The event organized by the UN University (UNU), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and the X.SDG Lab presented Japan’s revised guiding principles for SDG implementation, which resulted from a multi-stakeholder conference. It also highlighted the SDG implementation experiences of Canada and Germany, as well as efforts by Japanese companies and cities to contribute to achieving the Goals.
- Japan will use the insights from a recent multi-stakeholder consultation to revise its guiding principles and deepen its efforts on SDG implementation.
- While Canada is focused more on the social aspects of the SDGs, Germany places emphasis on the environmental aspects, with less emphasis on issues like gender equality and poverty eradication.
- Major Japanese companies are reviewing their practices to contribute to SDG implementation.
Norichika Kanie, Keio University, said Keio University released a white paper on SDGs for Japan and held a conference on revising the SDG implementation guiding principles, which brought together more than 200 stakeholders. To date, he noted, the review of Japan’s domestic policies has revealed that extending Japan’s existing policies will not lead to the SDGs achievement. He further mentioned that Japan’s newly identified eight guiding principles for SDG implementation are:
- Empowering all people;
- Achieving good health and longevity;
- Creating market growth, revitalizing rural areas, and promoting technological innovation;
- Promoting sustainable and resilient land use, and quality infrastructure;
- Energy conservation, renewable energy, climate change measures, and sound material-cycle society;
- Conserving the environment, including biodiversity, forests, and oceans;
- Achieving peaceful, safe, and secure societies; and
- Strengthening the means and frameworks for SDG implementation.
Aya Yoshida, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, said since 2016, the Prime Minister has organized a meeting with all Ministers twice a year to discuss SDG implementation, and that the government will use the insights from multi-stakeholder consultations to deepen Japan’s efforts to implement the SDGs.
Stefan Jungcurt, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), mentioned that the Canadian government established an SDG unit under the Department for Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in 2018, and allocated funding for Statistics Canada to help the national statistical office evaluate Canada’s performance on the SDGs and their targets. He said the Canadian government also provided funding to civil society organizations to conduct consultations on needs and priorities regarding the SDGs, which led to a report titled ‘Towards Canada's 2030 Agenda National Strategy.’ The publication will serve as the base for Canada’s national strategy for SDG implementation to be launched in the beginning of 2020. Speaking briefly on the situation of SDG implementation in Germany as well, Jungcurt mentioned that while Canada is focused more on the social aspects of the SDGs, Germany places emphasis on the environmental aspects, with less emphasis on issues like gender equality or poverty eradication.
Chikako Miyata, All Nippon Airways (ANA), said ANA reviewed how the company’s practices can contribute to SDG implementation and found that it could support human rights aspects of the Goals through strengthening measures for tracing and preventing human trafficking on flights and supporting the rights of migrant workers in Japan. She added that, in order to promote awareness of the SDGs, during the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) high-level week, all ANA flight attendants and staff will wear the SDGs safety pins.
Masatada Kobayashi, Rakuten, said Rakuten has also reviewed how the company’s practices can contribute to SDG implementation and chose to focus on four areas: accelerating social innovation; realizing sustainable consumption; making the local community sustainable; and investing in disaster relief and humanitarian aid. He noted that, in order to realize sustainable consumption, Rakuten introduced socially and environmentally conscious products to over 100 million Rakuten users and promoted articles aimed at mainstreaming the concept of “sustainable shopping.”
Nobuo Inohana, Shizuoka City, said that starting 2018, Shizuoka began incorporating SDGs into five priority projects: creating the activity base of a historical culture (SDG 16 on peace, justice, and strong institutions); creating the activity base of a maritime culture (SDG 14 on life below water); creating the activity base of an education culture (SDG 4 on quality education); promoting a city of health and longevity (SDG 3 on good health and well-being); and promoting the city as a theater (SDG 8 on decent growth and economic growth). He noted that the city is working on the conservation of the regional maritime environment and the development of human resources for research on marine biodiversity. Inohana added that, in partnership with the private sector and academic institutions, Shizuoka is also promoting maritime-related industries to attract an influx of non-resident population and contribute to the revitalization of the regional economy.
In the ensuing discussion, Emmanuel Mulbah Johnson, Assistant Minister for Youth Development, Liberia, thanked participants for the knowledge-sharing facilitated by the event and called for support to create employment opportunities for the youth in Liberia. Other participants addressed issues related to, inter alia: how to balance profitability and sustainability; ways to promote SDG implementation in countries where companies operate beyond their headquarters; and SDG “domestication” for Africa.
IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the Side (ENBOTS) meeting coverage, provided web coverage from the side event on Essence for Successful Actions towards Achieving the SDGs.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
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Cosmo Takagi | [email protected]