Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, highlighted Japan’s focus on three pillars: promotion of “Society 5.0”; the role of local governments and regionalization; and the future generation.
Yuki Kawahara, President, Taiyo Jyuken Co, Ltd, launched his company’s ‘Voluntary Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Review’ – the first company SDG review of its kind.
Kazuhiko Takeuchi, IGES President, emphasized the need to integrate efforts on fragmented activities in order to have a greater impact.
17 July 2019: On the sidelines of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), representatives from government, business and civil society in Japan discussed what it takes to have a “Whole-of-Japan” approach to implementing the SDGs.
The event took place on 17 July in New York, US. It was organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and was co-hosted by the Ministry of the Environment Japan (MOEJ). Speakers presented their perspectives and work to align their actions with the SDGs. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, IGES President, opened the event, and highlighted the value of coordinating efforts to address climate change, biodiversity and other sustainable development challenges.
Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, noted the importance of multi-stakeholder engagement in addressing global challenges. He highlighted Japan’s focus on three pillars: promotion of “Society 5.0”; the role of local governments and regionalization; and the future generation.
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), called attention to the upcoming launch of a report on SDG implementation across the region. She also noted the region’s challenges related to an ageing population, and said Japan’s experience provides lessons for other countries.
Satoru Morishita, Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, MOEJ, reviewed Japan’s SDG institutional implementation structure, including the establishment of an SDG promotion headquarters and SDG promotion roundtable meetings, which bring a range of stakeholders together. He called attention to the establishment of an SDG Award, to recognize companies, local governments and civil society organizations (CSOs) who are working on the SDGs. Morishita also noted Japan’s efforts to lead the Group of 20 (G20) outcomes to include SDG issues. He reported that the 5th Basic Environmental Plan of Japan proposes “circulating and ecological economy” as its centerpiece.
We cannot look at the SDGs in isolation.
Yuji Kuroiwa, Governor, Kanagawa Prefecture, highlighted the “Vibrant Lives” approach his government has initiated, and said the SDGs are aligned with this concept. He discussed Kanagawa’s efforts to create a system to align with the SDGs, and noted he is sharing this model at the Local 2030 event at the HLPF. He also called attention to the challenges that Japan faces as a “super-aged” society.
Masaya Futamiya, Chair, Committee on Responsible Business Conduct and SDGs Promotion, Keidanren, and Chair, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., discussed the “Society 5.0 for SDGs” model, which focuses on using digital technology and data to create a society where people lead diverse lives in a human-centric society. He said the model is complementary to the SDGs. He also discussed the Charter of Corporate Behavior and Keidanren’s hosting of the B20 Summit as a contribution to the G20.
Satya Tripathi, Head of the New York Office of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), highlighted Japan’s leadership in thinking holistically about complex issues, stressed that “we cannot look at the SDGs in isolation,” and said the climate challenge means we need to stop being “incremental.”
Tsuneo Oba, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Japan, highlighted that the Global Compact gives a human face to the global market, and noted the Network’s collaborative activities to drive action on the SDGs.
Nobue Amanuma, Senior Policy Researcher, IGES, discussed the results of a survey IGES conducted to find out what Japanese companies know about the SDGs. She noted that while many laws promote gender equality, unconscious biases keep them from being implemented.
Yuki Kawahara, President, Taiyo Jyuken Co., Ltd., launched his company’s ‘Voluntary Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Review’ (VSMER) – the first company SDG review of its kind. The Review provides an overview of what his company is doing with regard to the SDGs. Kawahara noted a number of elements, such as his company’s support and employment of individuals with disabilities, and pledged that his company will continue to innovate.
Junichi Fujino, Principle Researcher, IGES, recalled that three Japanese local governments were the first to launch Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) at the HLPF in 2018. He highlighted that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can support local governments, and congratulated Kawahara on his leadership.
Nanami Kado, Branch Coordinator of New York, Japan Youth Platform for Sustainability, highlighted that Japanese youth groups are involved in campaigns, advocacy efforts, and policy proposals and coordination.
Speakers during a closing panel commented on their expectations of the Japanese Government and stakeholders. Minoru Takada, Team Leader, Division for Sustainable Development Goals, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), highlighted that Japan is a reliable partner, and suggested that it do more to communicate its lessons learned about adopting an integrated approach. Felipe Morgado, Senior Manager, UN Global Compact, noted the value of the government’s institutionalization of roundtables to foster business engagement. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Asia-Pacific, said Japan is an important leader, and suggested focusing on gender issues and increasing female leadership. Masao Seki, Chair of the Task Force on Keidanren’s Charter of Corporate Behavior, said business and human rights are interconnected.
Takeuchi closed the event, emphasizing the need to integrate efforts on fragmented activities in order to have a greater impact. [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]