This new academic platform was established by UNU-IAS in 2020. It engages Japanese universities to collaborate and exchange dialogue on opportunities and challenges in promoting the SDGs. SDG–UP is designed to contribute to the sustainable development of Japan and the world through collaboration between United Nations University and Japanese universities. The project activities aim to take the lead in transforming the individual behaviour of stakeholders involved in the higher education sector, aiming to contribute towards realising a more resilient society, and supporting individuals to take actions to ensure a more sustainable future for all.
In the membership selection process, the diversity of universities was carefully considered by regional balance, size, and types of the universities, as well as specialisation of each participating university. During the first year, the six workshops took place online and in a hybrid format. SDG-related initiatives of 28 participating universities were shared and discussed together with special lecturers on the importance of external evaluations including Times Higher Education Impact Ranking, and Yale Sustainability Initiatives. The special features of the workshops are the direct dialogue with internationally renowned professionals and the discussions among representatives of the universities in different subjects surrounding SDGs. In the session of the first year held in March 2021, summary panel discussions (SDG curriculum, Management, Sustainable Finance, Evaluation, and Accountability) were organised and a total of four recommendations were agreed by the participating universities. The second year of the project will be focused more on the realisation of these recommendations.