Grant for Global Sustainability (GGS)

Supported by the Japanese MEXT, the project aims to enrich the partnership between research and educational institutes in Japan.

Date Published
21 Nov 2023
Expected Start Date
01 Apr 2015
Expected End Date
31 Mar 2023
Project Type
Research and Capacity Development
Project Status

Background: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September 2015, more than 150 world leaders adopted Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda declared an action plan to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. It named the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), consisting of 17 universal goals and 169 targets.

UNU-IAS has initiated the Grant for Global Sustainability (GGS) since 2015 with the generous support of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, Sport, and Culture with an objective to enrich the partnership between various research and educational institutes in Japan to stimulate the policy-oriented research project in the country and to strengthen the presence of Japanese academia progressively addressing global issues prioritized in SDGs.

Modality: Partnership with universities in Japan

During the first phase of GGS (2015-2020), the UNU-IAS set four prioritized themes of the GGS (education, resilience, earth system, and gender equality) in accordance with its institutional strategic focus areas, to implement projects in collaboration with universities in Japan for maximum of three years to contribute to the achievement of SDGs. The results of the projects are to be integrated with UNU-IAS’s efforts to impact the policy making and programme designing within the UN system as well as national and regional governments as a Japan-led initiative.

Second Phase (2020–2024)

To accelerate the efforts of UNU-IAS further to scientifically contribute to the achievement of SDGs, GGS has been redesigned in 2020 under the new Strategic Plan 2020-2024 to strengthen the collaborative approach to mainstream the evidence-based policy-oriented research project. With the focus on newly prioritised thematic areas below, UNU-IAS academic programme units are playing a leading role to develop and undertake the project in close collaboration with partner universities and research institutes in Japan.

  • Governance for Sustainable Development to advance global policy dialogues on sustainable development.

  • Biodiversity & Society to advocate human-environment solutions toward living in harmony with nature.

  • Water & Resource Management to accelerate Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach.

  • Innovation & Education to advance knowledge generation and lifelong learning for a sustainable transformation.

First Phase (2015–2020)

During the first phase, 7 projects were implemented under the four themes. Below is the project titles and partner universities.

Theme A: Education and governance to achieve inclusive development

Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it will be crucial to accelerate efforts to improve education and governance to realize inclusive development, through which all people participate in and benefit from social and economic development. GGS addresses education and governance toward realising fairer development.

  • Development of the Inclusive Education System Model for Learning Improvement in Developing Countries (Hiroshima University)

  • Knowledge and skills which lead to decent work: The development of a skills assessment module for TVET graduates and curriculum evaluation in developing countries (Nagoya University)

  • Strengthening Social Resilience through Education for Sustainable Development: Building a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and Improvement Mechanisms (Tokyo University)

Theme B: Solutions to the challenges faced by the Earth’s systems

Changes in the natural environment are causing disasters, resulting in increased poverty and the vulnerability of humans and society. Human and social development, including related to food, water and energy, continue to be prioritized under the Agenda 2030, thus GGS targets to propose innovative solutions to the challenges to sustainable development faced by the Earth.

  • Enhancement of urban disaster resilience through activities of local participatory platform (Kyoto University)

  • Incorporation of biodiversity indicators into ecosystem-service forest certification towards achieving synergy between biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest use (Kyoto University)

Theme C: Solutions to the challenges encountered by cities and residential areas

In many developing countries, urbanization is progressing at a pace that exceeds social infrastructure development; and as a result, the less well-off and inflow workers are often forced to live in a poor living environment. Therefore, GGS targets to address the sustainable development of human living through prevention of deterioration of human living in the urbanized world, ameliorating conditions to improve the living environment of all people. 

  • Strategies for adaptation to sea-level rise in urban atolls through conservation and rehabilitation of natural processes of island formation (Ibaraki University)

Theme D: Solutions to Challenges Regarding Women’s Empowerment and Gender

The 2030 Agenda emphasized the cruciality of women’s empowerment to end the poverty, improved health, and eradication of violence against women, and they cannot be achieved without gender-equal participation and strong commitment of various stakeholders. Thus, the GGS tackles the issue on how to strengthen their commitment to promote further gender mainstreaming which must be a solid foundation of sustainable development.

  • Improving maternal and child health and wellbeing through gender mainstreaming in Cambodia (Tokyo University)

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