IGES and Rockefeller Foundation Sign Memorandum of Understanding on the Sidelines of the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting in Toyama, Japan

31 May 2016

The honourable Mayor of Toyama City, Masashi Mori, hosted a signing ceremony at City Hall to formalise a collaboration agreement between the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC). With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), IGES becomes a Platform Partner to the 100RC Initiative, expanding opportunities to leverage the institute’s expertise in climate change mitigation and adaptation to support resilience strategy formulation in 100RC member cities.

The groundwork for the MOU was laid in 2014 and 2015, thanks to constructive discussions between the 100 Resilient Cities Platform Director, Ms. Lauren Sorkin, and Dr. Eric Zusman, Area Leader and Principal Policy Researcher at IGES. The Memorandum signed in Toyama recognises IGES as a strong regional partner in fields such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, transport planning and the analysis of co-benefits of climate related interventions. The 100RC platform provides tools and services to its global network of member cities to build urban resilience. With the signing of the MOU, IGES becomes a 100RC Platform Partner for a three-year period and will aim to support selected 100RC member cities in the Asia-Pacific region through research and policy advice.

MOU Signing: Ms. Yee, 100RC Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Solutions

Ms. Elizabeth Yee, 100RC Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Solutions, highlighted the serendipitous nature of holding the MOU signing ceremony during the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting and announced that Toyama City is the first Japanese 100RC Member City and IGES the first Japanese platform partner. Ms. Yee also remarked that, against the backdrop of limited local government resources, cities must find ways to tackle multiple challenges, including climate change, in integrated ways so as to achieve urban sustainability and resilience. Toyama’s Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) Dr. Joseph Runzo-Inada, announced that the ceremony will be featured in the 100RC newsletter, and disseminated to 100RC resilience officers, member city representatives and platform partners.

Prof. Hamanaka, Chair of IGES Board of Directors

Professor Hironori Hamanaka, Chair of the IGES Board of Directors, reiterated his desire to work more closely with Toyama City in future and expressed his gratitude to Mayor Mori, Ms. Yee and Dr. Runzo-Inada for their important role in translating ambitions to increase urban resilience into concrete action. Prof. Hamanaka added that IGES is already working with five major 100RC member cities in the Asia-Pacific and, within the month of May, the institute will attend a further ceremony to sign a letter of interest with the 100RC member city of Semarang in Indonesia, to launch a project related to co-benefits in the transport sector.

Having extended a warm welcome to the attendees on behalf of the citizens of Toyama City, Mayor Mori underscored the ambitious urban planning efforts of the Toyama City, which are recognised internationally. Mayor Mori stated that international organisations and partners are of key importance to address the city’s complex resilience challenges and that he looked forward to a strengthening of ties both with 100RC as well as IGES.

The Signing Ceremony took place in the morning of 15 May, on the same day as the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting (G7EMM) Parallel Session on “the Role of Cities”, which was the first time the topic of sustainable cities was given such prominence at a G7EMM. The Mayors of leading cities of the Global North participated in the event, including the Mayors of Bristol (UK), Florence (IT), Frankfurt am Main (DE), Kitakyushu (JP), Vancouver (CA) and Vitry-le-François (FR). 100RC and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) represented international networks and organisations at the Parallel Session, which was co-chaired by Mayor Mori of Toyama City and Prof. Hamanaka of IGES.

Further participants at the MOU signing ceremony included: From Toyama City, Mr. Shinji Honda, Director-General of the Planning and Administration Department; Mr. Toshiyuki Yamazoe, Senior Adviser for International Business Relations; Mr. Yokogoshi, Assistant Director for International Business Relations, Mr. Masaharu Nishinaka, Director General of Environment Department, Mr. Yoichi Ito, Deputy Director General, Department of Environment; from 100RC, Mr. Horng Dar Lim, Associate Director for City Relationships; from IGES, Dr. Junichi Fujino, Senior Coordinator, Urban Taskforce IGES, and Mr. Andreas Jaeger, Researcher, Urban Taskforce IGES; as well as members of the local press and supporting staff of the Toyama City Government.

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