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Whole Institution’s Approach of SDG efforts presented at the UN headquarters: University officials led by President Makino participate in the High-Level Political Forum in July 2019

September 30, 2019

On July 15, President Hirofumi Makino made a presentation about Okayama University’s initiatives at a side-event of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) for Sustainable Development for 2030” held at the UN headquarters. It was organized by UNESCO and co-organized by the governments of Japan, Germany and Kenya.

To mark the beginning of the event, Ms. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, explained the event’s purpose: to inspire people’s interest in the contribution of ESD to the achievement of the SDGs, and to discuss frameworks plans for ESD towards 2030. Then, Mr. Fumiyasu Hirashita, Deputy Director-General for International Affairs at MEXT and Senior Deputy Secretary-General of Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, delivered a congratulatory message to the event, referring to the important role the co-organizers (governments of Japan, Germany and Kenya) play in the promotion of ESD aimed at the achievement of the SDGs.

Following this, President Makino made the only presentation at the event to introduce the university’s initiatives. He stated that the university has led ESD on a global scale since 2005 in cooperation with Okayama City, that university-wide and region-wide “whole institution’s approach” toward the SDG achievement has been implemented under the Makino Vision, that the university received the first Japan SDGs Award from the government of Japan for its achievement through the approach, and that the university led the creation of the “Asia-Pacific Frameworks for Teacher Education on ESD” as a specific effort to achieve the SDGs. He also announced that the university will host an international conference on the global framework for teacher education on ESD in November 2019.

A panel discussion chaired by Ms. Giannini also took place, with the participation of Professor Kazuhiro Yoshida from Hiroshima University (Co-chair, SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee), Ms. Kornelia Haugg (Director General for Vocational Training and Lifelong Learning, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and Ms. Kerstin Forsberg from Planeta Océano in Peru. They commented that the SDGs are a significant agenda that cannot be achieved without education, that ESD is the key for the achievement of the SDGs, that links and networks among diverse sectors are essential, and that Okayama University has taken the lead in the movement through the “whole institution’s approach” with its capacity and reliability that meet the global standard. The panelists seemed to have been particularly impressed with the presentation about the “whole institution’s approach” by President Makino, and the topic determined the direction of the discussion.

Approximately 20 persons from the government, industry and academia constituting the Japanese governmental delegation to the UN HLPF were present at the dinner party held on that evening, hosted by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations. President Makino and Vice President Atsufumi Yokoi also attended, and exchanged information widely with other participants on Japan’s present situation and future course of action regarding the SDGs.

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