The Japan Sports Agency and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partner to use the power of sport to achieve the SDGs

The Japan Sports Agency and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered to utilize the momentum of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 to increase awareness of, and participation in, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Launching in 2019, the “Our Global Goals” project will bring together Japanese and global athletes as Ambassadors to champion the SDGs. Harnessing the spirit of sport, these ambassadors will work with both Japanese and global NGOs towards realizing the SDGs and creating a legacy of action for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals) are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and combat climate change by 2030. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has implemented a Sustainability Plan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 which seeks to ensure that Tokyo 2020 contributes to the realization of the SDGs.

Building on this momentum, the Gates Foundation will provide funding and expertise for various programs to be carried out by “Our Global Goals” Ambassadors in conjunction with NGOs. These will include field visits, workshops and learning opportunities focused predominantly on the first six SDGs – No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, and Clean Water and Sanitation. Through these programs, Ambassadors will raise awareness of, and encourage participation in, actions for the realization of the SDGs.

This project has been certified as a Tokyo 2020 Official Programme. It is an extension of the Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers initiative launched in September 2017, which uses stories, data and partnerships to highlight progress towards the Global Goals, hold governments accountable, and foster new leadership. With the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games, the Gates Foundation aims to promote the commitment of sports communities in Japan to help achieve the SDGs and encourage global participation from civic society. The project also expands on the Japan Sports Agency’s “Sports SDGs” program and ongoing work to address social issues through sports.

With the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 as a key upcoming milestone, Japan is in the global spotlight,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Japan is already the world’s fourth largest donor of development aid, and the Our Global Goals project is an opportunity to cement the SDGs as the legacy of Japan’s Olympic Games. I am excited that Japanese athletes will support the Global Goals by inspiring people to get more engaged in the next decade leading up to the 2030 deadline.

Tomoko Ukishima, State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for the Government of Japan, said: “Sports have an incredible ability to attract and engage. We hope the Our Global Goals project can play an important role in building awareness and contributing to the realization of the SDGs in Japan and around the world.

Yoshiro Mori, President of The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said: “We welcome this collaboration between the Japan Sports Agency and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and their announcement today that they will be launching various projects aimed at addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through sport. We are pleased to recognise their initiative as part of the Tokyo 2020 Official Programme – the first time that SDGs have been incorporated into the planning and delivery of an Olympic and Paralympic Games. Their collaboration reflects our Games vision, and we hope the active participation of athletes in their projects after the Games will become one of Tokyo 2020’s legacies.

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