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About Sustainability…

About Sustainability… is a podcast presented by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, featuring IGES staff and guests having in-depth discussions about sustainability-related topics. Each episode addresses a different topic of conversation -- be it an upcoming event, a debate of interest, or an interesting research finding. With the topic as a starting point, we see where the conversation takes us. We aim at a broad audience, so we avoid using jargon and try not to assume lots of pre-existing knowledge on the topic. Views expressed during the podcast are those of the speaker at the time of recording and are not the official positions of IGES or other organisations involved.

Tracks

A few perspectives on UNEP's 6th Environment Assembly and its "OECPR"
In this episode Alice and Andre talked to Simon about the United Nations Environment Assembly, also known as UNEA, which is the decision-making body of the United Nations Environment Programme. UNEA takes place in Nairobi every second year and it is always preceded by the so-called OECPR, which stands for the Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives. This committee functions as the working level meeting that prepares decisions and resolutions for official approval by UNEA. This year, UNEA-6 took place in late February and I joined some of the preparations for that meeting, so in this episode we discuss some of the things that took place during the OECPR and UNEA to draw attention to those processes of international environmental governance that influence the agenda of domestic environmental policy making. Join us and listen."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
34:19 5/9/24
Looking back on the career of emeritus IGES Executive Director, Hideyuki Mori
On this episode of About Sustainability…, Andre,  Alice and Simon celebrate the contribution of an IGES legend, Mr Hideyuki Mori. Mori-san has been a leader at IGES for most of the institute’s history, following diverse experience at other institutions including the United Nations Environment Programme and Asian Development Bank. He retired last year and we wanted to speak to him about his career including his long tenure at IGES. In this discussion we also reminisce about long-time colleague Peter King, who appeared on the podcast last year, but unexpectedly passed away a few months ago.  Mori-san and Peter were friends, and played a key role in steering IGES’ course as in international institute.This episode will probably be of particular interest to IGES staff members or prospective IGES staff, but there should be something for anyone who is interested in careers in the environment. "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
38:21 3/28/24
About Climate Action (SDG 13): Framing Climate Change as a Security Issue and Outcomes of UNFCCC-COP28
On this episode of About Sustainability…, Alice and Erin were joined by Naoyuki OKANO and Nagisa SHIIBA, IGES experts working on Climate Adaptation. This episode, recorded in December 2023, offers a quick recap of what happened at COP28 in Dubai and then dives deep into the far-reaching impacts of climate change on human security. Hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) brought the world’s leaders together to discuss how to confront the climate crisis. Some of its main outcomes include the first Global Stocktake (GST), the agreement on the framework for operationalising the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), and the agreement on the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund. Naoyuki and Nagisa introduce us to their new research project on Climate Security in the Asia Pacific, funded by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We discuss how framing the climate crisis as a security issue can be a powerful approach to mobilising resources across areas and tackling global challenges.ABOUT OUR GUESTSDr. Naoyuki OKANO is a Policy Researcher in the Adaptation and Water Unit of IGES. He works on issues related to the laws and governance of climate change adaptation, nature-based solutions, transboundary climate risks, and climate security. Nagisa SHIIBA is a Policy Researcher at the Adaptation and Water Unit of IGES. She is engaged in research projects on climate change adaptation and supports the negotiation process for the Japanese delegation to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.RELEVANT PUBLICATIONS AND PROJECTSAsia-Pacific Climate Security Project (APCS) Website TIMESTAMPS00:10 - 02:10             Intro                                         02:10 - 05:06             COP 28                                   05:06 - 13:18             Global Goal on Adaptation     13:18 - 17:33             Loss and Damage 17:33 - 36:07             Climate Security 36:07 - 51:18             Climate Migration 51:18 - 54:22             Food Security 54:22 - 57:00             Balancing Security Issues in Climate Adaptation Plans "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
57:55 1/31/24
Tackling plastic pollution: Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) updates
On this episode of About Sustainability…, Erin, Alice, and Simon were joined by Matthew Hengesbaugh and Chochoe Devaporihartakula, IGES experts working on plastic pollution. While plastics have been an indispensable part of modern life, plastic pollution has entered the public consciousness in recent years. It is an issue that most of us encounter every day.The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) agreed in 2022 to create an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to establish a legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. We discussed how serious plastic pollution is in Asia, what the INC is trying to achieve, what was discussed at the recent meeting (INC-3) including the challenges that emerged, and what is needed for an ambitious treaty to tackle this transboundary issue.About our guests:Chochoe Devaporihartakula manages the regional project portfolio addressing plastics and marine pollution at the IGES Bangkok Regional Centre. She also serves as a Programme Manager for the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network, where she is dedicated to promoting improved compliance with environmental laws and regulations through environmental agencies across 18 countries in Asia.Matthew Hengesbaugh is a Policy Researcher supporting the IGES Integrated Sustainability Centre with action research on the 2030 Development Agenda, working on issues such as climate change, green jobs, green economy, and sustainable consumption and production.Relevant publications and projects:Previous podcast episodes on this topic:What is UNEA-5.2?Updates from the ongoing political and scientific processes to reduce plastic pollutionSWITCH-Asia’s policy brief on INC-3"About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
39:11 12/25/23
A life dedicated to the environment
It’s been a while since our last installment but today’s episode is a special interview with a long-serving member of IGES who has had a fascinating career, from which he just recently retired. Peter King has been based at IGES’s office in Bangkok, but has been mentor and advisor to many of us at IGES. In a wide-ranging discussion Alice, Shom, Simon and Andre spoke with Peter about his career, his reasons for choosing it, and the environment in general. Please listen in especially if you’re starting off in any environmental discipline - you’re sure to learn something from Peter. "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
59:05 7/21/23
SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Our guest on this episode is Akihisa Kuriyama, a policy researcher in IGES’ Climate & Energy Unit. He joins us to talk about SDG7 on energy. We spoke about the relationship between energy and climate; what’s new about SDG 7 in the global discussion on energy; some of the barriers and challenges in achieving the goal; the possibilities of nuclear energy; and the best ways of getting energy to the largest possible number of people, as quickly as possible. A number of examples were given to illustrate parts of the discussion.Relevant links:SDG7: GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyKuriyama-san’s work at IGES: https://www.iges.or.jp/en/about/staff/kuriyama-akihisa  "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
52:30 5/2/23
Updates from the ongoing political and scientific processes to reduce plastic pollution
In this episode we met with Amila from IGES who shared the latest updates on  international plastics governance.  Among others, he described details on the international negotiations committee that was formed last year to define a legally binding instrument to curb plastic pollution. We heard who is on that committee and what they do when they meet. He also explained details and challenges around what is called the life cycle approach and explained why experts are working on approaches to account for the impacts of plastics throughout its entire life cycle. In this regard we were also able to hear some examples of the work he and his colleagues are doing to help build the needed capacity at local levels to measure plastic pollution and to be able to take steps to reduce it.Relevant links:Information on the lifecycle approach: https://www.lifecycleinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/UNEP-D010-Food-Packaging-Re[…]Version-1-1.pdf/UNEP-D010-Food-Packaging-Report-2-1.pdf What makes reliable data for microplastics policy? ​​https://isap.iges.or.jp/2022/en/t13.html "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
46:39 1/27/23
SDG6: Water, water everywhere, but how is it managed?
In this episode of About Sustainability…Erin and Bob talked to Binaya Raj Shivakoti, an IGES expert in the Adaptation and Water team, about SDG6, which is on “ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” (or simply ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’). This goal’s environmental dimensions are clear, and has targets on the universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene for all; improving water quality and water-use efficiency; implementing integrated water resource management; protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems; fostering international cooperation, and involving local communities in water and sanitation management.During our chat, we talked about water being fundamental to all aspects of life and what life can be like for communities without access to these basic needs. We then explored integrated water resource management (IWRM), which Binaya argued is a natural starting point for implementing all the SDGs.Related linksUNDESA’s SDG6 PageRecent work on integrated river basin management (a form of integrated water resource management)Binaya’s recent publication on Tonle Sap LakeIGES publications relevant to SDG6About our guest:Binaya Raj Shivakoti is a Senior Policy Researcher in the Adaptation and Water team at IGES. His expertise includes, among others, local disaster risk management and planning, promotion of traditional/indigenous and local knowledge, wastewater management, and integrated implementation of the SDGs using river basin approaches."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
48:04 1/10/23
SDG5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
In this episode of About Sustainability..., Andre and Erin spoke with their colleague, Maiko Morishita, about SDG5, on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Maiko is part of the IGES finance task force, which covers a variety of topics but she also previously worked in the NGO world where gender was a key component of her work. We started by asking Maiko why she thinks this goal is important. We then proceeded through a winding conversation that touches on various aspects of SDG5, albeit not all aspects of this diverse goal. The idea was to explore this SDG and really dig into some of the ideas behind it. So we hope it provides a bit of depth and a bit of breadth, and hopefully some fresh perspectives. Related linksUN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Goal 5 PageSustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)’s 2022 Sustainable Development ReportAbout our guest:After working at a foreign investment bank, Maiko Morishita was involved in a development education program for an NGO involved in international exchange. Since 2010, Oxfam Japan has conducted research and proposals on climate change (adaptation finance), food issues (support for small farmers, land rights), development finance (ODA, environmental and social considerations, public-private partnerships), business and human rights, etc. In February 2019, Maiko joined the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). She graduated from Keio University’s Faculty of Law."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
50:47 12/27/22
Regional or Local Circulating and Ecological Spheres (CES) - Sustainability Afoot #2
In this episode of About Sustainability…In episode 2 of the Sustainability Afoot series, Bob took a walk with Dr. Bijon Kumer Mitra to find out what Regional/Local CES (Regional or Local Circulating and Ecological Spheres) is.   In brief, CES is an approach supported by the Government of Japan that is focused on bottom-up policy development that seeks to simultaneously address local or regional Economic, Environmental, and Societal issues in an integrated and sustainable way.Relevant links:IGES’ CES PublicationsThe Japanese Government’s 5th Basic Environment PlanAbout our Guest:Bijon Kumer MITRA is a Deputy Director of the Integrated Center for Sustainability and Water and Adaptation Unit of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in Japan. He has more than 17 years of experience in the field of integrated natural resource management with a focus on sustainable water resource management. He uses a quantitative assessment framework to assess natural resource allocation trade-offs, aiming to provide guidance for optimal decision-making. His research interests include water-energy-food-climate nexus, water environment management, and rural-urban linkages. He leads the Circulating and Ecological Sphere (CES) projects at IGES. Mitra holds a Ph.D. degree in the Science of Biotic Environment from Iwate University, Japan."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
29:05 12/13/22
Renewing Commitments to Nature: Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
In this episode of About Sustainability…Erin and Simon caught up with Andre just before his trip to Montreal, Canada for the second part of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15). A few things have changed since the release of our CBD episode back in March. CBD COP15 will now be convened from the 7th to the 19th of December 2022 in Montreal, Canada under the Chinese COP15 presidency.After a two-year delay, Parties will finally come together to negotiate and agree on the text of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (or GBF). We explored some of the highlights and interesting aspects of the GBF, including the “30by30” target, other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs), and digital sequence information.Relevant links:IGES’ Special Webpage on CBD COP15About Sustainability… episode on the CBDPreparations for the post-2020 GBF"About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
30:32 11/30/22
Circular Economy (Sustainability Afoot #1)
In this episode of About Sustainability…Bob kicked off a new experimental format, tentatively called “Sustainability Afoot”.  The concept is simple: go for a walk near the headquarters of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Hayama, Japan, and discuss some basic questions about a topic, concept, or methodology that IGES works in. The first episode of this format is about the concept of the “circular economy.”  Yasuhiko Hotta, Programme Director of the Sustainable Consumption and Production unit at IGES, explained the circular economy concept, gave a few examples, and talked about some of IGES’ work on the topic.  This naturally led to marine plastic litter, and the ongoing work of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Plastic Pollution that came out of UNEA 5.2 (the second part of the 5th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly), a conference that we discussed on this podcast  before and after it happened.The sound quality of this format will not match that of  our regular episodes.  We’ll try to get better at recording these types of episodes, but the audio will never be as clean. Whether  we should do more episodes like this, or the sound quality will make you stop listening, we want to know.  Please tweet us at @IGES_EN to let us know what you think!About our guest:Yasuhiko Hotta is Programme Director of the Sustainable Consumption and Production unit at IGES. His expertise includes 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) policies, sustainable resource management, extended producer responsibility (EPR), the circular economy, and plastics. "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
32:43 11/14/22
SDG4 (part 2): Education and sustainable development - are we teaching the right things?
This is the second part of our episode on SDG4 and education for sustainable development. In this part we focused on whether the right skills are taught in schools to equip people with skills and priorities necessary to bring about a more sustainable world rather than one characterized by competition and scarcity.  Robert shared more information and examples from his work on education for sustainable development, and we discussed what approaches to education might be needed to help achieve important sustainable development and climate goals ahead of 2030."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
35:59 10/31/22
SDG4 (part 1): Why is education so important for sustainable development?
In this episode we talked with our good friend Robert Didham. He is Centre Director and Associate Professor at the Centre for Collaborative Learning for Sustainable Development Faculty of Education, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. We talked to Robert about education for sustainable development and its place in Agenda 2030 as SDG 4. He explained how SDG 4 takes a comprehensive focus on education when compared to earlier approaches such as the Millennium Development Goals. We then discussed some of the different facets of education such as a more qualitative view on education that is being promoted including focus on youth, technical vocational education and training, gender, jobs and education as lifelong learning. This episode is divided into two parts to allow for more space for discussion. Part two focuses more on Robert’s work on education for sustainable development, and what approaches to education are needed to help achieve important sustainable development and climate goals. But that will be in our next release. At small correction shall be noted: At 2:20 in the recording, when Robert was referring to the international framework that is the follow-up to the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, he misnamed this framework by referring to it as the Education for 2030 framework, and it should have been correctly referred to the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for 2030 framework.Please visit ESD for 2030 framework and the subsequent ESD for 2030 roadmap for further information on these initiatives."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
40:08 10/14/22
SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being
In this episode of About Sustainability..., Erin, Andre, and Bob invited Eric Zusman back to talk about SDG3 on Health. Eric works on co-benefits between air pollution mitigation and climate action, which has significant implications for public health. Meanwhile, Erin provided some context and perspectives based on her public health background. We started the discussion with what it means to be ‘healthy’ and what is required to attain good health. We then moved onto what SDG3 emphasises (and what it does not), what is missing from SDG3, global progress on the goal, and COVID-19’s impacts on our efforts and on health systems more generally. We then looked more deeply into air pollution specifically, as it is responsible for the premature deaths of approximately seven million people annually. We explored linkages with climate change, solutions that benefit air quality, climate mitigation and health, and the challenges or tradeoffs of implementing such solutions.Related linksUN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Goal 3 PageSustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)’s 2022 Sustainable Development ReportStrengthening the Linkages Between Air Pollution and the Sustainable Development GoalsThis policy brief argues featuring air pollution more prominently in the structure of the SDGs could deliver significant health benefits.Sustainable and Inclusive Solutions to Air Pollution and Climate Change in Southeast Asia: Participatory Governance, Social Co-benefits and Co-InnovationThis issue brief presents ways that policymakers in Southeast Asia can support sustainable and inclusive solutions to air pollution and climate change with health co-benefits.One Atmosphere: Integrating Air Pollution and Climate Policy and GovernanceThis paper argues that more rigorous research is needed on how governance can help achieve air quality, climate and health co-benefits.Integrating Clean Air, Climate, and Health Policies in the COVID-19 Era: The Role of Co-benefits and the Triple R FrameworkThis policy brief argues that co-benefits can be a useful concept to integrate climate, air pollution and health policies in the COVID-era.About our guest:Eric Zusman is a Research Leader at the Integrated Sustainability Centre at IGES. Apart from his expertise in multilevel governance, sustainability transitions, and SDGs generally, he has extensive experience in air pollution mitigation and co-benefits of climate mitigation and air quality improvements (and health)."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
65:27 9/16/22
SDG2: Zero Hunger
In the second episode of our series on SDGs, Simon, Andre and Erin invited Prabhakar SVRK, who knows a lot about climate adaptation, food and agriculture. Focusing on SDG2 on Zero Hunger, we talked about the challenges to achieve a world free from hunger while trying to reduce fossil fuel use to limit climate change, given the significant fossil fuel-based inputs in our current food system. It seems the world is producing enough food or has potential to do so, but that distribution, access and sustainability of production remain a problem. In this episode, we covered the world’s progress on SDG2; why we can’t solve this fundamental problem; the issue of production vs. access to food; extensive vs. intensive agriculture; globalized food supply chains; the role of innovation; food loss and food waste, and more.Related linksSDG2 Progress, Targets, and IndicatorsPrabhakar’s slides on SDG2 About our guest:Sivapuram Ventaka Rama Krishna Prabhakar (referred to as “Prabhakar” in the episode) is a Principal Policy Researcher in the Adaptation and Water unit at IGES. He specialises in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, as well as agriculture, food and energy-related issues."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
73:42 8/25/22
SDG1: No Poverty
What’s in an SDG?In an effort to more deeply understand the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), over the next few months, the About Sustainability… podcast will zoom in on each of them in turn. We will invite experts to join us and parse out more about an individual goal, where we are in terms of achieving it, and the challenges it presents. We will also discuss how each goal, including those that are not environmentally oriented, is linked to environmental sustainability.In the first of these SDG-focused episodes, André and Erin spoke to Atsushi Watabe (who we call “Watabe-san” at the office) and Dwayne Appleby, two IGES experts who have studied and written about SDG1, on ending all forms of poverty everywhere. We covered what is meant by “extreme poverty” and “relative poverty”; which aspects of poverty have been left out or not explicitly addressed in SDG1; the effects of poverty alleviation on the environment; to what extent we are making progress toward alleviating poverty (and how reliable the figures are); how poverty and inequality or inequity are linked; the possible drivers of poverty; and potential solutions.Related links:UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ SDG 1 pageSustainable Ways of Living Issue Brief Series (Atsushi Watabe)One Planet Network Sustainable Lifestyles and Education ProgrammeSDG1 reading list:Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (Dambisa Moyo)Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo)For some discussion of the drivers of poverty and exploring new pathways forwardPopulation and Development: The Demographic Transition (Tim Dyson)For the intersection of population/health and povertyState-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery (Atul Kohli)For a comparative discussion of the challenges and successes of activist governments in reducing povertyGoverning the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization (Robert Wade)For a political economy take on activist states in the context of development in East  AsiaDevelopment as Freedom (Amartya Sen)For a well-summarised discussion of capability and povertyWesternizing the Third World: The Eurocentricity of Economic Development Theories 2nd Edition (Ozay Mehmet)A view of how poverty is invented in the development processDynamic Sustainabilities: Technology, Environment, Social Justice (Pathways to Sustainability) 1st Edition (Melissa Leach, Ian Scoones, and Andy Stirling)An exploration of contesting and dynamic framings of development, security, poverty, etc. along with socioeconomic changesAbout our guests:Atsushi Watabe is Programme Director of the Sustainable Consumption and Production unit at IGES. He has a background in the sociology of rural development, population movement, and migration in Southeast Asia."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
62:19 7/26/22
Can the World Achieve the SDGs? Part 2 of 2
This is part 2 of the broad discussion that André, Bob, Erin, and Simon went into, which began with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and why it seems so challenging for the world to achieve the goals. Part 2 of the discussion started with Erin’s question on whether the issue with the capitalist system is that negative environmental externalities are not sufficiently factored into economic decisions. We touched on ethical issues such as the Trolley Problem, why or why not poverty alleviation is the most important SDG, the idea of the ecological footprint and what we don’t know about SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production, and the true value of the SDGs for countries.As always, we do not profess to have all the right answers to these questions but enter into these exchanges to learn new perspectives on the difficult and challenging questions about sustainability. We hope you do too!Related LinksPart 1 of this conversation“The material footprint of nations” article that Simon referenced in part 1Moral Machine website referenced by Bob regarding the Trolley ProblemAbout Sustainability… episode on Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM)About Sustainability… episode on the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) and Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), the annual reviewing mechanism for the SDGsIGES Publications by SDG"About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
40:08 7/1/22
Can the World Achieve the SDGs? Part 1 of 2
This time, Andre, Bob, Erin, and Simon went into a broader discussion around the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and why it seems so challenging for the world to achieve the goals despite them constituting the ‘good’ of development. The discussion touched upon many items, including how the SDGs are different than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that preceded them, how to measure poverty, the different approaches to govern relying more on governmental sanctions or letting the invisible hand of the market do the job. The discussion stretched beyond the limits of what we normally see as one episode, and therefore the second part will be published shortly. As always, we do not profess to have all the right answers to these questions but enter into these exchanges to learn new perspectives on the difficult and challenging questions about sustainability, we hope you do too!Related Links“The material footprint of nations” article that Simon referencedIGES Publications by SDG"About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
46:30 6/14/22
Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM)
Andre and Erin had a chance to talk to a fascinating person named Wardarina about civic engagement, especially focusing on the Asia-Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM). Simon joined the discussion to provide additional insights, as he too has a lot of experience engaging in this space.Wardarina (or Rina, as she is often known) is currently one of the co-chairs, of the APRCEM. The APRCEM is a self-organised platform to support grassroot and marginalized constituency engagement with Agenda 2030 in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. The platform currently has more than 600 affiliated organisations from across the region. Rina shared her views on why stakeholder voices need to be heard in SDG-related processes. She also spoke about how APRCEM and others are working to further strengthen civic engagement and ensure that a broad range of views, knowledge, and experiences are included in Agenda 2030. This is a frank, open discussion that should also be educational to anyone unfamiliar with how major groups and other stakeholders factor into global forums on sustainable development. A side note: in shortening this conversation for brevity, we cut out when Rina mentioned that major groups don’t need to wait their turn to speak after governments at certain forums. Andre referred to this toward the end of the episode.Helpful resources:About Sustainability… podcast episode on APFSD and HLPFIGES’ APFSD 2022 Special WebpageAPRCEM WebsiteAbout our guest:Wardarina (“Rina”) is a feminist and activist, originally from Indonesia. She has worked in the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) for 10 years, and now takes the position of Deputy Regional Coordinator. She is currently the women constituency focal point and co-chair of Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM), and also acts as Women Major Group Organising Partner at the global level. "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
43:37 6/3/22
The IPCC 6th Assessment Report: experiences and key messages from some Working Group III authors
Bob and André talked to Sudarmanto Budi Nugroho (“Toto”) and Eric Zusman, two IGES experts who were involved in Working Group III (Climate Mitigation) of the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The latest report in the IPCC AR6 series, the WGIII Report summarises the latest knowledge on climate mitigation options, building on the work of Working Groups I (the Physical Basis of Climate Change) and II (Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability). The reports that the IPCC has produced since its establishment in 1988 tell us where we are with climate change and produce scientific inputs that inform policy and decision-making to address this crisis. The IPCC is the only UN body for assessing the science of climate change.We had such a fascinating discussion learning about the process of producing the report, including the review process of each chapter and the complicated issues around equity in selecting members of the Working Groups. In this conversation, we did not dive into the nitty-gritty details of the report, but this is what we know: we are not curbing emissions fast enough to be on track to limit warming to 1.5ºC, and national goals have to be even more ambitious.  The good news is that the cost of technological innovations has come down faster than previously anticipated, lowering the barrier to taking action. There is an ever-narrowing but still open window of opportunity.On another occasion, we hope to have a chance to revisit the report’s content in more depth.Helpful resources:IGES’ Special Webpage on the IPCCIPCC AR6 WGIII ReportAbout our guests:Sudarmanto Budi Nugroho (referred to as “Toto” in this conversation) is a Research Manager in IGES' City Taskforce.  He co-authored Chapter 10 on transport, as well as the Summary for Policymakers (SPM).Eric Zusman is Research Leader in IGES' Integrated Sustainability Centre.  He co-authored Chapter 17: Accelerating the transition in the context of sustainable development."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
49:58 5/3/22
Bonus Episode: Are Trees Really the Answer?
In this bonus episode of About Sustainability…, André, Bob, Erin, and Simon briefly discussed people’s relationship with nature, from local communities that use natural resources in a low-impact way to large-scale efforts around the world to plant trees. This side conversation happened during our discussion on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (Episode 3, linked below). Despite their popularity, André cautioned that tree planting campaigns can be ineffective and even destructive to biodiversity in some cases. Nature-based solutions, including tree planting - like most things - require the right context. Otherwise, we may be doing more damage than good.Helpful resources:Episode 3: Convention on Biological DiversityIGES’ CBD-COP15 Special Webpage"About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
21:32 4/19/22
UNEA-5.2: Some Key Outcomes on Nature and Plastics
In this episode of About Sustainability…, Simon and Erin followed up with Andre and IGES colleague Amila Abeynayaka, an expert on plastics management, on some of the recent outcomes from UNEA-5.2, the second part of the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).At this year’s UNEA, governments managed to find consensus on 14 decisions and resolutions, and we discussed a couple of these, namely on nature-based solutions (NBS) and on plastics. First, we discussed the decision on nature-based solutions. We heard Andre’s insights on the concept, where it comes from, what it means and why it may have been difficult to agree on. Then, Amila discussed with us the much-awaited resolution on ending plastic pollution, which was another important outcome of UNEA 5.2. Apart from the details of the resolution, we also talked about why we are getting such a resolution now, its focus and why it is difficult to get away from plastics entirely. Throughout our conversation, we discovered that all these issues are interlinked in interesting ways. Helpful resources:Episode 1: “What is UNEA-5.2?”IGES’ UNEA-5.2 Special WebpageAbout our guest:Amila Abeynayaka is a Policy Researcher in the IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET) and part of the Sustainable Consumption and Production team at IGES. "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
46:27 4/5/22
Convention on Biological Diversity
This time Erin, Bob, and Simon talked to Andre about the Convention on Biological Diversity, or CBD, and the upcoming 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (CBD-COP15). This meeting is expected to be held in Kunming later in 2022. The conversation touched upon the purposes of the CBD and who its members are. Andre also explained the CBD’s mandate and how it compares to other related processes. They also talked about the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that is supposed to replace these targets. The discussion also touched upon the differences between the biodiversity COP and the more famous and more frequent climate COP. The episode also touched upon the concept of ecosystem services, which are the ways in which nature enables us to live and thrive. Here, Andre offered a perspective on which services we may undervalue and should focus more on. "About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
41:37 3/22/22
APFSD & HLPF: Reviewing SDG progress
This time, Andre, Erin, and Simon spoke with Nobue Amanuma, a Deputy Director at the IGES Integrated Sustainability Centre. Nobue and Simon have been quite deeply involved in IGES work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We discussed the SDGs, and in particular two key upcoming meetings that review countries’ progress toward them. The Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), happening in March 2022, is the main regional event for the Asia-Pacific region, and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is its global event cousin that takes place in July 2022.  We started by talking about what these meetings are and why they are convened. We spent quite a bit of time exploring the concept of “Voluntary National Reviews” (VNRs), and their “shadow report” or “spotlight report” counterparts, all of which are key features of APFSD and HLPF. We discussed IGES involvement at the meetings and asked what else happens there, besides the review of SDG progress. We talked about the importance of these meetings as forums for engagement between civil society and governments, and we ended off by speculating about whether they are as effective as they could be.To learn more about the APFSD and HLPF, and IGES contributions to these processes in 2022, please visit:IGES’ APFSD 2022 Special Webpage: https://www.iges.or.jp/en/projects/apfsd2022IGES’ HLPF 2022 Special Webpage (coming soon)"About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
42:34 3/8/22
What is UNEA-5.2?
Simon shares his knowledge on UNEA-5.2, the second half of UNEP’s biennial United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEA functions as the world’s parliament on the environment, where global environment ministers congregate to debate and decide on priorities of environmental concern in the context of nation states and the global community. Due to COVID-19, the event was divided into two halves with the first part taking place almost entirely online in early 2021, and the second half shortly taking place at the end of February 2022. Some key questions covered:What is UNEA? How is it different from other environment conferences, like the climate  COP?What should we expect from UNEA5.2 at the end of February?Which issues at UNEA5.2 are particularly contentious?To learn more about the 5th session of UNEA, please visit:IGES’ UNEA-5.2 Special Webpage: https://www.iges.or.jp/en/projects/unea5-2IGES’ UNEA-5.1 Special Webpage: https://www.iges.or.jp/en/projects/unea5-1About our co-hosts:Andre Mader leads the IGES unit on Biodiversity and Forests and is adviser to an IPBES Technical Support Unit hosted by IGES.  He has a background in conservation management, science and policy, and has practiced mostly in Switzerland, Canada, the UAE, and his land of birth, South Africa.Bob McDonald leads our Technology Solutions unit at IGES.  He has decades of experience in IT and Web Development, but is an interested outsider when it comes to environmental issues.  He loves making stuff, both physical and digital. Erin Kawazu is a Programme Coordinator in Knowledge Management and Communications, Strategic Management Office at IGES.  Her background is in environmental health sciences, a field that combines environmental science and public health. Off work, she can be found reading books on her ancient Kindle Keyboard, journaling, and struggling to self-teach the guitar.Simon Høiberg Olsen is Research Manager at IGES. His areas of interest include environmental governance, civic engagement, social justice and the sustainable development goals (SDGs). He has a Master’s Degree in Southeast-Asian studies from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and a PhD in Environmental Sciences and Policy from the Central European University, Hungary. In his free time he enjoys gardening, woodworking and repair."About Sustainability..." is a podcast brought to you by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), an environmental policy think-tank based in Hayama, Japan. IGES experts are concerned with environmental and sustainability challenges. Everything shared on the podcast will be off-the-cuff discussion, and any viewpoints expressed are those held by the speaker at the time of recording. They are not necessarily official IGES positions.
48:25 2/17/22

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