November 16, 2016, Yokohama, Japan – Yokohama City and the World Bank today announced greater collaboration to conduct joint research, identify and document good practices, share knowledge and experience, and identify opportunities to link Japanese expertise with project-level engagements in developing countries.
Urbanization is occurring at an unprecedented pace, and cities are expected to take a role as a driving force of economic growth, this is indeed the Era of Sustainable Cities. While sustainable cities take a role as a driving force of economic growth, the challenges they face such as inclusion, environmental degradation, and suitability to the natural disasters, urban sprawl, dramatic population shifts, lack of quality infrastructure, access to jobs and general lack of competitiveness are also increasing. The complexity of challenges and lack of one-size-fits-all solutions necessitates the knowledge exchange with and between cities.
The City Partnership Program made up of technical experts from the World Bank, JICA, IGES and ICLEA was profoundly impressed with the offerings of the City of Yokohama which align directly with the challenges that many developing and middle income countries face. Yokohama City offers practical best practice lessons derived from having successfully managed rapid economic growth and a sharp rise in population. Through the introduction of various development projects and regulative measures, each designed to ensure integration with other measures, consistent and long-term implementation, and active participation of citizens and the private sector, Yokohama has transformed itself from a degrading suburban residential town in the 1950s into a competitive, eco-friendly, livable city with a strong economic base.
Daniel Levine, Senior Officer of World Bank’s Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC) emphasized the significance of cooperation with Yokohama City, “There is a great deal of knowledge in Yokohama city that will help solve the problems that emerging countries are facing.”
TDLC is looking forward to working closely with Yokohama City in developing: (a) a sourcebook of Yokohama’s development knowledge; (b) Expertise mobilization and technical cooperation opportunities with WBG client country cities; (c) activities to bolster the development impact of the Y-PORT Center as a leader in urban solutions and (d) Public Seminars on WB operations and avenues for engagement with NGOs and the private sector; These activities and others are currently being formulated into a comprehensive mutually agreed work program.
Fumiko Hayashi, Mayor of Yokohama City responded, “This cooperation will advance overseas infrastructure business by city enterprises,” expressing her expectation to this knowledge exchange with the World Bank to lead to the city’s economic development.
Yokohama City and the World Bank jointly held Technical Deep Dive on Smart Cities and World Bank Smart City Conference from November 14 to 18 to examine the application of Smart City Approaches in addressing the most complex development challenges.