SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
LI Kotetsu “The 67th SGRA Forum” (Report)
The 67th SGRA (Sekiguchi Global Research Association) Forum was held online on 23rd September at the Hall of Atsumi International Foundation under the title “Nobody is left behind and How to head towards materialization of SDGs overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic?” It was planned by SGRA ASIA Initiative Team and it was organized by Atsumi International Foundation and jointly organized by INAF (Institute of Northeast Asian Future). There were around eighty online participants and we had worldwide report about the United Nation’s 2030 Goal on SDGs.
Mya Dwi Rostika (Lecturer of Daito Bunka University and a member of SGRA Asian Designing Team) facilitated the Forum. Ms. Junko Imanishi, Representative of SGRA, made Opening Address and introduced SGRA and INAF and explained their course of joint organization.
LI Kotetsu (myself) played moderator. The first session was a keynote speech. The second session was five reports from the world. And designated debates and panel discussions followed. Professor HIRAKAWA Hitoshi, Director of Atsumi International Foundation and President of INAF summarized the forum.
Keynote speech was made by Dr. SADOTOMO tetsu (Lecturer of Graduate School of Nihon University, Board Member of INAF) at the Hall of Atsumi International Foundation under the title “Awareness reform in the Era of SDGs”. He is specialized in International Relations and held various posts like The Chairman of North-East Asian Academic Conference. He has published “Peace Studies in the Era of SDGs” ( Publisher: Horitsu Bunkasha) in December 2019. In the opening he emphasized that we have to acknowledge the fact that “We are living in the unsustainable world” and the process “acknowledgement → consciousness → thinking →action” is important. Then, he analyzed the goal of “sustainable development” and the current situation of “unsustainable world” clearly and appealed that in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals we have to review the present mechanism of the modern civilizations which are in large scaled, centralized and globalized and have to acknowledge that we have to strengthen present circulation-type society.
On the second session, we had five reports worldwide.
The first report online was made by Dr. Ferdinando C. Maquito, (senior staff member of SGRA) College of Public Affairs and Development, UPLB (The University of the Philippines, Los Banos), under the title “SDGs in the Philippines”. In the Philippines, countermeasure against SDGs were interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. He reported front line voices saying “We will not die from COVID-19. But we may starve to death having no jobs”. But there are hopeful signs. (1) Reviewing domestic agriculture, (2) New perception by domestic dominant companies: social role is important as with the stockholders, (3) Universities are evaluated not only by their academic achievement but also their impact on society. His report was very suggestive.
The second report was made by DU Shixin (Research fellow of INAF and Global International Relations Institute) under the title “SDGs in Hungary”. Achievement for SDGs in Hungary is high ranked in Eastern Europe (25th in the world). He reported that Hungary is playing a leading role in development of sustainability keeping good relationship with China in “development of water resources”.
The third report was made by Mr. Housam Darwisheh (Institution of Developing Economies, JETRO, SGRA Member) under the title “SDGs in Middle East and North Africa”. He reported that growth rate of average life of expectancy in these areas has been the highest in the past fifty years. Three indexes of human development (HDI) such as health, education and income and other various aspects of life has improved. According to the report “Sustainable Development in the Arab” in 2020, there would be no countries which could reach to the achievement of SDGs. He reported present situation and analyzed its reasons.
LI Kotetsu reported about “SDGs in DPRK” as the fourth report. He analyzed present situation of the society and economic development in DPRK which are not known in Japan and other international societies. He emphasized necessities of acknowledgement of their achievement of SDGs after understanding of their characteristics that they keep socialism despite being under developing country. He also reported that DPRK is undertaking toward implementation of SDGs despite of their poverty cooperating with the United Nations.
The fifth report was made by Mr. Mohamed Omer Abdin (SANTEN Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd, SGRA member) from Sudan under the title “SDGs in Africa”. Thirty years’ Dictatorial System in Sudan has collapsed in April 2019 and their interim Government started towards democratization. However, six months later, they had to declare the state of emergency including border closure or lock-down by the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained an influence of emergency declaration toward Sudan’s economy and difficulty of execution of infection control measures in a poor country where people’s income is not guaranteed.
Toward those reports, Professor HABA Kumiko (KANAGAWA University and Vice President of INAF) and MIMURA Mitsuhiro (Board Member of INAF, Chief Researcher of ERINA, Chairman of The Association for Northeast Asia Regional Studies ) extended their comments. Consequential to their comments we had heated panel discussion among keynote speakers and all the reporters. They talked about the present situation and the problem towards achievement of SDGs and countermeasure or difficulties against the pandemic.
Lastly Professor Hirakawa summarized. As to the present situation amid the pandemic, he took up the issue of vaccination of economic disparity between advanced nations and under-developing countries quoting a wealth of data. He winded up the forum introducing appeals by Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
LI Kotetsu /Director of INAF, SGRA Researcher, Member of SGRA Asian Designing Team
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala