United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

City of Nagoya:SDGs IDEA FORUM


    The City of Nagoya has been chosen by the Japanese government as one of the “SDGs Future Cities.” The municipal government is reflecting the ideals of the SDGs in the Nagoya City Master Plan, its highest-level plan, with the goal of achieving SDGs across the city. Since its Emergency Declaration on Waste Management in 1999, thanks to efforts by its citizens and businesses the City of Nagoya has succeeded in reducing the amount of waste by approximately 40%. The City Government intends to build on this achievement and leverage its many advantages, including the strength of its economy as a hub for world-ranking industrial technology, as well as its excellent local government services and convenient living environment, with the aim of becoming a sustainable, resilient city in which no one is left behind.


    The City of Nagoya hosts more universities than almost any other city in Japan. Universities, local communities, corporations, and government agencies are working together to create an environment in which young people can study, spend their leisure time, and work, in order to make the city attractive to university students. Against this backdrop, the city is implementing this project with the aims of resolving local community issues in light of the SDGs through ideas suggested by university students, whose awareness of the SDGs is high, and building momentum toward achieving these goals.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    Soliciting ideas from university students and developing a collaborative framework involving industry, academia, and government with a view to putting these ideas into practice will not only accelerate the pace of efforts toward achieving the SDGs but also lead to the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders.

    Implementation methodologies

    This project was first implemented in 2020. The FY2020 version had four topics on which university students’ ideas were solicited: make Nagoya an advanced recycling city, protect Nagoya’s marine resources, reduce food waste from Nagoya, and urban planning for a multicultural, multigenerational city. The entry period ran from July 31 to December 31, 2020, and ideas were accepted until January 17, 2021. Because the COVID-19 pandemic started after the project was launched, university students were invited to participate by email and workshops offering hints for devising ideas, including seminars on the SDGs and explanations of the themes, were held online for those students who entered the project. In-person workshops at which participating students and representatives of sponsoring companies could gather to hear about those companies’ initiatives toward achieving the SDGs, and students were able to exchange views with each other and with those companies, were held at times when COVID-19 infection rates were low. The submitted ideas were reviewed on paper. Students who have submitted outstanding ideas presented them at an SDGs Idea Contest to be held on February 28, 2021, at which the overall winner was selected. While the project was underway, it was introduced in the Koho Nagoya information newsletter distributed to all households in the city (approximately 1 million copies) to make residents aware of its existence.


    During the five-month entry period, 126 teams from 14 universities entered the project, and ultimately 82 ideas from 10 universities were submitted. From these 82 ideas, five were chosen for special mention, two as award winners, and one as the overall winner.

    Factors and Constraints

    University students are very highly motivated to engage with the SDGs, and this initiative, backed up by corporate sponsorship and other assistance, has helped add momentum to efforts to achieve the SDGs in the City of Nagoya. Because of COVID-19, it was not possible to carry out the study visits to waste processing plants or companies in the city or the other hands-on workshops that had been planned as part of the project. In future years, more varied forms of participation will be added in order to provide students with a multifaceted understanding of local issues related to the SDGs in Nagoya.

    Sustainability and replicability

    In addition to soliciting ideas and choosing the overall winner of the contest, a future strategy for creating a virtuous cycle that enables these ideas to be put into practice is currently under consideration. Due to the very high level of interest expressed by university students in this project, we intend to continue it in future, along with efforts directed toward output with the aim of further increasing the number of sponsoring companies. In addition, the City of Nagoya is also strengthening its collaboration with the neighboring cities and towns with which it has close everyday relationships, and expanding this project via this framework will contribute to promoting initiatives for collaboration between industry, academia, and government across a wider area.

    COVID-19 Impact

    COVID-19 affected this project in a number of ways, including necessitating a shift to online workshops and reducing the scale of the contest. However, many of the ideas submitted were expressly related to the pandemic, such as ways of reducing food loss and multicultural coexistence in the awareness of COVID-19 infection, and these ideas submitted by university students convey the message that the SDGs offer a useful perspective for combating COVID-19.

    Contact Name
    City of Nagoya
    Geographical coverage

    at sub-national level (City of Nagoya)

    31 July 2020 (start date)
    28 February 2021 (date of completion)
    More information
    Contact Information

    Sayoko, City of Nagoya:SDGs IDEA FORUM