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36th International Training Course in Regional Development (2008)

Dates: 15 May - 25 June 2008
Venue: Nagoya, Japan



The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) conducted the Thirty-Sixth International Training Course in Regional Development (ITC 36) in Nagoya from 15 May to 25 June 2008. The ITC is UNCRD's flagship programme and this year's course was attended by twelve midlevel officials from the central and local governments of eleven countries (Bhutan, Cambodia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Japan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka), with the support of Aichi Prefectural Government and the Nagoya Port Authority. Among the eleven participants, three were female.
Figure1 With the completion of ITC 36, the total number of alumni rose to 906 from seventy-one countries. Most of the ITC participants have been from Asian countries, as shown in Figure 1.

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ITC 36 Modules

Goals and Objectives

This year, under the theme of "Sustainable Regional Development (SRD)," the course was structured around the six modules indicated above. The goal of ITC 36 was to contribute to capacity-building for regional development, with a special focus on the ability to deal with environment-, human security-, and disaster-related issues. To achieve this goal, the course objectives were: (a) to provide a venue for sharing and learning from country experiences; (b) to maximize learning potential gained by being located in Japan; and (c) to increase awareness on sustainable regional development. Judging from the results of the course evaluation questionnaire, the majority of participants were in agreement that all of the above goals and objectives were achieved, as shown in Figure 2. Figure2

Module1: Sustainable Regional Development and Human Security

M1 photo Module 1 introduced the concept of "Human Security" and its application in programme/project planning and implementation for sustainable regional development. The working definition of human security at UNCRD is the removal or reduction of vulnerability to economic, social, cultural, and environmental threats that undermine the sustainable development of communities. In the group exercise following the session on the "Human Security Concept and Definitions," participants learned how to identify vulnerable groups and what factors that keep them in chronic poverty. They conducted vulnerability analysis and capacity assessments by themselves. This module also introduced another important concept of "Endogenous Regional Development (EnRD)." EnRD is a regional-development approach used to secure human security and it implies a process of development promoted by the initiative of the local people using local resources based on local culture, traditions, and skills. In addition, participants visited Meiho, Gifu Pref., which faces challenges that provide good practice for applying human security and EnRD. They learned from Meiho's activities and efforts to make their livelihood sustainable by making full use of local resources, including social capital. Through this module, participants were able to enhance their awareness on human security concerns and project planning and implementation in the context of their country/region.

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Module2: Environmental Management

Module 2 dealt with "Environmental Management," with a special focus on 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), sustainable production and consumption (SP&C) as well as environmentally sustainable transport (EST). Through lecture sessions, field visits, and group discussion, participants deepened their understanding of the concepts, approaches, and strategies of 3R, SP&C, and EST. They also obtained practical insights from the initiatives and policy measures taken by Nagoya City for solid waste management, waste reduction, and recycling of resources as well as the Toyota Motor Corporation and the Toyota Transportation Research Institute (TTRI) for cleaner production and EST. The participants found the field visits to Gojogawa Incineration Plant in Jimokuji Town (Aichi Pref.), Aigi Landfill Site in Tajimi City (Gifu Pref.), and private recycling plants in Nagoya City to be highly instructive due to their innovative ideas and technology.

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Module 3: Disaster Management

Module 3 was coordinated by the UNCRD Hyogo Office with a three-day field trip to Kobe City in Hyogo Pref., where participants learned of the experiences and lessons gained from the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. They visited the Kobe Institute for Urban Development, Disaster Management Bureau of Hyogo Pref., Urban Renaissance Agency's recovery apartments as well as the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI) to deepen their understanding of earthquakes and study these agencies' disaster management activities and post-quake reconstruction efforts. Participants were impressed by not only the rapid progress made in recovery following the earthquake, but also the preparedness measures taken against natural disasters. In addition, they had fruitful exchanges with students of Maiko High School, which is the first high school ever to establish a Department of Environment and Disaster Management. Through this module, they learned the importance of preparedness against natural disasters, in particular at the community level as well as new/innovative ideas as to how they should prepare and respond for possible damages of natural disasters.

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Module 4: Regional Development in Japan

Module 4 introduced the history of regional development and the current challenges and efforts made at each level of government - prefectural, municipal, and town - in Japan. It also examined various aspects of regional development including those that are institutional, managerial, physical, financial, economic, environmental, and social. After the introductory session on "Regional Development in Japan," participants visited the local governments of Aichi Prefecture, Nagoya City, Okaya City (Nagano Pref.), Obuse Town (Nagano Pref.), and the Nagoya Port Authority to understand how regional development is being planned, implemented, monitored, and evaluated. After the visits, participants were divided into three groups, a big city group, a medium-sized city group, and a small town group, to make a more in-depth analysis of each case. They then made presentations on each government's key approaches and strategies from the viewpoint of sustainability. The observation and findings of participants were well reflected in each group's presentation and discussion.

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Module 5: Living Environment

Module 5 integrates the modules of "SRD and Human Security," "Environmental Management," and "Disaster Management" under the theme of "Living Environment". It started the sessions on "Living Environment" with visits to locations representing three different types of cases: (a) development of Kozoji New Town in Kasugai City, Aichi Pref. (New Town Area); (b) improvement of Sumida City in Tokyo (Old Urban Area); and (c) conservation of Hachiman in Gujo City, Gifu Pref. (Rural Area for Conservation) to analyse their "Living Environment" from the perspectives of safety, health, convenience, amenity, and sustainability in comparison with the participants' home countries. Kozoji New Town is a case of a newly developed town while Sumida City is trying to improve its existing old, wooden, and crowded dwelling area. Hachiman is creating a sustainable living environment based on its local resources and townscapes. These field visits also enabled the participants to learn about the importance of, and gain direct exposure to, Japan's participatory Machi-Zukuri activities in each area.

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Module 6: Synthesis

Lastly, in Module 6, as a major output of the course, participants formulated individual action plans which could be absorbed into their professional activities undertaken toward resolving development issues and problems in their respective countries. They assimilated and digested what they had learned from the training course through this process of action plan formulation. At the conclusion, participants were given an opportunity to make a presentation on their action plans. Action plan titles included Disaster Management in Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) , Nepal; Pumwani Phase III Re-development Project in Nairobi, Kenya; among others. In response to requests from participants, UNCRD is planning to dispatch follow-up missions to selected participants' countries as well as provide web-based and e-mail consultations to technically support their action plans.

ITC Follow-up Seminars

The success of the course should not only be measured by the evaluation results, but also by the extent to which participants are able to apply and disseminate what they learned and implement their action plans. For this purpose, UNCRD has strengthened its follow-up activities to technically support the implementation of action plans. In April 2008, UNCRD conducted a ITC follow-up seminar on "Improvement of Housing and Living Environment in Bangladesh" in collaboration with the Local Government Engineering Department under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development, and Co-operatives, Government of Bangladesh. UNCRD will continue to hold this type of follow-up seminar in selected past participants' countries in support of action-plan implementation.
>>Read more about ITC Follow-up

Prize Awarded to ITC Participants

UNCRD is pleased to announce that the Third IYSH Memorial Encouragement Prize was awarded to the Urban Development Resource Center (UDRC), which was established by past participants of UNCRD’s International Training Course in Regional Development (ITC), in July 2008. UDRC is an NGO set up in August 2005 as part of Ms. Enkhbayar's efforts of implementing her action plan formulated as an output of UNCRD's ITC 32, with the aim of poverty reduction through improving the living environment in Ger areas in Mongolia based on active community participation and efforts. In order to further support her activity, UNCRD also trained UDRC members, Ms. Tsend-Auysh Baldandorj Borjigon (ITC 33) and Ms. Tuya Zorig (ITC 34), and organized ITC followup seminars for them in Mongolia in 2004, 2005, and 2007.
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