Conversation Series

The Environment and the SDGs: Why the World Is Falling Behind and What Needs to Be Done

On 30 March, UNU will host a conversation with Dr Juha Uitto, Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the Global Environment Facility.

- Asia/Tokyo
1F Annex Space, 5–53–70 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925

On 30 March 2023, UNU will host “The Environment and the SDGs: Why the World Is Falling Behind and What Needs to Be Done”, a conversation with Dr Juha Uitto, Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the Global Environment Facility. This hybrid event (online and in-person) will start at 18:30 on Zoom and in the 1F Annex Space at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.

As the world faces multiple challenges pertaining to environmental and ecosystem degradation, climate change, natural resource management, pandemics, growing inequality, migration, and refugee flows, it is important to recognise that these problems are all interlinked. It is not adequate to address environment and climate without addressing other challenges that have overlapping drivers.

Dr Juha Uitto will join UNU Rector Tshilidzi Marwala for a conversation exploring the importance of employing a ‘systems perspective’ to achieve environment-focused Sustainable Development Goals. The event will examine what it will take to truly build global environmental resilience, the pitfalls of business-as-usual approaches, and the role of science, research, and evaluation in informing policymaking. The discussion will also spotlight signs of hope with examples from the Global Biodiversity Framework, the High Seas Treaty, and the work of the Global Environment Facility,

The UNU Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation; you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation and at the reception that will follow, where all event attendees are invited to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks while exchanging ideas and making new contacts.

Please note that this event will be in English. Advance registration (by 29 March) is required.

Please also note that entry into the venue will not be allowed after 18:45. Additionally, please be prepared to present identification at check-in.


To attend this event in-person at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo, register here:

To attend this event online via Zoom webinar, register here:
Virtual participants will receive an email on the day of the event with a link to join the Zoom webinar.

About the speaker

Dr Juha Uitto is Director of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an operational entity of the financial mechanism for five multilateral environmental conventions on biodiversity, desertification, climate change, and environmentally harmful chemicals.

Dr Uitto has headed the GEF IEO since 2014, prior to which he worked as Deputy Director and Evaluation Advisor in the UN Development Programme, IEO and Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at the GEF. He has more than two decades of experience as an evaluator during which time he has managed and conducted numerous evaluations at the global, regional, and country levels focusing on the nexus between environment and development.

Dr Uitto spent the 1990s at UNU Centre in Tokyo as senior programme officer for environment and sustainable development. He has published widely on topics related to sustainable development, environmental hazards, and evaluation, and has been a visiting scholar at Rutgers University and Kyoto University. A native of Finland, Juha was educated at the Universities of Helsinki and Lund and holds a PhD in Social and Economic Geography.

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