The FINANCIAL -- Japan is home to a number of cities offering world-class and unique “best-practice” experiences and solutions on a variety of development challenge facing cities around the globe.
As part of an ongoing partnership with the Government of Japan to share development experience through the Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC), the World Bank has introduced a new City Partnership Program, collaborating with selected cities in Japan to conduct joint research, identify good practices, share knowledge and experience, and identify opportunities to link Japanese expertise with project-level engagements in developing countries.
Following an open call for expressions of interest and evaluation by a selection committee comprised of technical specialists from the World Bank and relevant Japanese organizations, the cities (listed in alphabetical order) of Kitakyushu, Kobe, Toyama, and Yokohama have been selected as the first batch of cities for the new program, according to the World Bank.
For each city, the World Bank and the local government identified a series of thematic experience and solution areas that match the demands of cities in World Bank client countries. These include the green growth and environmental protection experience of Kitakyushu, Kobe’s experience in managing seismic risk and more recently ICT, Toyama’s experience with compact city development, and Yokohama’s smart city development experience.
“We are very pleased by the exciting range of experiences and solutions that these cities can bring to our clients,” noted Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Social, Urban, and Resilience Global Practice. “Our clients range from officials from small cities and towns to mayors of Mega Cities, and we’re happy that our initial set of partner cities in Japan includes representatives from large metropolitan areas as well as smaller cities whose solutions will resonate with cities of all sizes in other countries.”
The World Bank will work with relevant agencies and/or knowledge institutions in the selected cities to document practical “how to” experience, producing knowledge notes, case studies, toolkits, good practice guides, videos, etc. These materials will serve as the basis for learning and knowledge sharing activities that bring officials from developing countries (together with World Bank staff) to Japan to learn from the selected cities and to share knowledge through conferences, study tours, peer-to-peer learning workshops, and benchmarking mechanisms. Learning activities will be both face-to-face and virtual, taking advantage of TDLC’s state-of-the art videoconferencing and multimedia facilities, and will include site visits to maximize the learning experience.
The World Bank will enter discussion with specific collaboration modality with four cities and once the modality is agreed the Bank will sign MoU with the four cities and then plans to collaborate with them both individually and collectively on various knowledge exchange and capacity building activities for developing countries. This will mark the first time the World Bank has formed systematic partnerships with municipal governments in Japan. Additional cities are expected to be added to the program in future.