City in May 2023.
The Citizens Council for Hiroshima Summit is organizing a ‘Clean-Up Campaign‘ in cooperation with Hiroshima Prefecture, the City of Hiroshima, and other local governments, companies, and organizations to create a prefecture-wide welcoming momentum for the G7 Hiroshima Summit.
The G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Sustainable Urban Development will be held from 7-9, July in Takamatsu, Kagawa. It will be led by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan (MLIT). The official website for the event is available at KAGAWA TAKAMATSU | Sustainable Urban Development Ministers’ Meeting
Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan | G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy, and Environment in Sapporo