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Connecting Local and Global: Bolstering Green and Zero Carbon Cities

In June 2020, UNFCCC launched the “Race to Zero Campaign”, an initiative whereby all stakeholders including local governments and cities are encouraged to propose strategies toward net-zero emissions by 2050. This initiative is one of the most important incentives for local governments to set their own net-zero visions as the “Race to Zero Campaign” will play the role of third-party verification for the visions. In Japan, the zero carbon city initiative was led by Shinjiro Koizumi, Minister of the Environment as well as several ICLEI cities (such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, and Nagano) lead and now (as of 16 September, 2020), 153 Japanese cities (covering 71 million people) have already declared their intention to be zero carbon by 2050.

In December 2019, EU announced the European Green Deal including the concept of “no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050”. The policy has subsequently gained more importance because the world has been hit by economic damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring substantial changes in society> This is known as the “Green Recovery”.

This session aims 1) to discuss ideas to harmonise international initiatives such as the “Race to Zero Campaign” with various stakeholders consisting of international and domestic local governments and experts and, 2) to share the current progress of developing strategies and bolstering them at local government or city levels thereby achieving “Green and Zero Carbon Cities”

Speakers

Executive Director, IGES

Yasuo Takahashi

Yasuo Takahashi

Executive Director, IGES

Mr. Yasuo Takahashi completed the Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo and joined the Environment Agency of Japan (present Ministry of the Environment) in 1983. He served key positions in the Ministry including Director of Climate Policy Division, Director General of Headquarters for Environmental Restoration of Fukushima, Director General of Environmental Management Bureau, and Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs. After retired from the Ministry in 2019, he served as Senior Advisor for the Ministry, and joined IGES as Special Policy Advisor and became Executive Director from November 2020.

1st counsellor, EU Delegation to Japan

Heidi Hiltunen

Heidi Hiltunen

1st counsellor, EU Delegation to Japan

Heidi Hiltunen is serving as 1st counsellor at the EU Delegation to Japan since 2018 and is in charge of climate change, energy and transport issues. She was previously deputy head of unit at DG Climate Action of the EU Commission in Brussels in charge of GHG emission reductions in the international shipping sector and of international emissions trading cooperation. She has also worked at the EU Delegation in Beijing on EU – China cooperation on climate change and environmental issues. She has also held positions in the different departments in the European Commission including the external relations, EU enlargement and enterprise policy departments. She holds a MSc in international relations from the University of Tampere in Finland. Before the European Commission, she worked as a researcher at the Finnish Institute for International Affairs.

ICLEI Director of Global Advocacy and LGMA Focal Point to the UNFCCC

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Yunus Arikan

Yunus Arikan

ICLEI Director of Global Advocacy and LGMA Focal Point to the UNFCCC

Between 2002-2008, he took an active role in promotion of progressive climate change policies in Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe, specifically in Turkey´s access to the Kyoto Protocol in 2009. Since 2009, at ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, the global sustainability network of more than 1750 local and regional governments, he had led the establishment of the Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting (carbonn) and has been serving as the Focal Point of Local Governments and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Constituency at the UNFCCC. Since 2013, he has been leading ICLEI´s engagement at the intergovernmental processes at the United Nations fora and within the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments.

Director-General for Environmental Policy, Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ)

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WADA Tokuya

WADA Tokuya

Director-General for Environmental Policy, Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ)

Mr. Wada joined the Environment Agency (currently the Ministry of the Environment) after he completed his Master’s at the Graduate School of Engineering, Hokkaido University in April 1988. After working at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, and Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, Ministry of International Trade and Industry(currently Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), he engaged in work on climate change, and technological development for the Climate Change policy at the Climate Change Policy Division of the Global Environment Bureau.

From 2018, he served as Deputy Director and Deputy Director-General at the Minister's Secretariat of the Ministry of the Environment, and was assigned the position of Director-General for Environmental Policy from July 2020.

Director General of Climate Change Policy Headquarters, City of Yokohama

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Eriko Yakushiji

Eriko Yakushiji

Director General of Climate Change Policy Headquarters, City of Yokohama

She entered City of Yokohama in 1983. She has been in charge of various projects, such as Minatomirai 21 project, the attracting of businesses, support for the new industry development, and promotion of culture. Recently years, she served several positions, including Director General of Seya Ward and Director General of Urban Development Bureau. She was assigned to the current position in April 2018.

Head of Division in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation Building and Nuclear Safety

Vera Rodenhoff

Vera Rodenhoff

Head of Division in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation Building and Nuclear Safety

Vera Rodenhoff is Head of Division in the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation Building and Nuclear Safety. She leads a team responsible for international cooperation on environment, energy and cities as well for cooperation with non-European OECD-Countries and the OECD. Vera’s previous positions in the Ministry include Head of Cabinet to the Federal Minister of Environment, Head of Division of International Affairs and Protocol in the Minister’s staff, Personal Secretary to the Minister as well as Policy Advisor on International Legal Affairs. Before entering the Ministry in 2005, Vera worked as an associate for the think tank Ecologic Institute and as a lawyer advising the German Government on European and international environmental law and policy issues. She was also a researcher for international public Law and EU law at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Prior to that she worked in the private sector for an international law firm and as a consultant for UNESCO in Paris.

Vera holds a doctorate in international and European environmental law from the Humboldt University Berlin, focusing on the role of the EU and its member states in international environmental regimes as well as a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the German first and Second State Exams in Law.

Member of City Council in Lolland Municipality, Denmark

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Leo Christensen

Leo Christensen

Member of City Council in Lolland Municipality, Denmark

Leo Christensen (Lokallisten) is a city council member in Lolland Municipality. He is a member of the Elderly and Health Committee.

He has previously worked as a civil servant in Lolland Municipality for over a decade, and as an originally trained installer, he has also worked for AP Møller Mærsk for many years.

Worked for member of the National Forum advising the former environment minister Ida Auken.

Certified electrician and Officer in the Danish army.

Research Manager, Kitakyushu Urban Centre, IGES

Junko Akagi

Junko Akagi

Research Manager, Kitakyushu Urban Centre, IGES

Dr. Akagi received a doctorate in Natural Sciences from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. She has been working at the IGES Kitakyushu Urban Centre since 2013. She has been engaged in research on the formation of zero-carbon cities and projects to promote the transfer of low-/zero-carbon technologies. She has worked in the Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan at the National Institute for Environmental Studies and is an expert on greenhouse gas inventories at the national and city levels.

Professor of Urban Environment and Human Ecology, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University

Xuemei Bai

Xuemei Bai

Professor of Urban Environment and Human Ecology, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University

Her research focuses on the science and policy of rapid urbanization and urban system sustainability. She has authored/co-authored over 100 academic publications, including several in Nature and Science. She is a member of the Earth Commission, co-leading its Working Group 5 on Translation and Method. She is a Co-Chair of Future Earth Urban Knowledge-Action Network. She is a Deputy Editor of Global Sustainability, and serves on the Editorial Board of eight other international journals. Prof. Bai is a Fellow of Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia since 2017, and was named as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People in Climate Change Policy in 2019. She is the 2018 Laureate of the Volvo Environment Prize.

Programme Director, City Taskforce, IGES

Junichi Fujino

Junichi Fujino

Programme Director, City Taskforce, IGES

Dr. Fujino received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tokyo, focusing on analysing the world’s energy system in the year 2100 (SDG 7). In 2000, he began his work at the National Institute for Environmental Studies. He has been involved in “Low Carbon Society Scenarios Research Project towards 2050” and has participated in the government’s committee for Japan’s greenhouse gas emission reduction toward COP15 as well as toward the 2015 Paris Agreement (SDG 13). Since the autumn of 2010, he has been a committee member for promoting the "FutureCity” initiative and has supported local governments in sustainable city planning. He has also served as a member for the “Urban Planning and Sustainability Committee” (of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Organizing Committee), as well as the Chair of the“Decarbonisation Working Group” (SDG 11). Currently, his focus is on supporting Asian countries and local governments in efforts to decarbonise and achieve the SDGs (SDG 17). He has been an IGES full-time researcher since April 2019.

Supported by:session paper image

This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.