On 9 October 2018, UNU-IAS organised the seminar Future Outlook on the World in 2050 Initiative (TWI2050), together with the Japan Committee of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). The seminar aimed to raise awareness and enhance collaboration between IIASA and the Japanese research community.
Dr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Director of UNU-IAS and Councillor of the Japan Committee of IIASA, highlighted the importance of science and understanding of synergies and trade-offs for sustainable transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, UNU-IAS, together with NIES and Keio University, has begun a new research initiative “Inclusive Research on Integrated Implementation Methodology towards Achievement of the SDGs.”
Dr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Deputy Director General of IIASA, delivered a keynote lecture on the scientific background of SDGs, interlinkages between the 17 goals, and pathways for attaining sustainable development beyond 2030. He introduced the first report published by TWI2050 “Transformations to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” and offered an update on the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C which was approved on 8 October and will be a key scientific input to the forthcoming COP24 to the UNFCCC. The TWI2050 report, focusing on the concept of synthesis, underscores that the current situation is not on track for achieving 17 SDGs in a manageable fashion and sets out six transformations and pathways needed while avoiding a siloed approach. They include human capacity and demography, smart cities, food biosphere and water, decarbonization and energy, consumption and production, and digital revolution. He emphasised that climate change is closely linked to the SDGs and that combined measures to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions can have multiple benefits for the SDGs. He stressed that the transformation towards sustainable development requires holistic perspectives and effective and inclusive governance.
Dr. Kiyoshi Takahashi (NIES) called to align climate policies with other SDGs, to understand the linkages, trade-offs and co-benefits between climate and other policies such as air pollution. Dr. Miho Kamei (IGES) proposed a combination of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) and scientific analyses to attain a sustainable vision for cities.
Dr. Tsuyoshi Fujita (NIES) called for a more extensive research scope beyond climate change that combines narrative directions and scientific and quantitative approaches to provide a more transformational impact. Prof. Norichika Kanie (Keio University) highlighted the importance of looking at the SDGs as an indivisible whole, understanding behaviour to create cohesive action and assessment of investment and the financial sector to materialise the SDGs.
The panel discussion further addressed how to achieve the SDGs, including prioritization of challenges, importance of finance mobilization, role of the private sector, consideration of poverty and inequality, by responding to the questions raised by the audience. The seminar concluded that a science-based, long-term vision and shared understanding among multi-stakeholders are required in the efforts towards achieving the SDGs and acknowledged the need to take a multi-disciplinary approach, strengthening collaboration in the science community.