On 12 October 2016, on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the Global Environmental Outreach Centre (GEOC) hosted the UNU-IAS SDG Dialogue Event “GEOC 20th Anniversary Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals and Local Partnerships: GEOC and Future Partnerships”. Since its establishment in 1996, GEOC has built and maintained strong partnerships with Japanese civil society, and worked to facilitate connections among the industry, government, academia, and the private sector.
Opening remarks were given by Yoshimi Okunushi (Ministry of the Environment) and Kazuhiko Takemoto (UNU-IAS), who reflected on the achievements of GEOC over the past 20 years, as well as its vital role in facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships to resolve global challenges, such as the realisation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
In the first of two keynote lectures, Hikaru Kobayashi (Keio University) explained how partnerships can bring added value that extends beyond the environmental sector. He expressed his hope that GEOC’s role can be expanded in the future.
In the second keynote lecture, Norichika Kanie (UNU-IAS) explained the interlinked and cross-cutting nature of the SDGs. He introduced Champions 12.3, a multi-stakeholder partnership initiative led by the Netherlands, and suggested that GEOC should lead similar initiatives in the future.
The lectures were followed by a panel discussion moderated by Masahisa Sato (Tokyo City University). Discussions took place between four panelists: Osamu Abe (Rikkyo University), Katsuji Imata (CSO Network Japan), Emiko Nagasawa (Japan Business Federation Project Service), and Mikiko Nagai (UNU-IAS). The speakers highlighted the importance of clarifying responsibility in multi-stakeholder initiatives, building partnerships with people who face similar issues, establishing youth-centred mechanisms, facilitating partnerships among coordinating agencies, and ensuring all stakeholders are on an equal footing.
The symposium closed with remarks from Tsunao Watanabe (UNU-IAS). He reaffirmed GEOC’s continued commitment to connecting local actions and global goals, and creating partnerships that can change the world.
For more information, see the news story on the UNU-IAS website.