2018•07•20 TokyoOn 20 June, UNU-IAS, the Global Environmental Outreach Centre (GEOC), and the SDGs Civil Society Network (SDGs Japan) jointly organized the seminar Sustainable Coexistence with Coral Reefs.
The International Year of the Reef is a global campaign launched by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to promote ocean conservation. The seminar was held to mark the Third International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2018). At the seminar, participants actively discussed the relationship between coral reefs and the economy, environment, and society.
In his opening remarks, Tsunao Watanabe, Senior Programme Coordinator at UNU-IAS, stressed the importance of the concerted effort of different sectors to conserve marine biodiversity as addressed in the SDGs and Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Takahiro Okano, Deputy Director of Biodiversity Policy Division, Nature Conservation Bureau, Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ), explained the devastating damage coral reefs currently face due to elevated water temperatures and red soil erosion. He then introduced initiatives of the MOEJ to protect them through monitoring, education, and awareness raising.
His presentation was followed by one from Yukino Goya, Representative of JLE LLC. She shared her experience of being told coral reefs could die from the sunscreen she was using, which inspired her to develop coral-reef-safe sunscreen. She spoke about the aim of her company’s cosmetics line to provide consumers who are not experts on environmental issues the opportunity to engage in environmentally-friendly activities.
Next, UNU-IAS researcher, Evonne Yiu explained the multiple functions of coral reefs as a part of a diverse ecosystem which supports food supply, the economy, and disaster risk reduction. She highlighted the fact that our activities on the land impact marine environments and stressed the importance of interlinkages of multiple SDGs and taking actions through multi-stakeholder partnerships.
During a panel discussion chaired by Tomoko Hoshino, vice representative of the Environmental Partnership Council, panelists and participants discussed the challenges of disseminating information effectively and the importance of integrating conservation activities into business, considering the environmental impact of consumption, and linking the issue of coral reefs with the economy, society and consumption. The seminar closed with remarks by Miki Nagashima, Communication Director of Japan Civil Society Network of SDGs, stressing the importance of being aware of the consequences of our actions in order to achieve a sustainable society.