TOKYO – American philanthropist Bill Gates called on Friday for generous investment to achieve global sustainable development, during the presentation of a new project by his foundation in partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Developed countries should “continue to invest generously, actually even more generously than they currently are” in order to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to fight poverty and disease, the Microsoft co-founder said during an event in Tokyo.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Japan Sports Agency have set up the project “Our Global Goals,” which will roll out in 2019 and will involve international athletes collaborating with the non-profit on sustainable development.
“The world will not continue to get better by itself. It would take innovation and activism, and people and institutions to do that work,” said Gates, whose foundation will provide finance and experience in this field.
The philanthropist spoke of the need to be persistent in order to achieve what is considered “unreachable” and gave the example of marathon runners always trying to improve their speed.
“Sometimes we don’t know what we can do until someone breaks a record and shows it’s possible,” he said, while stressing the need to build on the achievements made during previous decades.
“When I was a child, more than half of the people of the world lived in extreme poverty but today less than 10 percent,” Gates said, adding that infant mortality reduced by more than half since 1990, which showed a tangible difference made by these projects.
“The eyes of the world will be on Tokyo as the Olympics get near and I’m excited (about) using this opportunity to raise awareness and be ambassadors for a better world,” he said.
Tokyo 2020 organizers have proposed to promote sustainability, among other green initiatives, and will manufacture the Olympic medals from recycled metals, said organizing committee head Yoshiro Mori, who was present at the event.