Emperor Naruhito Delivers Keynote Speech at UN Special Session: History Offers Lessons for Achieving the SDGs

In his video address, Emperor Naruhito expressed hope for the "global acceleration of the actions needed for the full achievement of water-related SDGs."

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The Emperor of Japan delivered a keynote speech via video at the 6th Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on March 21.

The special session was held prior to the UN 2023 Water Conference, which began on March 22, and was attended by UN General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi. The Emperor, who has made addressing water issues his life's work, spoke in a 20-minute video presentation entitled "Water in Circulation – Thinking of Social Development through the Water Cycle." The Emperor delivered the address in English.

Emperor Highlights the History of Edo

Using presentation slides, Emperor Naruhito introduced the relationship between water and the development of the city of Edo (modern-day Tokyo). He noted that the use of boats for disaster relief in the Edo Period is once again in the spotlight as a modern-day disaster countermeasure.

"As we commemorate this year as 100 years since the Kanto Earthquake, it would be meaningful to think over disaster countermeasures in the Tokyo metropolitan area, learning from the history and the perspective of water use," he remarked.

Emperor Naruhito then pointed out that floods, droughts, and other water-related disasters caused by climate change present a "common challenge" to all humankind. He stated his hope that the world could learn from past examples of disaster preparedness and enjoy the many benefits of water.  

"It is hoped that water disaster risk reduction and climate change issues will be fully connected leading to comprehensive solutions to meet our challenges," he added at the end of his address.

As Crown Prince, Emperor Naruhito attended and delivered keynote speeches at the 1st and 2nd special sessions held at the United Nations Headquarters. He has since participated online and via video.

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