On 15 July 2016, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) hosted a seminar on Challenges to Achieving the SDGs — Biodiversity, Agriculture and Technology with the Global Environment Outreach Centre (GEOC), Japan Civil Network for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (JCN-UNDB), and Food Trust Project at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.
The seminar began with a presentation by Ms. Elenita Dano (Asia Director, ETC Group), who highlighted the interlinkages between three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): No.2 on zero hunger, No.14 on life below water, and No.15 on life on land. She pointed out that mass production of agricultural products would cause pollution in sea water and the soil, and lead to an increase in health risks. In order to avoid this, she emphasized the need to first understand the relationships between each of the SDGs, and to introduce technology that is effective not only in terms of productivity, but also for protecting ecosystems, as well as cultural and ethical aspects of sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation.
Following Ms. Dano, Mr. Tomoya Inyaku (Head of Policy Development Department, Alter Trade Japan) drew from several agricultural products as examples to show patterns of “unsustainable industrialized agriculture”, and pointed out that mass agricultural production catering to consumers’ needs could destroy local ecosystems. He proposed “agroecology” as an alternative mode of production, which would allow food production activities to continue while maintaining biodiversity.
In parallel with the seminar, GEOC organized an exhibition to introduce biodiversity actions and local projects certified by the Japan Committee for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNDB-J).