Public Symposium on Rio+20 on Sustainable Urban Development: Challenges and Issues in Developing Countries
22 Mar 2012 - 22 Mar 2012
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tokyo, Japan

The public symposium, co-organized by UNCRD and United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), was held at the U Thant International Conference Hall, UNU, Tokyo, Japan on 22 March 2012. A full report of the proceedings of this symposium entitled "Sustainable Urban Development: Challenges and Issues in Developing Countries" was submitted to the secretariat of Rio+20 and posted on their website as a contribution towards the Rio+20 process (

One of the aims of this symposium was to hold a public discussion on the issues in sustainable urban development which developing countries are facing and the role that Japan could play in fostering a global transition towards more sustainable cities. By 2050, the world population is expected to have increased to a total of 9 billion, and the population living in urban areas is projected to grow by 2.9 billion, to reach a total of 6.3 billion. It is inevitable that this rapid increase of urban population will bring enormous increases in economic, social, and environmental pressure, resulting in a need for governments to take urgent measures. Furthermore, sustainable urbanization will be one of the principal sub-themes to be dealt with at Rio+20 as many experts deem that it is in cities where the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost. The debate was expected not only to contribute to Rio+20, but also be a forum for discussion on how cities and their partners can successfully implement the outcomes of the conference. Because of these factors, the report of this meeting was treated as a concrete contribution towards the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) with forward-looking solutions to urban challenges on the road from Rio.

The symposium was comprised of three parts. The discussions were conducted under the theme of "Sustainable Urban Management" in part I; "Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Urban Development" in part II; and part III comprised a case study presentation of Kitakyushu City, by a Kitakyushu city official, to illustrate Kitakyushufs experience of sustainable city promotion as a representative of Japanese city level example.

Photo (top): UNU-IAS

14:00-14:20 Opening addresses

Prof. Govindan Parayil, Vice-Rector, United Nations University and Director, United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies

Mr. Hiroshi Matsuura, Director, Global Issues Cooperation Division, International Cooperation Bureau,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Japan

Video message from Mr. Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of Rio+20, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

14:20-15:20 Part I: Sustainable Urban Management
Prof. Yoshitsugu Hayashi, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University; and Director, International Research Center for Sustainable Transport and Cities Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University

Prof. Monte Cassim, Vice Chancellor, The Ritsumeikan Trust, Ritsumeikan University

Mr. Michael Replogle, Global Policy Director and Founder, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Q & A Session

15:20-15:35 Break

15:35-16:35 Part II: Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Urban Development
Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Vice Rector, United Nations University

Mr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Senior Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan; Senior Fellow and Programme Director, United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies

Ms. Aban Marker-Kabraji, Asia Regional Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Q & A Session

16:35-16:50 Part III: Japanese experience in promoting sustainable cities: Case Study of Kitakyushu
Mr. Reiji Hitsumoto, Director, International Environment Strategies Division, Office for International Environmental Strategies, Environment Bureau, City of Kitakyushu

16:50-17:00 Closing Remarks
Ms. Chikako Takase, Director, United Nations Centre for Regional Development

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