Symposium Links Sustainable Development Goals to Local Challenges

  • 2015•02•02     Tokyo

    Photo: POST2015

    Photo: POST2015

    A symposium co-organized by UNU-IAS on 16 January 2015 explored challenges remaining from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and discussed the processes leading to an integrated post-2015 development agenda, including goals and targets for 2030 and the progression of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also considered local and global challenges for implementation, and approaches for sustainable cooperation and collaboration between science, local governments, businesses and other actors.

    In his keynote speech “Post MDGs and Global Governance”, Prof. Keizo Takemi (Member of the House of Councillors, Japan; Professor, Tokai University), noted that governance will be crucial in setting up and implementing the new SDGs. He welcomed the involvement of civil society and other actors through the UN’s Open Working Group on SDGs. He also stressed that the SDGs should adopt a human-centered development approach. Furthermore, in order to tackle pressing challenges such as poverty and inequality a comprehensive “human security” approach is necessary, and this should be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.

    Prof. Norichika Kanie (UNU-IAS and Tokyo Institute of Technology) provided an overview of the ongoing international negotiations on the SDGs, highlighting four challenges that sustainable development will face in Japan and globally: (i) creation of integrated goals; (ii) governance for the SDGs; (iii) Japan’s role in the international community; and (iv) cooperation between science and other stakeholders in implementing the SDGs.

    The first of two panel discussions focused on “Implications for a Post-2015 Development Agenda: Perspectives from Science and Policy”, and stressed the following points:

    • in incorporating science into policy, it is important to foster active cooperation between businesses and NGOs, together with policymakers and local actors, to achieve sound policy implementation;
    • to tackle cross-cutting challenges, it is important to build understanding and cooperation between specialists and the people who will experience these challenges in their daily lives, and to create partnerships to ensure mutual understanding and literacy;
    • international organizations hold an important role in implementing global goals at each level;
    • the gap between goal-setting and implementation needs to be filled; and
    • it is important to adjust perspectives to the local level, but also to discuss and identify the key players for transitioning from global targets to local implementation.

    The second panel discussed “What needs to be done for implementation?”, raising the following points on implementation of the SDGs in Japan:

    • global partnerships in methodology and follow-up/review processes will play a crucial role in implementation of the post-2015 development agenda;
    • in the implementation of the SDGs it will be important to support data revolution, policy innovation in areas with growing populations, and improvement of social well-being in least-developed countries;
    • to respond to challenges arising from natural and social changes (for example in security, safety and wealth), it will be important to create and sustain a “resilient society” that is underpinned by science and technology; and
    • it is critical to link global frameworks such as the SDGs to local challenges.