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International Symposium – Visionary cities, Inclusive cities –

May 20, 2019

Tokyo, Japan

The World Bank Group (WBG) is hosting a Side Event for the U20 Mayors Summit, an International Symposium on Visionary cities, Inclusive cities. The conference hosted with support from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Government of Japan aims to serve as a forum for countries to come together to learn from each other and from Japan, on how to solve complex problems of exclusion of vulnerable groups in cities.

  • Social inclusion has catapulted to become one of the most challenging and urgent agendas for both OECD and non-OECD countries. It is intrinsic to the “Leave No One Behind” philosophy that underpins the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Japan has made huge strides in advancing social inclusion. From an impressive reduction of poverty to provision of basic services for all, to care and attention for the needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities and ensuring that post-disaster programs benefit all, Japan can show many other countries, a way forward. City governments have been at the forefront of actions towards social inclusion, and policy and program innovations at the city and prefecture level abound in Japan and show the remarkable diversity of the country. These innovations have tread a fine balance between state-of-the-art responses and being in tune with the culture and values of the country and context. Yet, Japan is committed to doing more in this area, including by providing support to other countries. At the city level, similarly, mayors are committed to identifying local and regional social issues and to addressing them through mix of local, national and international expertise.

    Like Japan, the World Bank’s Platform on Social Inclusion, is also committed to enhancing social inclusion for all its client countries. Rooted in the twin goals of the World Bank Group (WBG) – that of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity –the Platform includes a mix of activities that range from research, to technical assistance and financing projects. It also has a strong network of practitioners affiliated to it, both internally, within the WBG, as well as externally. Its objectives resonate with the philosophy of the SDGs and with specific goals and targets therein.

    The World Bank Group defines social inclusion as:

    • The process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society, and more specifically as,
    • The process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity to take part in society.

    The WBG flagship report Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity argues that social inclusion can be planned and achieved. The WBG moreover acknowledges that while social inclusion is a moral imperative, there can be serious costs to not addressing it front and center.

    About Urban 20 (U20):

    Urban 20 (U20) is a city diplomacy initiative launched on December 12, 2017. It seeks to highlight the expertise of cities in addressing a range of global development challenges and to develop a joint position and collective messages to inform and enrich the discussions of national leaders at the G20 Summit through unique urban perspectives.

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    Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

    Senior Director, GSURR, World Bank Group

    In this position, Mr. Ijjasz-Vasquez leads a team of over 600 technical experts deployed across the world, leveraging global knowledge and collaborating with partners to help tackle the world’s most complex development challenges in: social inclusion and sustainability; mainstreaming resilience in all dimensions development; territorial and rural development; and urban planning, services and institutions. His team manages a portfolio of about $29 billion and the delivery of more than 200 policy and advisory reports per year. Before this, he was Director for Sustainable Development of the Latin America and Caribbean Region since November 2011, covering infrastructure, environment and climate change, social development, agriculture and rural development, disaster risk management, and urban development with an active portfolio of about $17 billion. From 2007 to 2011, he was based in Beijing, where he managed the Sustainable Development Unit for China and Mongolia. Earlier in his career, he managed the global trust-funded programs ESMAP and WSP in energy and water and sanitation, respectively. Mr. Ijjasz has a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in civil and environmental engineering, with specialization in hydrology and water resources. He has been a lecturer at the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Johns Hopkins University, and at Tsinghua University. He is a Colombian and Hungarian national. Connect with Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez on Twitter (@Ede_WBG) and LinkedIn.


    Sameh Wahba

    Director, Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience, GSURR, World Bank

    Sameh Wahba, an Egyptian national, is Director for Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience at the World Bank Group’s Social, Rural, Urban and Resilience Global Practice, based in Washington D.C, where he oversees the formulation of Bank strategy and the design and delivery of all Bank lending, technical assistance, policy advisory activities and partnerships at the global level. Prior to this, he was Practice Manager for the Urban and Disaster Risk Management unit in Africa and the Global Urban and Resilience Unit, and he served as Acting Director of Operations and Strategy for the Global Practice. He also worked as Sustainable Development Sector Leader for Brazil, based in Brasilia, and worked as urban specialist focused on housing, land, local economic development and municipal management and service delivery in Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East and North Africa Regions. Prior to joining the Bank in 2004, he worked at the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies in Rotterdam and at the Harvard Center for Urban Development Studies. He holds a Ph.D. and Masters in urban planning from Harvard University, and a B.Sc and M.Sc in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University. He speaks Arabic, French, English and Portuguese. Most recently, he co-authored the Bank’s flagship publication on “Regenerating Urban Land: A Practitioner’s Guide to Leveraging Private Investment.”


    Maitreyi Bordia Das

    Manager, Global Lead for Social Inclusion, GSURR, World Bank

    Maitreyi Bordia Das is Manager in the Global Practice for Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience and the World Bank's Global Lead for Social Inclusion. Based in Washington DC, she works on a set of issues that have to do with reducing inequality and exclusion. She has worked in both human development and infrastructure related areas at the World Bank. Of these, social protection, social development, health, urban development and water and sanitation stand out. Maitreyi has led, and been part of, several research and policy initiatives. She was the lead author of the 2013 report, "Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity"; the 2015 publication, "Scaling the Heights: Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development in Himachal Pradesh" and most recently, "The Rising Tide: A New Look at Water and Gender". She started her career as a lecturer in St Stephen's College, University of Delhi, has been a MacArthur Fellow at the Harvard Center of Population and Development Studies and worked as advisor to the United Nations Development Program. She has a PhD in Sociology (Demography) from the University of Maryland. Before joining the World Bank, Maitreyi was in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).


    Aya K. Abe

    Professor, School of Social Science & Humanities (Social Policy), Director, Center for Research on Child and Adolescent Poverty, Tokyo Metropolitan University

    Aya Abe holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Computer Science and a M.A. & Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. After working at a field office of the United Nations in India and a Japanese aid agency, she has turned her attention to domestic social policy in Japan and took a position in the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in 1999, which is a research arm of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. She has participated and led many research projects on poverty and inequality in Japan and has published numerous books and articles on poverty issues in Japan. Her 2008 book entitled “Child Poverty : Re-examining Japan’s Inequality” is widely acclaimed to be the first book in Japan which focuses on child poverty in the country. She serves on numerous committees of national and local government on poverty and social assistanceissues. In 2015, she left her previous position to take up a professorship at the Tokyo Metropolitan University. In the same year, she established the Center for Research on Child and Adolescent Poverty at the University.


    Toshio Mizuuchi

    Professor, City Research Plaza, Osaka City University


  • DATE/TIME: Monday, May 20, 2019, 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • VENUE: World Bank Tokyo Office, 14th Floor, Fukoku Seimei Building, 2-2-2 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (Please refer "ACCESS" in RELATED below)
  • Language: English and Japanese (with simultaneous interpretation)
  • CONTACT: Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC) Haruka Imoto/Asami Otsuka