Event & News

Report on Kansai SDGs Platform Inaugural Meeting and Symposium


An Initiative from Kansai Towards Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
— Approaching SDGs from Multiple Angles and Pursuing Collaboration and Synergy Among Stakeholders —

December 16, 2017

Applying Kansai’s collective wisdom towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

JICA Kansai, the Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry (a regional branch organization of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; hereinafter “METI-Kansai”), and the Headquarter Secretariat of the Union of Kansai Governments, with the intention of improving recognition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of accelerating collaborative efforts of stakeholders in the Kansai region towards the achievement of these goals, organized an inaugural meeting and symposium on December 16, 2017 for the establishment of the Kansai SDGs Platform comprising representatives of the industry, NPO/NGOs, universities and research institutions, and local administration and government agencies in Kansai. The meeting took place at the Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka and was attended by some 300 persons including the member organizations and observers of the Kansai SDGs Platform as well as members of the press.

Establishment of Kansai SDGs Platform — Adopting the Kansai SDGs Promotion Declaration —

At the inaugural meeting, JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka and Kiyoshi Mori, Director-General of METI-Kansai made opening remarks, followed by a speech given by JICA Kansai Director Yasuko Nishino representing the joint secretariat for the Kansai SDGs Platform (formed by JICA Kansai, METI-Kansai, and the Headquarter Secretariat of the Union of Kansai Governments), explaining the charter, management guidelines and aims of the proposed platform. The proposal was then passed unanimously, resulting in the Kansai SDGs Platform being established.

A total of 10 persons from the business community, civil society organizations, universities, and local government were elected as members of the Steering Committee, and the following persons were elected as advisors: Toshizo Ido, President of the Union of Kansai Governments, Masayuki Matsushita, Vice Chairman of the Kansai Economic Federation, Minoru Furukawa, Vice Chairman of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hiroyuki Ikeda, Managing Director of the Kansai Keizai Doyukai (Kansai Association of Corporate Executives), and Yoshitane Horii, President of the Kansai Osaka 21st Century Association.

At the end of the general meeting, Takeshi Inoue, Director and General Manager of International Affairs Department, Kansai Economic Federation, who had been elected as Chairman of the Steering Committee, read out the Kansai SDGs Promotion Declaration and ascertained that all participants from many different sectors in the Kansai region would work together towards realizing the SDGs and towards strengthening the inclusive partnership based on principles and a shared sense of values focused on global humanity and the entire planet.

Lively discussions from many perspectives on how to engage with the SDGs in Kansai

The general meeting was followed by a symposium at which JICA President Kitaoka gave the keynote speech under the title “SDGs: Initiatives for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals” with the expectations for the activities and the role of the platform. Some key points of the speech are outlined below.
1)The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which preceded the SDGs produced significant achievements such as halving the number of people living in poverty, but when examined by region and sector, many issues still remain to be tackled.
2)The SDGs cover many areas and are not oriented towards the public sector taking the lead. Rather, many actors including private sector enterprises have an important role to play in self-motivated initiatives. The newly established platform should be used to widely share extensive expertise and knowledge, applying them towards innovative solutions to issues facing society.
3)SDGs initiatives emanating from Kansai as model cases are expected to also have an invigorating effect on Japan.

Subsequently, Kaoru Nemoto, Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Japan served as moderator of a panel discussion on the various approaches to SDGs and the possibilities for cooperation and synergy among the various actors. The five panelists were Toshie Ikenaga, Vice Governor of Shiga Prefecture, Genta Kawahara, Vice President of Osaka University, Noriko Atsuta, Deputy Director of the Kansai NGO Council, Hirotsugu Daishima, Director, Corporate Communications Division of Saraya Co., Ltd., and Sho Kawamura of Dari K Co., Ltd. The discussion touched upon the viewpoints and approaches that various organizations bring to the SDGs, as well as efforts which will affect future planning. The panelists also pointed out the importance of innovation and cooperation among different actors and the high expectations that are placed in the newly created platform.

Questions from the audience included topics such as the role that municipalities and the media have to play, and the ratio of domestic and international support activities that the platform will be implementing. Members of the media (The Asahi Shimbun Company) explained the importance of the media in promoting the SDGs and expressed their intention to cooperate and encourage platform activities and work towards making the SDGs better known to the general public.

  • JICA President Kitaoka made opening remarks for the inaugural general meeting and gave the keynote speech at the symposium

  • The reading of the Kansai SDGs Promotion Declaration by Steering Committee Chairman Inoue was met with resounding applause

  • Close to 300 participants at the packed venue followed the proceedings with enthusiasm

  • The lively panel discussion showed up different viewpoints on how to engage with the SDGs in Kansai

(by Kansai SDGs Platform Secretariat)