On 30 March 2022, UNU-IAS organised a symposium to discuss the future of Japanese universities and their role in achieving the SDGs as part of the institute’s UNU SDG–Universities Platform (SDG–UP). The event engaged 348 participants from universities across Japan in discussions by four working groups on Management, SDGs Curriculum, University Collaboration, and University Evaluation and Accountability.
In opening remarks, Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) outlined the objectives and activities of SDG–UP, emphasising that the platform was an initiative aiming to develop a new model of inter-university collaboration involving diverse stakeholders.
Mariko Kobayashi (Director for International Affairs Division, Minister’s Secretariat, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)) highlighted MEXT’s role in supporting UNU-IAS educational and research activities. She also expressed her hope that the symposium would lead to further development of SDG–UP.
Session 1: The Role of University Management in Promoting SDGs
Working Group on Management
The group discussed issues that university leaders should address in promoting the SDGs, including vision, organisation, budget, and diversity, and presented relevant case reports.
Session 2: Development of Inter-University Online Learning Materials
Working Group on SDGs Curriculum
Universities that collaborated on developing an online course "Introduction to the UN SDGs“ presented a summarised version of the learning materials.
Session 3: Promoting the SDGs from a Japanese perspective
Working Group on University Collaboration
The group delivered presentations on initiatives promoting the SDGs in Japan, highlighting their collaborative approach. University students discussed ways to strengthen and evolve their own initiatives.
Session 4: The Significance and Challenges of THE Impact Ranking in University Evaluation
Working Group on University Evaluation and Accountability
The group discussed SDG-related efforts by universities around the world and in Japan, and shared best practices by SDG–UP member universities.
A detailed report of the event is available in Japanese.