> Reconstruction towards Sustainable Communities Promotion of locally-based industries with all stakeholder approach

UNCRD Workshop on "Reconstruction towards Sustainable Communities Promotion of locally-based industries with all stakeholder approach"

26 February 3 March 2012

1. Background

   The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) was founded in 1971 to promote sustainable regional development in developing countries. Disaster Management Planning is one of the core issues for sustainable regional development and UNCRD has been working on the programme since 1985. With an experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in Kobe in 1995, UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Hyogo Office, established in Kobe in 1999, developed and launched Community Based Disaster Management, School Earthquake Safety Initiative, and Anti-seismic Building Code Dissemination projects. The office promoted effective disaster mitigation, focusing on key elements of self-help, cooperation, and education through various activities such as trainings and international/national/local workshops for capacity building in disaster-prone countries. The UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Hyogo Office has been integrated to Nagoya Office as the Disaster Management Planning Unit since the end of May 2011.

   With rapid increase of urban population and associated enormous economic, social and environmental pressures, UNCRD is refocusing its work towards sustainable urban development. Another key focus of the work of UNCRD is environment, with environmentally sustainable transport and 3R being part of key elements.

   The Great East Japan Earthquake, which hit the wide area of East Japan on March 11, 2011, was unprecedented in scale and in nature. The earthquake was the fourth largest in the world and the largest in Japan ever recorded. Subsequent tsunami hit the Tohoku region along the pacific coast of Japan and washed away many towns and communities, resulting in massive loss of lives and properties. The full recovery and reconstruction will likely to take many years, but much effort has been made and the region is making substantial progress. There is a great deal to learn from this experience for future disaster risk reduction and sustainable regional development.

   After ten months, the work on recovery has been progressing steadily and shifting to reconstruction. By the end of 2011, all municipalities have submitted their reconstruction plans, which had been formulated in participatory processes. Although the scars suffered from the disaster have not been completely healed, activities for the reconstruction have gradually started. These reconstruction plans are going to be discussed between municipalities and respective prefectures, and will be implemented. The Japanese Government has also formulated its Basic Plan for Reconstruction and passed several legislations to facilitate the reconstruction efforts of affected municipalities. They include establishment of special zones and eco towns. Therefore, we can see that the foundation for reconstruction has been cemented. However, as these are just starting, there is an urgent need to look into the issue of unemployment, in particular for the young and women, in Tohoku region and to promote business opportunities.

   Against this backdrop, UNCRD is organizing a workshop, consisting of site visits and discussion meetings with local municipalities and communities. Two issues of particular interests for this workshop are: i) promotion of green business; and ii) involvement of all stakeholders in reconstruction efforts, including NPOs and NGOs.

2. Objectives

   The objectives of the Workshop are many-fold. The main objective is to learn from the experience of the communities affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. By organizing discussion meetings with local representatives, UNCRD hopes that the group of experts assembled for this Workshop can engage in exchange of information and practical ideas that could assist the effort of local communities to increase their economic activities, in particular towards building green economy. In addition, in line with the Basic Reconstruction Plan of the Japanese Government, UNCRD hopes that the group of experts could also share ideas of engaging NPOs and NGOs in the reconstruction efforts. UNCRD will compile all the information gathered during the Workshop in a report, which will be disseminated globally. UNCRD will also incorporate the lessons learnt and good practices into the relevant training programmes that the Centre organizes.

3. Workshop

  1. Composition of experts:
    UNCRD will assemble a group of experts in the area of promotion of locally-based business, green business and the engagement of NPOs / NGOs.
  2. Site visits:
    The group will visit several localities in Tohoku (Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures). The criteria for the selection of localities include: strong interest in developing green economy; initiatives by private sector, ongoing NPOs and NGOs initiatives; the reconstruction plan includes strong emphasis towards sustainable development and promotion of green economy.
  3. Discussion meetings:
    There will be discussion meetings with local municipalities and community representatives. The expert group is encouraged to engage active discussions bringing their expertise and practical ideas.
  4. Suggestions for local communities:
    UNCRD compile suggestions from participating experts for the local communities visited in the areas of respective expertise. UNCRD will include them in the report of the workshop.

4. Programme

Details pdf

5. Output

   UNCRD will compile all the proceedings and information gathered during the Workshop in a report to be published in both English and Japanese. The report will be widely disseminated through the network of UNCRD as well as those of the participating experts.

   UNCRD will also compile case studies on green business in Tohoku area that are promoted as part of the reconstruction and rebuilding efforts. These case studies will be posted on UNCRD web-site in both Japanese and English.

6. Contact

Chikako Takase, Acting Director, United Nations Centre for Regional Development
tel: +81-52 561-9377
e-mail: takasec@uncrd.or.jp

7. Role of expert

  1. Bring along experience in the area of their expertise that may respond to the needs of / queries by the local communities
  2. Discuss ideas for reconstruction based on the observation of the areas which will be visited
  3. Provide practical examples in the area of their expertise that meet the needs of the local communities
  4. Provide the following:
    Before your departure to Japan: 1-2 page description of
    • your profile / experience and contribution that you think you can make to respond to the interest of people in Tohoku region. This will be translated into Japanese and will be circulated to the localities to be visited.
    • List of things that are of interest to you for this Workshop.
    (Please refer to the attached Questionnaire)

    After the Workshop:
    • Brief description of what you can do / suggest to the localities visited.

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