SAPPORO, JAPAN, 27 September 2019 – the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and The Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan (SCEJ) announced the Sapporo Declaration on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the 18th Asian Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress under the theme “Sapporo 2019 - Chemical Engineering for Human Well-Being”, which was opened by Sapporo City Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto.
The Sapporo Declaration will be one of the guiding documents for the chemical industry in the region, including for chemical engineering researchers, to recognize the potential of chemical engineering disciplines and their applications in solving economic, environmental and social issues of Asian and Pacific countries . The Sapporo Declaration has also been committed to monitoring the progress of chemical engineers in their efforts to take SDG-aligned actions in the coming years.
“One of the innovative ideas adopted in the Sapporo Declaration is to go from efficiency to sufficiency”, said UNIDO Industrial Development Officer Fukuya Iino. “Sufficiency is a concept promoted in some parts of the Asia Pacific region: to achieve human well-being, the Declaration reevaluates conventional engineering approaches to create new frameworks and achieve sufficiency by identifying technologies that enable green and sustainable chemistry, which are key building blocks of a sustainable society”.
UNIDO is committed to providing a platform where small and medium enterprises could thrive by solving issues faced by the communities and helping attain the SDGs. UNIDO will continue to assist SCEJ in monitoring its progress on the activities identified in the Declaration.
To exemplify the non-conventional engineering approach, UNIDO and SCEJ organized a participatory workshop between chemical engineers, students, small business executives, government officials and UNIDO staff on how to turn conventional chemical engineering research into SDG-aligned research topics as well as on how to tackle business challenges introduced by four small companies. Outcomes included innovative approaches to making toilets a profitable business; how to reduce plastic waste flowing into oceans; what an eco-friendly detergent could be; and how to better manage mercury waste.
“Innovation follows questions and reverse thinking; collaborating with people from various backgrounds lead to such innovative thinking”, said Hinodesangyo Co. Ltd.’s Representative Kaoru Fujita. “The participatory workshop was a great opportunity for each of us to reflect on how chemical engineering could contribute to the SDGs”.
Over 1,800 researchers and chemical engineering students from the Asia-Pacific region gathered in Sapporo, a future SDG city in Japan, to attend the SCEJ-organized one-week event.
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