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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Japan’s green city, Kitakyushu, extends partnership with UNIDO to promote clean technology and waste-recycling services

VIENNA, 22 May 2013 – The Japanese city of Kitakyushu, considered to be one of the greenest industrial cities in the world, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will work together to further promote the eco-town concept in developing countries. 

The eco-town concept is based on a zero-emissions approach and seeks to utilize – to the greatest extent possible - the waste generated by domestic and industrial activities as the raw material for other industries. 

An agreement on extending cooperation was signed in Vienna today by the Director General of UNIDO, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the mayor of the city of Kitakyushu, Kenji Kitahashi.

Yumkella said that “since 2010, UNIDO and the city of Kitakyushu have been working together to share clean technology and recycling know-how with developing countries, including by organizing annual seminars for the decision-makers and technical managers responsible for environmental industry management of industrial zones and industrial estates in developing countries in Asia and Africa.”

“Our partnership has provided a platform for training representatives from developing countries interested in adapting clean technology and waste-recycling services based on the eco-town concept,” said Yumkella.

“The annual seminars have helped initiate conducive policies and replicate best practices on waste recycling and waste-integration management. Developing countries can benefit greatly from obtaining the waste-recycling and destruction technologies currently used in Japan, especially in Kitakyushu, many of which are unique. By transferring modern technology to developing countries, Japan is helping them comply with the legally binding requirements of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.” 

Another aspect of the cooperation between UNIDO and Kitakyushu is the organization of fact-finding missions, including from Japan to Nigeria. The missions helped one Japanese company invest in e-waste recycling in India, while another company will soon open an office in Thailand to focus on construction-waste recycling.

In Nigeria, the cooperation between UNIDO and Kitakyushu has led to the opening of a car-recycling investment project. Elsewhere, an e-waste project is being negotiated for Tatarstan, Russia, and eco-town projects are being prepared for the Visaya province of the Philippines, and for South Africa. 

During the signing ceremony, Director General Yumkella noted another good example of close cooperation between UNIDO and the Government of Japan – the Green Industry Conference organized in Tokyo in 2011.

Kitakyushu is Japan’s first eco-town project. It originated in 1997 within Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and was founded on the basic concept of zero emissions. There are two main objectives: to stimulate local economies by nurturing the growth of environmental industries that take advantage of the industrial capabilities in each region; and to involve industry, the public sector and consumers in the creation of integrated systems that are in harmony with the environment, with the aim of creating a resource-recycling society in a given region. As part of the Kitakyushu eco-town concept, the city has adopted a collective measure for the treatment of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which is based on complete POPs waste management and recycling, including segregation, collection, treatment and disposal.

POPs are organic chemical substances that possess a particular combination of physical and chemical properties such that, once released into the environment, they remain intact for exceptionally long periods of time (many years); become widely distributed throughout the environment as a result of natural processes involving soil, water and, most notably, air; accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms including humans, and are found at higher concentrations at higher levels in the food chain; and are toxic to both humans and wildlife. The international community has called for urgent global action to eliminate the production and use of these chemicals.

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