Media-led conversations at Tokyo Olympics to harness the power and inspiration of sports to achieving the Global Goals

United Nations and the Asahi Shimbun join forces to showcase expert and influential voices at “SDG ZONE at TOKYO”

The United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC), United Nations Information Centre Tokyo (UNIC Tokyo), and the Asahi Shimbun Company are running online event, “SDG ZONE at TOKYO” to discuss ideas and approaches to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the power of sport.

Sport promotes values such as diversity, tolerance and respect and contributes to the empowerment of women and young people, individuals and communities, as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.

Under the theme “Teaming Up through Sport to Advance the SDGs,” athletes are being joined by influencers and innovators from civil society, the business sector, academia, national and local governments, and the UN system, to discuss the power of sport to solve global issues.

From climate action to gender equality, promotion of equality and diversity, protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, innovation, and community development, 24 speakers and moderators exchanged insights on how sport brings values and inspiration that contribute to building a world where everyone thrives in peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.

The event is being streamed globally as a part of the SDG Media Zone initiative, which has been organized since 2016 to provide a dynamic platform for global voices during major events such as the UN General Assembly, the High-level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals, and other key international moments.

All six sessions of SDG ZONE at TOKYO are streaming globally on UNWebTV, the UN’s video streaming platform, with English and Japanese subtitles. The videos will also be archived on the SDG Media Zone website and UNIC Tokyo’s website.

Programme of the SDG ZONE at TOKYO (speakers in alphabetical order):

Session 1 “Sport for Development and Peace” (Wednesday, 28 July)


Pur Biel, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, Former member of the national soccer team and member of the Executive Committee of Japan Football Association

Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs


Mary Popeo, Co-Founder, Peace Culture Village

Session 2 “Sport for Sustainability and Climate Action” (Thursday, 29 July)


Hannah Mills, Olympic athlete (sailing), Founder of Big Plastic Pledge

Soichi Noguchi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Astronaut

Archana Soreng, Member of the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change


Ryan Takeshita, Former-Editor-in-Chief of HuffPost Japan

Session 3 “Reflecting on Diversity from Gender and Sport” (Friday, 30 July)


Aya Medany, Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission and Olympian (modern pentathlon)

Etsuko Ogasawara, Executive Director, Japanese Center for Research on Women in Sport (JCRWS) at Juntendo University

Fumino Sugiyama, Co-Chair of Tokyo Rainbow and member of the Executive Board of Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC)


Kosuke Inagaki, Staff writer of the Asahi Shimbun

Session 4 “How Para-athletes see ‘Sport and Possibilities’” (Wednesday, 25 August)


Kaede Maegawa, Paralympic athlete (athletics)

George Wyndham, Paralympic athlete (table-tennis)


Miki Matheson, Project Manager, Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center and Paralympian (ice sledge racing)

Session 5 “Designing Society through the Evolution of Sport” (Thursday, 26 August)


Ken Endo, CEO of Xiborg

Lucy Meyer, Spokesperson for the Special Olympics-UNICEF USA Partnership

Tomohiro Sawada, Representative of World Yuru Sports Association and Copywriter


Miyuki Hokugo, Staff writer of Asahi Shimbun in charge of the SDGs Project

Session 6 “A Legacy for the Next Generation Beyond Tokyo 2020” (Friday, 27 August)


Abraham Majok Matet Guem, Olympic athlete (athletics)

Roxana Maracineanu, Minister of Sport, France, and Olympian (swimming)

Philipp Müller-Wirth, Executive Officer for Sport, Sector for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO

Ryu Yamamoto, Mayor of Maebashi city, Gunma prefecture, Japan


Melissa Fleming, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications