26 Jul 2016
Kawasaki: bringing together local government, business and citizens

The Mayor of Kawasaki City, Japan, signed up to the Global Compact in February 2006. This was part of the City’s strategy to raise its profile globally, as a municipality that works with business and citizens, and to respond to environmental challenges.

In May 2016, Brendan Barrett from the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme visited the Global Environment and Sustainability Office in Kawasaki City. He had the opportunity to meet with the focal points for the city’s Global Compact activities – Atsushi Ida and Miki Kagaya.

With a population of 1.4 million, Kawasaki City is located in Kanagawa Prefecture. From the 1950s onwards it was the centre of heavy industry with power plants, petrochemical complexes and steel works. The city had to deal with the negative side effects of this industrial development and instituted a series of control measures in the 1970s to effectively limit pollution emissions and to conserve the environment.

The Kawasaki Compact

Kawasaki City has taken the Global Compact’s Ten Principles and developed their own version called the Kawasaki Compact. This is composed of two parts – a Business Compact (with nine principles) and a Citizen Compact (with three declarations). The latter is very interesting in that it encourages citizen groups to work with the Kawasaki City Government and business partners to conserve the environment and support the climate change policy.

A total of seventeen corporations have signed up to the Business Compact (including Fujitsu, Tokyo Gas, Tokyo Electric and the Asahi Kasei Corporation) and nineteen citizens groups have signed the Citizen Compact. Kawasaki City Government works very closely with Global Compact Japan local network to organize events. There is a website dedicated to the Kawasaki Compact with news and events going back to 2008. It also provides the minutes of meetings of the Kawasaki Compact Steering Committee all the way back to 2007.

“I think that Kawasaki City is unique in terms of the way it has localised the Global Compact Principles. The city is also following a very transparent approach sharing information with the public via a dedicated Kawasaki Compact website,” said Barrett.

“I read in the minutes of the Kawasaki Compact Steering Committee that they are even considering introducing a ‘Children’s Compact.’ That is a wonderful idea.”

Lets hope that more cities will follow the Kawasaki Compact Model. The city intends on sharing more information about their strategies, which the Cities Programme will soon publish for the benefit of engaging future cities in similar initiatives.

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