The 12th Asian-Pacific City Summit, which was held from Aug. 1 to 3 in Fukuoka, concluded successfully with representatives from 32 cities in 16 countries from the region participating.
The summit was created by the city of Fukuoka in 1994 for cities in the region to build an intercity network for sharing urban problems and solutions.
In addition to the biennial mayors summit hosted by one of the participating cities in turns, working-level conferences have also been held 10 times since the summit was founded.
The summit was co-hosted by the city of Fukuoka and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (U.N. Habitat) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Fukuoka, an agency specializing in community development. Fukuoka’s community development, which is said to be “compact and easily livable,” is taken up as good practice in the U.N. Habitat’s “International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning.”
In the opening address at the Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk hotel, Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima expressed his delight at the return of the summit to its birthplace after 16 years. He also welcomed visitors from home and abroad who gathered to take part in two other international conferences on urban development that were taking place concurrently in the city — the Global Symposium on Urban and Territorial Planning and the Meeting on Spatial Planning Platform.
He stressed that this summit, attended by participants from organizations such as the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and enterprises that boast cutting-edge technologies and products, would provide an opportunity to discuss urban problems in greater detail than ever and propose concrete solutions.
On the first day, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of U.N. Habitat and Toshio Arima, representative director of Global Compact Network Japan, a platform for corporate social responsibility activities of Japanese enterprises, addressed the participants.
Their speeches centered on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) described in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that was adopted by the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit in 2015.
They consist of 17 goals related to diverse social issues that need to be dealt with to realize a sustainable world. Goal 11 of the SDGs covers “sustainable cities and communities,” which means that cities should aim to become more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
There is only one goal out of the 17 that specifically mentions “cities” in the short summaries of the goals. However, as all of the goals are associated with one another, every goal can be related to cities to some degree.
The joint declaration that was issued and read at the end of the summit pointed out that 55 percent of the 7.6 billion people that make up the total global population live in cities. It is projected that this percentage is likely to reach 70 percent by 2050. That is all the more reason why cities’ initiatives and efforts are indispensable in the promotion and achievement of the SDGs.
The case studies shared and discussed on the second day of the summit contained examples of such urban initiatives and efforts.
The declaration also stated that participant cities would strive to enhance the intercity network in the region, promote specific actions for sustainable urban development and social progress and contribute globally to create a world that can offer dreams and hopes for future generations.
“The participating cities were able to reconfirm the significance of discussion and cooperation among municipalities, international organizations and enterprises in solving urban problems, and the shared awareness that cities play an important role in making the world sustainable,” said Mayor Soichiro Takashima in his closing remarks.
He concluded by announcing that the 13th Asian-Pacific City Summit will be held again in Fukuoka in 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.