Jul 21, 2017
On June 19 (Mon), 2017, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) invited ITO Yumeto, Officer at the International Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, YAMAGATA Ritsuko, Section Manager at the Human Resources Development Division of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and UOZUMI Yasuhiro, Chief Officer at the International Cooperation Bureau of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), to participate in a Social Outreach Seminar*.
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, highlighting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that should be accomplished by the people of the world by 2030. The Social Outreach Seminar provided an opportunity to think about the roles that can be played by the Japanese government, government agencies, international institutions and other bodies, as well as the private sector in achieving the SDGs.
Mr. ITO conveyed that the Sustainable Development Goals Promotion Headquarters set up by the Cabinet has formulated implementation guidelines, and stressed that the implementation of these will require cooperation among a broad range of stakeholders, transcending the boundaries between the public and private sectors. He added that while the SDG topics may not seem immediately relevant to the students, they are linked to popular topics such as artificial intelligence (AI), and he therefore asked students to reflect on the SDGs as issues that directly affect them.
Ms. YAMAGATA outlined JICA’s global activities in the field of healthcare, and explained that JICA looks to achieve universal health coverage, under which all people could benefit from health care services without financial struggles, and works to promote universal health coverage with the global community. She added that while everyone aspires to live healthily, the global healthcare field continues to face many challenges. She also pointed out that any involvement in international cooperation starts out with an interest in the subject, and therefore urged students to cultivate such an interest.
Finally, Mr. UOZUMI explained that the SDG-related initiatives undertaken by Keidanren fall into two categories: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) promotion activities, and economic diplomacy activities. He explained that after the SDG guidelines were issued, many Japanese companies reflected the SDG mindset not only in their CSR activities but also in their business strategies, and even started rebuilding their business strategies. He added that the SDGs should inspire business strategies and opportunities, and shared his belief that they will contribute to the creation of a design for a future society conducive to vibrant lives through the development of infrastructure, business environments, and human resources.
* Since 2010, APU has been inviting guest lecturers from a wide range of fields to speak at Social Outreach Seminars in an effort to contribute to students' learning and research.