12 episodes

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.

About Sustainability‪…‬ Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

    • Science
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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.

    SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being

    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 links
    UN 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 this podcast:
    "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 including, but not limited to, climate change; biodiversity and ecosystems; sustainable consumption and production; the Sustainable Development Goals; and overarching governance issues. 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.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    SDG2: Zero Hunger

    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 links
    SDG2 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 this podcast:
    "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 including, but not limited to, climate change; biodiversity and ecosystems; sustainable consumption and production; the Sustainable Development Goals; and overarching governance issues. Harnessing this expertise, the podcast serves to discuss and draw attention to contemporary issues and events relevant to sustainability with a frank reflective discussion from both within and beyond the Institute.
    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.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    SDG1: No Poverty

    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.
    Dwayne Appleby is a Programme Manager in the Sustainable Consumption and Production unit at IGES with a background in international development, political economy, innovation, and demographics. 

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Can the World Achieve the SDGs? Part 2 of 2

    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 Links
    Part 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 this podcast:
    "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 including, but not limited to, climate change; biodiversity and ecosystems; sustainable consumption and production; the Sustainable Development Goals; and overarching governance issues. Harnessing this expertise, the podcast serves to discuss and draw attention to contemporary issues and events relevant to sustainability with a frank reflective discussion from both within and beyond the Institute.


    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 min
    Can the World Achieve the SDGs? Part 1 of 2

    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 this podcast:
    "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 including, but not limited to, climate change; biodiversity and ecosystems; sustainable consumption and production; the Sustainable Development Goals; and overarching governance issues. Harnessing this expertise, the podcast serves to discuss and draw attention to contemporary issues and events relevant to sustainability with a frank reflective discussion from both within and beyond the Institute.


    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 min
    Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM)

    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 this podcast:
    "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 including, but not limited to, climate change; biodiversity and ecosystems; sustainable consumption and production; the Sustainable Development Goals; and overarching governance issues. Harnessing this expertise, the podcast serves to discuss and draw attention to contemporary issues and events relevant to sustainability with a frank reflective discussion from both within and beyond the Institute.
    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 min

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