The United Nations Center for Regional Development, UNCRD, began in 1971. This organization came about from an agreement between the United Nations and the Japanese government to promote sustainable development regionally for its communities. It works to deal with issues of globalization, decentralization and major environmental concerns.
One of the key aims is to enhance the visibility of the UNCRD as a center of excellence. However, there is much more to the arrangement than that.
It all starts with the idea of bringing key UN ideals and an international approach to the local communities.
The UNCRD aims to aid sustainable development through advisory services centered on regional development and planning. Some communities may need a helping hand in sustainable development. This is a good way of providing the valuable information and guidance to areas that need it.
This approach also allows access to useful material and professional guidance. Ideas and principles come from important UN development commitments. They include the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). It is as much about practical training and ongoing support for these areas of Japan as it is policy and guidance.
The organization provides training and research centers for regional development and planning. This is often achieved through workshops, seminars and sub-regional activities. This formal training can help those in these developing area understand policy and approaches more easily.
It is evident from the aims and proposals of the UNCRD that the needs and views of the regions are essential.
There is clearly strong leadership and focus on the approach of this organization. It is also clear that they are keen to allow the area to work on their ideas.
They will listen to what is regionally important and take these views on board. They talk about the need to communicate any proposals of sustainable development with local authorities. This should then allow them to implement these measures more effectively. There is also the notion of South-South/horizontal cooperation, which includes all communities on an equal level.
Then there is the understanding that this is a two-way operation. It is important to remember one of the fundamental principles here. They want to “assist” developing nations through the “exchange of information and practical experience.” It is that idea of an exchange that is crucial here. It is not just the knowledge of the UNCRD that can be helpful in sustainable development.
The exchange of local knowledge on best practices is just as important. There is the need to improve relationships and let the voices of Japanese communities be clear. There is the appreciation that a measure or idea from those higher up may not be best for the area.
Finally, there is the knowledge that this is an ongoing process with room for development and a need for a flexible approach.
What this all means is that while there is a clear aim to bring sustainable development principles to Japan, the reach goes much further. They are keen to encourage Japanese communities to use their expertise to support other developing countries.
They also want to continue to build new, more effective strategies to help these regions deal with new issues. The ongoing nature of change and environmental issues means that today’s best practice may not suit 2018.
In addition to this, there is also the desire for increased collaboration between major bodies and these communities. This will allow a bigger audience for these voices.
It will also provide new ideas and opportunities to come to these developing areas. This means better links with the government, UN bodies, universities, private sector enterprises and other multilateral and international organizations.
The commitment of the UNCRD should ensure that Japanese communities are better equipped for the future.
This organization is a vital link between rural Japanese communities and larger organizations. The ability to come to a small community and guide them on their path to sustainable development is necessary.
The training options and support provided can ensure that regions are better prepared for the future. What makes this endeavor more interesting is the sympathy with endogenous approaches and local needs. This has the foundation of a stable relationship that can shape Japan’s future in sustainable development in a positive way.