EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – MAY 15, 2019
The Committee adopted a resolution to concur in the recommendation contained in the report.
Recommendation #3 does not require City Council approval.
Mayor Michael Fougere, Councillors: John Findura (Chairperson), Lori Bresciani, Jerry Flegel, Bob Hawkins, Jason Mancinelli, Andrew Stevens and Barbara Young were present during consideration of this report by the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee, at its meeting held on May 15, 2019, considered the following report from the Administration:
1. That the Mayor be approved to enter into a Friendship City Agreement between the City of Regina and the City of Fujioka, Gunma, Japan, as outlined in Appendix A.
- That the Administration be directed to develop guidelines for assessment criteria involved in determining both Sister City Agreements and Friendship City Agreements by Q4 of 2019.
- That this report be forwarded to the May 27, 2019 City Council meeting for approval.
Due to an existing, longstanding educational relationship that began in 1991 between Fujioka and the Regina Public School and Regina Catholic School Divisions, and the University of Regina, the City of Regina has been involved in and invited to several events and initiatives supporting this relationship. As a result, a relationship was formed between the respective Mayors and Administrative staff from the cities of Regina and Fujioka.
To formalize the relationship between the two cities, Fujioka has requested that the City of Regina enter into a Friendship City Agreement. Entering into this Agreement formalizes the longstanding relationship and invites, encourages and facilitates cultural and economic ties and opportunities between the cities and perhaps the province/prefecture.
The primary goal of a friendship city relationship is to open lines of communication and share information between cities, while creating an environment of goodwill. While funding limitations may preclude travel or more formal program activities, Friendship City Agreements provide opportunities to initiative information exchanges and the ability to generate community interest and support. Depending on the mutual interest and benefits to both cities, a Friendship City Agreement can lead to a Sister City Agreement.
Establishment of a friendship city relationship is a way for cities to initiate and formalize relationships with international cities, on a less formal basis than through an official sister city relationship. Friendship city engagement with foreign municipalities fosters increased global cooperation and communication at the municipal level for the benefit of participating cities.
Friendship City Agreements differ from Sister City or Twinning Agreements as they do not involve prescribed funding or other resources to achieve specific goals and objectives, apart from hospitality associated with a meeting or reception and minor administrative expenses such as the preparation of reports and documents for signing.
A Sister City Agreement takes some time to establish and must include more than protocol visits. Commonalities that involve economic development, arts and cultural components, trade opportunities and other joint similarities and ventures must be involved. In addition, Sister City Agreements not only involve the municipalities, but also demonstrated linkages and partnerships to major industry, agricultural producers and other community stakeholders.
The City of Regina has one Sister City Agreement with the City of Jinan, Shandong Province, China. Archived records show that this Agreement was originally entered into in August 1987, and focused on economic, cultural and urban development exchanges. Generally, Sister City Agreements are more prescriptive in nature, specifying the need and number of protocol visits and costs of hosting such visits. The cities of Regina and Jinan still maintain contact but have not been involved in personal visits for about a decade or so.
Many major cities in Canada and the United States have current and active Sister City arrangements; however, there are many factors involved, such as the amount of direct economic benefits and connections to major investment opportunities, as well as a commitment to a specified number of protocol visits and the costs of hosting international delegations.
Fujioka is a city located in southwestern Gunma Prefecture in the northern region of Japan, with an estimated population of approximately 67,000. Like Saskatchewan, Gunma is land locked.
As noted above, the Regina-Fujioka Student Exchange Program (RFSEP) was created in 1991 and continues to be active today. In addition, the University of Regina offers Japanese language instruction. The Department of International Languages also offers Bachelor of Arts in Japanese, which is very unique in Canada. The University of Regina and Gunma University of Health and Welfare entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate student exchanges and to collaborate on various research projects.
In terms of economic ties between Saskatchewan and Japan, the main agricultural exports from Saskatchewan are canola, wheat and barley. Other exports include flour, potash and uranium. Crop research has been shared between the two provinces, as well.
The primary principles and commitments outlined in the Friendship Agreement are as follows:
• to promote and celebrate international diversity, inclusion of peoples, practices and societies;
• to foster mutual understanding, cooperation, respect, communication, international goodwill and the sharing of information;
• to meaningful collaboration and exploration of mutually beneficial opportunities in the areas of social, education, economic, arts and cultural activities between the cities and community stakeholders;
• to create awareness of, and to promote and exchange ideas, initiatives and information respective to individual cultures.
Mayor Arai and Administrative staff from the City of Fujioka have reviewed and accepted the terms and conditions of the attached Friendship City Agreement, and upon consideration and approval by Regina City Council, welcome the opportunity to visit Regina in August for a formal signing ceremony.
Apart from minor costs associated with hospitality (meeting or reception) and minor administrative expenses such as the preparation of reports and documents for signing, there are no financial implications involved with entering into a Friendship City Agreement with the City of Fujioka.
None with respect to this report.
Policy and/or Strategic Implications
Due to the existing relationships and potential for global economic development opportunities, research development and other shared interests, the Administration sees value in formalizing a Friendship City Agreement.
None with respect to this report.
None with respect to this report.
Mayor Arai, City of Fujioka, and administrative staff are visiting Regina early August, at which time the Friendship Agreement will be officially signed.
The recommendations contained in this report require City Council approval.