Why in Kitakyushu?

Why in Kitakyushu?

Why from a city

  • 65% of the 169 targets underlying the 17 SDGs are related to the activities of local governments (OECD, 2018).
  • The local governments are responsible for project implementations, thus they have a direct relationship with each SDGs (Kitakyushu City, 2018).

Why from Japan

  • Japan was one of the 193 UN member states that adopted the SDGs at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015.
  • Japan established the SDGs Promotion Headquarters in 2016. The Headquarters released the “SDGs Action Plan 2018” in 2017 and its expanded version in 2018.
  • In June 2018, Japan selected 29 municipalities to become “SDGs Future Cities”. 10 out of 29 are selected as the leading initiatives, which become “SDG Model Projects”.

Why in Kitakyushu

  • Kitakyushu is an industrial city in Japan which used to suffer from severe environmental pollution and has been successfully transformed into a leading environmentally-friendly city in the country.
  • Kitakyushu is selected as the SDGs Model City of OECD.
  • In 2018, Kitakyushu is selected as “SDGs Future City” with their proposal as “SDGs Model Project of Local Government” by Japanese central government.
  • Kitakyushu received the Partnership Award (Special Award) on the 1st Japan SDGs Award in 2017.
  • On Sustainable Cities’ survey by Nikkei in 2018, Kitakyushu was ranked 2nd in combining 3 pillars of environment, society, and economy, meanwhile it was at the top in the society division.
  • 2/3 of the 17 goals in the SDGs are already engaged by Kitakyushu.
  • In FY2017, about 69% of the whole of the city’s projects are related to the multiple goals of SDGs.
  • Kitakyushu has established its SDGs Future City Promotion Headquarters, SDGs Council, and SDGs Club to involve multi-stakeholders in the actions.
  • Kitakyushu has already incorporated SDGs in its revised Basic Environmental Plan in 2017 adding the subtitle as “Environmental Capital and SDGs Realization Plan” and has developed its own SDGs Future City Plan.

Kitakyushu's Eco-History

Higashida Blast Furnace No. 1 Historical Site Plaza

The operation of Japan’s first steelworks began and Kitakyushu prospered as a steel town.

(Photo: Higashida Blast Furnace No. 1 Historical Site Plaza)


Kitakyushu faced serious pollution, causing “Sea of Death”.


Triggered by the movement of a women’s group, the citizens, universities, businesses, and the local government joined hands to improve environment, which brought new industries, such as assembly and recycling industries.


Kitakyushu initiated the international environmental cooperation activity with Dalian City, China.


The city won the Global 500 Award from the United Nations Environment Programme and Local Government Honours at the Earth Summit in 1992.


Kitakyushu set up the Grand Design for the World Capital of Sustainable Development.


Kitakyushu has also been selected by the Japanese government as a Future City, which integrates the environment, society, and economy.

Kitakyushu's Priority Goals & Targets

SDGs 3. Good Health and Well-being - Target 3.d
Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.
SDGs 4. Quality Education - Target 4.7
By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.
SDG 5. Gender Equality - Target 5.5
Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
SDG 7. Affordable & Clean Energy - Target 7.2 and 7.a
Target 7.2: By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. / Target 7.a: By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.
SDG 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth - Target 8.2
Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors.
SDG 9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure - Target 9.4
Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency
SDGs 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities - Target 11.3 and 11.6
Target 11.3: By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries / Target 11.6: By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
SDG 12. Responsible Consumption & Production - Target 12.5
Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
SDG 13. Climate Action - Target 13.1, 13.2, and 13.3
Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries. / Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning. / Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.


Source: Kitakyushu City Plan for the SDGs FutureCity (the 2nd edition, March 2021)

Kitakyushu Maps

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