The SDGs are a set of worldwide shared goals for a sustainable and better society that “Leaves No One Behind.”
We have entered an era of uncertainty as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that began spreading around the world at the end of 2019 has had an immense impact on all of us. Our vulnerability to infectious diseases like COVID-19 and other societal issues such as disasters, climate change, water shortages, and conflicts has been exposed. Even if we overcome the current pandemic, we must consider that this uncertainty will persist unless such issues are resolved. The fact that humanity shared this sense across borders is one of the most valuable experiences throughout this disaster. However, we can also approach this new set of circumstances as an opportunity to reconsider the things we had previously taken for granted and to clarify what needs to be changed for entering this new era. Under these circumstances, the SDGs that pledge to “Leave No One Behind” are becoming increasingly important.
With the motto “Live Locally, Grow Globally,” our university has consistently pursued its educational and research activities in accordance with the Osaka University Charter, which states that we contribute to social stability and welfare, world peace, and harmony between humans and the natural environment. Especially now, as a world-leading innovative university striving to create a society that fosters a sense of purpose in life, we are working to develop the OU (Osaka University) ecosystem that embodies systematic co-creation with society. Using our education and research’s core principle of focusing on the value of life, our efforts to seek solutions for societal issues are centered around the areas of protecting, nurturing, and bonding life.
The principles of the SDGs are fundamental to our university’s activities. Therefore, we consider the SDGs to be both an important roadmap for envisioning the future of humanity and a global platform for collaboration with various stakeholders in society. Our university can contribute to achieving the SDGs by actively expanding our activities. It is our wish for the university to work toward these goals as a whole, and we have established the Osaka University SDGs Committee as well as a Planning Working Group.
Specifically, in accordance with the principles of the SDGs, our university is endeavoring to promote even greater inclusion and make the most of the diversity of its members by transcending differences in sexual orientation and gender identity, physical ability, nationality, ethnicity, cultural background, and age. As for education, in addition to the exploration of advanced expertise, we will promote the development of talented individuals who can contribute to the resolution of various societal issues as represented by the SDGs. On the research front, we aim to contribute to achieving the SDGs by leveraging our research to engage in activities such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conducting research on new energy sources, and promoting research on green recovery in collaboration with overseas organizations. The SDGs also guide our plans for campus development as evidenced by efforts such as creating a carbon-neutral environment and establishing two globally minded facilities: OU Global Campus (Minoh City), which fosters diversity that transcends cultural, linguistic, and gender barriers; and Global Village Tsukumodai (Suita City) where domestic and international students, international researchers, and faculty members can live and interact.
In addition, our university has been participating in the Kansai SDGs Platform since its establishment. The Kansai SDGs Platform is comprised of private companies, civil society organizations, universities, and local governments in the Kansai region. Universities in the Kansai region play a central role in these efforts, and we recently established the University Subcommittee within this platform. We have already launched a project to promote achieving the SDGs in cooperation with corporations, NPOs, and local governments. Universities in the Kansai region play a central role in these efforts.
The 2025 World Exposition in Osaka, Kansai, Japan which will be held under the theme of “Designing Future Society for Our Lives,” also calls for achieving the SDGs. It goes without saying that as we advance the SDGs and take action to “leave no one behind,” people who are currently facing a variety of difficulties and being “left behind” will receive assistance and gain a “better and more beautiful life.” But there is more to it than that. Those who endeavor to leave no one behind will also gain a “better and more beautiful life” by engaging, sympathizing, and overcoming challenges together with those being left behind. We will also establish the Osaka University Expo 2025 Committee and use Expo 2025 as an opportunity to contribute to achieving the SDGs.
Through the global platform of the SDGs, Osaka University will expand its co-creation network to include diverse contributors including not only industries and local governments, but also economic organizations, international organizations, and citizens. In this co-creation network, we will promote the advancement of science and technology and academia, develop talented individuals who will lead the future, strive for social stability and welfare, world peace, and harmony between humans and the natural environment. In doing so, we will actively contribute to the creation of a society that fosters a sense of purpose in life.