SDGs symposium 2024 - Planetary health for Sustainability: Towards transformative solutions for a Healthy Planet

SDG Symposium tokyo 2024 © Springer Nature 2024

We now live in the Anthropocene. We have shaped profoundly our planet in the past two centuries. However, this rapid acceleration of human activity since the 1950s is having even deeper, and likely irrevocable, consequences for ecosystems and human societies. On the one hand, this acceleration has spurred the global economy, innovation, and connectivity, but also food security and poverty alleviation for billions of people in the Global South. On the other hand, it has come at huge environmental costs, such as accelerated climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Furthermore, it has deepened existing socioeconomic inequalities and injustices, and catalyzed the emergence of new ones.

These strong links between human health and environmental change cause grave concerns that planetary health is in deep peril. This possible compromise of the health of human civilization and the state of the natural systems upon which we depend, will have grave consequences for ourselves and future generations.

There are growing calls to develop and implement inclusive actions to transform human activities for the benefit of human and ecosystem health. One such example is dietary change and food system transformation to achieve healthy diets, but also mitigate climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Another example is adaptation and mitigation actions seeking to reduce the negative effects of climate change such as rising temperatures or flooding in cities, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly.

Such solutions should actively seek to reduce pervasive inequalities, if we are to ensure that benefits reach all segments of society, especially vulnerable groups. This is particularly important for the rapidly developing Global South where ineffective governance, limited social safety nets, and lack of formal infrastructure already make it difficult for the majority of the population to live healthy lives in healthy environments.

The 2024 SDGs Symposium will explore these intersections between planetary health and sustainability. Research at the interface of SDG3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG13 (Climate Action), SDG15 (Life on Land) and SDG2 (Zero Hunger) is the focal point of the Symposium. 

The University of Tokyo and Springer Nature are co-hosting a symposium on 27 February 2024 . In alignment with the UTokyo Compass strategy, this event will provide ideas and perspectives for early career researchers seeking to conduct impactful and transformative sustainability research.

We wish to take this opportunity to invite renowned researchers from Japan and abroad, as well as students and early career researchers, working at this interface of planetary health and SDGs. Our aim is to actively discuss how this research can explain these multifaceted phenomena and develop equitable solutions with high societal relevance and impact.

(January 24, 2024)

We are very sorry but we have reached the capacity of the venue, so we cannot accept any more onsite registrations at this stage. 

If you are still interested in joining onsite, please come back and check our website after 20 February to see if the onsite registration has reopened. There is a chance that some seats may have become available. 

Thank you very much for your interest, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Sustainable Development Goals: Quality education
Sustainable Development Goals: Good health and well-being
Sustainable Development Goals:




14:30 – 14:40

Opening Remarks

Kensuke Fukushi (Director and Professor, Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI), The University of Tokyo)

Antoine Bocquet (Managing Director, Springer Nature Japan)

14:40 – 15:20

Keynote 1

Planetary Health: what, why, and how?

Chiho Watanabe (Professor and Dean of Interfaculty Initiative in Planetary Health, Nagasaki University)

Keynote 2

Assessing progress at the mid-point towards the 2030 horizon and implications for Planetary Health

Magdalena Skipper (Editor-in-Chief, Nature, Chief Editorial Advisor, Nature Portfolio)

15:20 – 16:05

Plenary 1

Health risks and adaptation to heat exposure in cities

Yoonhee Kim (Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo)

Plenary 2

Challenges of healthy and sustainable diets as seen from systems thinking

Nobuo Nishi (Dean and Professor, St. Luke’s International University)

Plenary 3

Challenges of transdisciplinary research for Planetary Health: Towards community-oriented healthy ageing activities

Saori Kashima (Associate Professor, Hiroshima University)

Plenary 4

JICA’s Approach towards Planetary Health

Emiko Nishimura (Director, Global Health Team, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA))

16:05 – 16:20


16:20 – 17:30

Panel Discussion


Chiho Watanabe
Magdalena Skipper
Yoonhee Kim
Nobuo Nishi
Saori Kashima
Emiko Nishimura


Fumiko Kasuga (Professor, Nagasaki University
Global Hub Director – Japan, Future Earth Secretariat)

17:30 – 17:40

Closing Remarks

Teruo Fujii (President, The University of Tokyo)

17:50 - 19:30 

Networking event

Student poster session 

Speaker Information

Kensuke Fukushi

Director and Professor, Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI), The University of Tokyo

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Kensuke Fukushi is Professor and Director at the Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI), The University of Tokyo. Prior to joining the University of Tokyo as an Associate Professor in 2001, he held academic positions at the Asian Institute of Technology (Associate and Assistant Professor) and Tohoku University (Assistant Professor). His research interests are on environmental engineering, risk assessment, climate change, water resources, biological technology, and membrane technology. He holds a PhD on Civil Engineering from the University of Utah.

Antoine Bocquet

Managing Director, Springer Nature Japan

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Antoine Bocquet is Vice President Institutional Sales, Japan, Southeast Asia and Oceania for Springer Nature, based in Tokyo, and has over 20 years’ experience in the academic publishing industry in the Asia-Pacific. He also holds the position of Managing Director of the Springer Nature companies in Japan. He is responsible for all Institutional sales in the regions of Japan, Southeast Asia and Oceania, and during his career has led publishing programs in Asia, founded a medical communications business in Japan and been a book commissioning editor. An Australian by birth, Tony holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo (Physics) and is a graduate of Griffith University in Brisbane. He has lived permanently in Japan since 1994.

Chiho Watanabe

Professor and Dean of Interfaculty Initiative in Planetary Health, Nagasaki University

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Chiho Watanabe is Professor and Dean of Interfaculty Initiative in Planetary Health at Nagasaki University. He is also Emeritus Professor at The University of Tokyo. Before assuming his current position in 2021 he acted as the President of the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) (2017-2021). Some of his other positions have included President of Japanese Society of Health and Human Ecology (2017-present); Chairman of the Society of Environmental Science (2021-present); Associate Member, Section II of the Science Council of Japan; former Third Vice President, Society for Human Ecology; and former Chair, Human Ecology Section, Ecological Society of America. His research has focused on toxicity modification of hazardous chemicals by physicochemical and genetic factors, environmental health in developing countries, sustainability and human health, and the use of satellite information on health issues. He holds a PhD on Health Sciences from The University of Tokyo, Japan.

Magdalena Skipper

Editor-in-Chief, Nature, Chief Editorial Advisor, Nature Portfolio

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Magdalena Skipper is Editor in Chief of Nature and Chief Editorial Advisor for the Nature Portfolio. She has considerable editorial and publishing experience, having worked as Chief Editor of Nature Reviews Genetics, Senior Editor for genetics and genomics at Nature and Editor in Chief of Nature Communications. She is passionate about mentorship, research integrity, as well as collaboration and inclusion in research. As part of her desire to promote underrepresented groups in research, in 2018 she co-launched the Nature Research Inspiring Science Award for women early-career researchers. She holds a PhD on genetics from University of Cambridge, UK.

Yoonhee Kim

Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo

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Yoonhee Kim is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo. Before assuming her current role in 2018, she was an Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University. She also conducted research as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea. She has received The University of Tokyo Excellent Young Researcher Award 2019 and the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) Scholars Award 2019-2020. She is an environmental epidemiologist. Her research interests include climate change and variability, air pollution, and population health across multiple countries. She holds a PhD from the Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, South Korea.

Nobuo Nishi

Dean and Professor, St. Luke’s International University

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Nobuo Nishi is Dean and Professor at the Graduate School of Public Health, St. Luke's International University. Before joining his current role in 2023, he had a long career as Chief (2009-2023) of the International Center for Nutrition and Information at the National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition.
He also worked in different capacities as Assistant Chief (2007-2009) and Section Chief (2004-2009) at the Department of Epidemiology (Hiroshima) of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, as well as Associate Professor at Iwate Medical University (2002-2004). He served Japanese Society of Public Health as Editor-in-Chief (2015-2020). His main research interests are on social epidemiology, social ecological modelling, and system dynamics. He holds a PhD in Social Medicine from Osaka University and an MBA from Doshisha Business School.

Saori Kashima

Associate Professor, Hiroshima University

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Saori Kashima is an Associate Professor at Hiroshima University. She joined Hiroshima University in 2010 as an Assistant Professor, and since 2022 she has been acting as the Director of the Center for the Planetary Health and Innovation Science (PHIS). Among different honours she has received the President’s Special Award (Phoenix Outstanding Researcher Award) for contribution to improving the research capabilities by producing outstanding research achievements. Her research interests are in environmental epidemiological study in air pollution, environmental health and global health. Furthermore, she has now launched a transdisciplinary project related to community-oriented practices in healthy ageing with planetary health. She received a PhD on Environmental Science from Okayama University.

Emiko Nishimura

Director, Global Health Team, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

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Emiko Nishimura is the Director of the Global Health Team, at the Human Development Department, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). She currently oversees JICA’s health programs on health security, following her tenure as the Director of the Office for COVID-19 Response in the same department. She joined JICA in 2003 and throughout her carreer, she has been involved in JICA’s health sector cooperation mainly in Southeast Asia and Africa, particularly in the fields of health systems, maternal and child health and health security. She worked in JICA Tanzania Office (2009-2012) as a representative in charge of health programs. She was seconded from JICA to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Bureau of Global Health (2007-2009) to promote US-Japan collaboration in the health sector. She holds an MSc in Public Health in Developing Countries, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Teruo Fujii

President, The University of Tokyo

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Teruo Fujii is the 31th President of the University of Tokyo. Prior to taking the President’s office  in April 2021, he was Executive Vice President in charge of finance and external relations for the university. He also served as Director General of Institute of Industrial Sciences (IIS) of the university from 2015 to 2018. He received his Ph.D. in engineering from UTokyo in 1993 and held research positions at IIS and RIKEN prior to becaming a professor of IIS in 2007. Dr. Fujii has served as an Executive Member (part-time) of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan since March 2021. He was also an advisor to Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) from 2005 to 2007, co-director of LIMMS-CNRS/IIS, a joint research lab between CNRS, France, and IIS, from 2007 to 2014, and the President of Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS) from 2017 to 2019. Dr. Fujii’s research specializes in applied microfluidics systems and underwater technology.


Fumiko Kasuga

Professor, Nagasaki University
Global Hub Director – Japan, Future Earth Secretariat 

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Fumiko Kasuga is Professor at School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health and at Interfaculty Initiative in Planetary Health, Nagasaki University. She is also Global Hub Director - Japan of the Future Earth Secretariat since 2015. Before joining Nagasaki University in April 2023, she was Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) and a Visiting Professor at The University of Tokyo. She is also former Vice-President of Science Council of Japan (2011-14). She had worked years as a government researcher in the field of public health (microbiological food safety) in the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan and worked with WHO and FAO. Her research interests are on sustainability, the coordination of transdisciplinary Research and Food Safety Risk Assessment. She holds a PhD on Veterinary Medicine from The University of Tokyo.


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