The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted at the 2015 United Nations Summit. Interest in the SDGs is increasing rapidly both in Japan and overseas as issues and objectives for all countries in the world, including developed countries. By focusing on universities as centers for creating knowledge and examining research activities by researchers of Chuo University, this special feature explores the role which must be fulfilled by universities in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
This installment is written by Professor Toshikazu Kato (Faculty of Science and Engineering), Director of the Research Promotion Office at Chuo University. Professor Kato examines the feature theme of the role of universities in achieving SDGs while introducing examples of overseas initiatives.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are development goals which were adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 with the aim of building a peaceful and fair society. 17 comprehensive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were defined in order to achieve the eradication of poverty and hunger, establishment of healthcare and education, and conservation of biodiversity by 2030. Furthermore, 169 specific targets have been set. The SDGs strongly pledge that no one will be left behind. As part of this vision, Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality so that women, who comprise half of the world's population, will have more choices and be able to participate in society. Specific examples of issues requiring action include ending discrimination and violence against women, eradicating practices such as early marriage and genital mutilation that would mentally and physically hurt girls and young women, safeguarding access to reproductive health services, and ensuring equal economic and political participation. A variety of measures has been taken to address these issues in countries throughout the world*1. The SDGs were built on the previous UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (2001-2015), with the scope of the goals expanded. However, the fact that several of the SDGs address the same issues as the MDGs--namely, the eradication of poverty and hunger and the elimination of gender inequality--reflects the difficulty of resolving those issues. Indeed, over the past few decades, the United Nations and governments of various countries have repeatedly set similar goals, but have failed to achieve them. The SDGs vision of leaving no one behind demonstrates regret at past failures and a commitment to finally achieving the goals which have been set. Focusing on current gender issues and measures which have been implemented, this article introduces some examples from India, where I conduct my research, and considers the role of university in gender equality.