American billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates announced this month at a press conference in Tokyo that the Gates Foundation and the Japan Sports Agency have partnered together to further the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games draw nearer. The endeavor, named ‘Our Global Goals,’ is a partnership between the philanthropic Gates Foundation and the Japan Sports Agency that will use the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as a platform to raise awareness for the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by publicizing them through the 2020 Olympic Games.
Though members of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee were present at the press conference, including Tokyo 2020 President Yohsiro Mori, the Gates Foundation has partnered with only the Japan Sports Agency and with neither Tokyo 2020 nor the International Olympic Committee.
During the press conference Gates expressed excitement for the opportunities the Olympics and global sports in general provide to raise awareness for crises in around the world in need of humanitarian aid. Gates went on to say “The whole world loves sports and we have to be creative in how we take those amazing achievements and use that to remind people that there are some who are facing big challenges.”
Gates recognized Japan’s commitment to “give generously” to humanitarian causes around the world, but also urged Japan to increase its giving to global aid, particularly towards causes such as global health stating that the island nation “spends around three to five per cent of its aid budget on global health, so there is an opportunity to do even more.”
The United Nations has listed 17 different Sustainable Development Goals, including causes such as education, climate change, poverty, economic development, and clean water.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games represent the first Games Gates has associated himself with. The 63-year-old co-founder of Microsoft is the world’s 2nd-richest person and is known for a long history of philanthropy. In April of 2018 Gates stated he would invest $1 billion through 2023 to fund research and development efforts in combating malaria, which killed 445,000 people in 2016, according to the World Health Organization.