On 13 October 2016, the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) organised a discussion on “Regional Institutions and the SDGs: Science, Policy, and Capacity Building”, as part of the institute’s SDG Dialogue series. The event brought together researchers and practitioners to discuss how the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be translated into regional and national priorities in the Asia Pacific. It was organised in cooperation with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Japan (SDSN Japan) and the Global Environment Outreach Centre (GEOC).
After Farai Kapfudzaruwa (UNU-IAS) delivered his opening speech, Katinka Weinberger, chief of the Environment and Development Policy Section of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, highlighted the importance of regionally specific solutions, and the role of scientists in shaping policies to tackle the key challenges of the 2030 Agenda. She suggested that regional science-policy interfaces could be strengthened through, for example, the creation of regional networks of academic institutions and think tanks, or through formal engagement of academic institutions in regional follow-up and review processes.
During the panel discussion that followed, Shunji Matsuoka (Waseda University) and Atsushi Ishii (Tohoku University) examined the possibilities and difficulties of integrating the SDGs in the Asian context. The last presentation was given by Hein Mallee (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature), who stressed that the SDGs were an opportunity to engage scientists, but the existing formal and informal institutional diversity in the region remains a challenge. Norichika Kanie (Keio University, UNU-IAS) concluded the event by emphasising that nodes for regional dialogue — such as the Asia Pacific Forum — were essential, and more research is needed on the institutional landscape, including how informal networks of scientists can be linked to formal networks.
For more information, visit the UNU-IAS website.