G7 Ministers Commit to Greening, Energy-Efficient Buildings

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito, center, speaks at a news conference in Takamatsu on Sunday.

TAKAMATSU — G7 ministers connected to urban development wrapped up their meeting Sunday in the capital of Kagawa Prefecture with the adoption of a joint declaration that includes commitments to cooperate on the greening of cities and the wider use of energy-efficient buildings for decarbonization.

The G7 Sustainable Urban Development Ministers’ Meeting issued the declaration that also stated their desire to make joint efforts to support the reconstruction of Ukraine.

The participants confirmed the importance of securing green spaces that absorb carbon dioxide and help conserve biodiversity. The declaration also stated that measures should be implemented to create a green economy that promotes and encourages investment from the private sector.

“To solve global issues, it is important to make efforts targeting cities where population and assets are concentrated and to have diverse actors work together,” Tetsuo Saito, Japan’s land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister, said at a news conference following the end of the ministerial meeting on Sunday.

Regarding greening, Japan presented its efforts to introduce a certification system in which a third-party organization evaluates greening projects by the private sector.

Other participants explained case studies on the establishment of funds and the creation of rules that take biodiversity into consideration.

The ministers also confirmed the need to promote the wider use of energy-efficient buildings with net-zero CO2 emissions. To reduce the use of air conditioners, using insulation in the construction and renovation of homes is being promoted.

The participants concurred on the effectiveness of digitizing data on land and buildings possessed by central and local governments, as these could be useful for policymaking and urban planning studies, as well as determining where to install solar panels. This data should also be publicly available and accessible, the ministers said.

As for support for the reconstruction of Ukraine, the joint declaration stated that it would be effective to start cooperation from the planning stage so that the knowledge and experience of the G7 can be reflected.

As action guidelines to achieve the declaration, the G7 set out the so-called Kagawa-Takamatsu principles, which stipulate that central governments should deepen cooperation with local governments and the private sector. The principles also include sharing the G7’s knowledge on climate change with developing nations.