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Report on 22nd SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Seminar “SDGs and Infrastructure Support" (Dec.2022)


Lecturer Mr. Tetsuo Konaka

On Tuesday, December 13, 2022, the 22nd SDGs Seminar on "SDGs and Infrastructure Support" was led by Mr. Tetsuo Konaka, professor at the Center for Resilient Society Research, Research Promotion Office, Research Organization, Saitama University, and visiting professor at the Ochanomizu University's SDG Promotion Institute.

Participants in the seminar learned about infrastructure, its importance, and the realities of infrastructure assistance. The term infrastructure actually refers to a variety of types of infrastructure, including social and economic infrastructure. It is crucial to build infrastructure that is not only durable, but also increases in value. The seminar was a good opportunity for us to gain a new appreciation for the existence of infrastructure, an element that we in developed countries take for granted and rarely have opportunity to consider.

The most striking point of the seminar was the value of the infrastructure support and its challenges.

Infrastructure is linked to the SDGs in areas as diverse as road maintenance, women-only vehicles, and wastewater treatment. Infrastructure development leads to higher productivity, which increases investment and trade, and fosters business growth. According to Prof. Konaka, the SDGs are not a risk but an opportunity, as business development drives both economic growth and poverty eradication. In this regard, the need for infrastructure is growing every year. It is estimated that $26 trillion will be needed by 2030 to sustain development, combat poverty, and address climate change, leaving annual gap of $819 billion between supply and demand for infrastructure investment. What struck me most was that not only the amount of money needed to provide infrastructure assistance significant, but also the maintenance and management of the infrastructure once it is built. I found that infrastructure assistance is a long-term strategy that requires securing sufficient area, gaining and maintaining the understanding of local people, and that it is impossible to continue assistance without continuity with existing local rules and long-term trust relationships. This helped me to understand that while many of the impacts, such as economic development, that infrastructure brings can be attractive, but also challenging to achieve.

Talk about the basic structure of the PPP scheme

Prof. Konaka’s lecture included not only the positive aspects of infrastructure support, but also the negative aspects, allowing us to analyze infrastructure support from different perspectives. Infrastructure requires a huge amount of funds, and since these funds are provided through loans, there is a concern that the number of loans will increase, and repayment will become a burden for developing countries. There is also a need to assess whether the infrastructure is appropriate for the recipient country. I was able to learn about these different issues and think more deeply about infrastructure support.

I learned a lot from this seminar, from basic knowledge about infrastructure to successes and failures, and I was able to think about the importance of understanding various issues rather than just providing infrastructure support. Thank you very much for a valuable presentation.

(Miei Saito, sophomore student, Global Studies for Intercultural Cooperation Course, Faculty of Letters and Education)

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