Action for SDGs: Youth Entrepreneurs for Social Good

Young people are the core power to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.  Therefore it is essential to introduce them to the concept of sustainable social businesses and the role of innovation so that they can better lead the innovation in industry and infrastructure and solve social problems through unique innovative ways.

“Youths show a great sense of social responsibility. They understand the concept of social business and they have their own innovative ideas. I hope that they can put their plan into practice and more exchange opportunities between China and Bangladesh can be organized.”

Lamiya Moshed, Executive director of Yunus Center

China-Bangladesh Social Business Young Leaders Program is organized by Youthink Center and gets support from Yunus Centre, Social Business Youth Alliance, Grameen, Intel and other social businesses in Bangladesh. It is a one-week program where the participants will engage in dialogue with Nobel Laureate and SDGs advocate Professor Muhammed Yunus, visit Grameen Bank, lead a social business in Dhaka and then design their own social business idea.

Students talking with Nobel Prize Laureate and SDGs Advocate Prof. Muhammad Yunus

The student teams undergo three main phases:

  1. Learning: Students learn about social business and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  2. Field Visiting: Students go to different social businesses to learn about their models and practices.
  3. Designing and competition: Students design their own social business and present it to partners and stakeholders.
Bangladesh entrepreneurs presented lectures on project promotion, investor’s
attraction, branding construction etc. and provide one-to- one training to help participants design
their business plan.

Feeling inspired to take action?
JOIN the Global Day of Action “We the People #Act4SDGs on Sept 25

On 25th September 2017, 2nd anniversary of the SDGs we are calling for actions across the world to tell people about the global goals and tell our leaders how we are performing. We the People #Act4SDGs.

Read more stories of Action for SDGs from all over the world and be inspired …

 

“The SDGs in Action: Country-led, Country-owned”

Join the conversation at the UNGA Side Event on “The SDGs in Action: Country-led, Country-owned” on 21 September 2017, hosted by UNDG.  Speakers include Heads of State/Government and Ministers from the Gambia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Colombia as well as the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the UNDG Chair. Find more information here

Colombia pioneers the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In the early days of SDG implementation, the Goals have proven to be a powerful driver of Colombia’s National Development Plan, the Peace Agreement, and local development plans.

In the department of Nariño on the Pacific coast, young people are overcoming adversities and inequalities. Here is their story on how rural entrepreneurship contributes to peaceful communities.

Chocó and Guajira are among the poorest departments in Colombia, but also home to some of the most biodiverse regions. Here, the 2030 Agenda brings an opportunity to plan a future where the environment is the basis for sustainable and inclusive growth.

The City of Montería has become one of Latin America’s greenest cities, linking green urbanism, transportation and renewable energy to the SDGs. Read more about Montería’s journey.

SDG 6 is coming to life – Korean professor invents device for safer drinking water

For the SDGs to come to life, it is often said that we need new ways of working, new partnerships and everyone to participate – not only governments and UN agencies.

Professor Kyoung-Woong Kim has embraced this message. Together with his team at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, he has developed a water purification device with the potential to change the lives of millions of people.

So how does the device work? As a specialist in soil and underground water contamination, Professor Kim has developed a membrane allowing the purification device to selectively remove water pollutants including pathogenic bacteria. This means purifying contaminated water to 99.9% drinking water. What’s more, the device can be easily installed in disaster-affected areas since its design allows water to flow through the membrane by manual pedaling, without any need for electricity.

Today, 663 million people are still without access to safe drinking water. To achieve SDG 6 local communities, researchers and business need to come together.

Through project “Ongdalsam”, or “Small water spring” in Korean, Professor Kim aims to engage with developing countries where climate change, rising sea levels and water-borne diseases caused by polluted drinking water is a threat to development. The project was first known across Korea when it was discovered in 2009 that the device could purify two liters of water per minute, providing drinking water to about 200 people a day. Since then the device has traveled to Sudan, Fiji, and Kiribati and soon to Tuvalu, where climate change is a threat to water security.

Global sustainable development requires more researchers and entrepreneurs to follow in Professor Kim’s footsteps.

SDG10: Reducing inequalities –
Early attention to the rights of girls and boys with disabilities in Mexico

In Mexico, an initiative on reduced inequalities focusing on children with disabilities has improved the lives of 12,000 boys and girls. So far, 350 caregivers in 9 states have been trained to improve the quality of care and to achieve the full development of children’s skills and abilities.

The Mexican Ministry of Social Development leads a Childcare Facilities Program for Working Mothers that includes 9,200 facilities and reaches 300,000 children in poverty-stricken homes; about 1.7% of whom have a disability. A while ago the UN carried out an analysis of the program, which showed that those in charge of caring for children with disabilities, mostly women, did not have the adequate training to detect developmental challenges, nor to provide caring that allowed the children to reach their maximum potential.

This is the background to a pilot initiative* that aims to increase the quality of care for children with disabilities. So far, 350 caregivers in 9 states have been trained, benefiting more than 12 000 girls and boys. Focus lies on early intervention. The idea is that attending to children with disabilities at an early age will foster the full development of their skills and abilities, give better opportunities to complete schooling and ultimately increase their prospects of leading a life as a fully empowered society member. Caregivers were also trained in human rights, diversity, inclusive planning of educational activities, accessibility and development of community support and networks.

All people may at some point in their life experience a disabling situation. It is a universal issue and is as such addressed throughout the SDGs. For these 12,000 boys and girls, the pilot initiative has meant real change and development. This is what the 2030 Agenda is about: implementing public policies that target the most vulnerable to ensure that no one is left behind.

*The pilot initiative “Model of care and inclusive care for children with disabilities in the framework of the Program of Childhood Stages to Support Working Mothers” is funded by the United Nations Fund to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) and brings together UNDP, UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization/WHO. The project seeks to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed by the Mexican government in 2007.

Country-led progress on the SDGs – the journey of The Gambia

Only nine months ago, the Gambia stood on the verge of conflict. Yet since then, the leadership has launched a reform agenda towards a progressive democracy that addresses the needs of all its citizens. A new chapter has begun.

After 22 years of authoritarian rule, The Gambia is facing a unique opportunity for transition. The African Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals can be powerful levers for change as the government stands committed to achieving the SDGs.

25 November 2011, Nyangen – Girl explaining the meaning of the photo she has taken for the Participatory Photo Exhibition at the Reastitution. Boys and girls were asked to describe their village, its problems and its achievements using a digital photo camera.

For the Millennium Development Goals, the precursors to the SDGs, Gambia indeed made significant progress in several areas. Gender equality was one. In 2015, the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting was criminalized, placing The Gambia among 26 other African countries that have banned this nefarious practice. The targets on water and sanitation were met with over 85% of the population having access to clean water and sanitation. Child mortality was significantly reduced.

But unfinished business remains. Many mothers still die while giving birth and The Gambia aims at a maternal mortality ratio of less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030 or sooner.

Almost one in three Gambians are vulnerable to food insecurity. To achieve SDG 2, the recently launched National Zero Hunger Strategic Review is identifying hunger gaps at all levels. This will be followed by regional consultative sessions throughout the country.

As a low-lying country, situated close to the sea, The Gambia is one of the most vulnerable places in the world to climate change. To adapt and mitigate the impacts, the government is implementing a series of actions. The Climate Change Early Warning Systems are being strengthened. Energy and environment concerns are being mainstreamed into national, regional, and local policies, strategies, programs, and plans. Disaster hotspots are being identified to enhance the resilience of coastal and vulnerable communities.

Key to all of these challenges is the younger generation. With a population of only 2 million, The Gambia accounts for a disproportionate number of people embarking upon the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in search for a better life. By August 2017, Gambians accounted for 5.6% (or 6 294 persons) of all arrivals in Europe from the Mediterranean, according to UNHCR.

The government is now developing a migration policy, through a participatory and inclusive approach, including youth organizations. But the Gambian youth must also see a peaceful, sustainable society with opportunities for decent work, access to education and healthcare to feel like they play are a role, are excited about and confident in the country’s future.

This is the moment for Gambia to scale up and gain momentum on what has been set in motion. If wholly-owned by the people, and led by the government, the SDGs can be a vital travel companion on their journey.

Join the conversation at the UNGA Side Event on “The SDGs in Action: Country-led, Country-owned” on 21 September 2017, hosted by UNDG.  Speakers include Heads of State/Government and Ministers from the Gambia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Colombia as well as the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the UNDG Chair. Find more information here

SDG Action Campaign at the CTAUN Conference 2016: How to tie Education & Action for Achieving the SDGs

Written by Di Cao

On January 22nd, over 500 educators and students from around the world participated in the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) 2016 annual conference to learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG Action Campaign was invited to showcase Humans of MY World data and stories, the World We Want platform, and the UNVR series.

In September 2015, delegates from 190 countries met at the UN headquarters in New York to agree on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to guide global development over the 15 years. The SDGs are the most inclusive and transparent goals for the world ever because the consultation process was truly human-centered: 10 million people all over the world have voted for their most passionate goals through the MY World 2015 Global Survey. In this world’s largest survey, “A Good Education” has been identified as the most popular priority among voters across region, gender, and age (See data: http://data.myworld2015.org/). With that said, worldwide educators and administrator are key partners of the SDGs.

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The conference acknowledged the significance of taking immediate actions. Anne-Marie Carlson, Chair of CTAUN 2016, said at the beginning of the conference:

“Knowledge and good intentions are not enough. It is vitally important that we act now to bring these issues to the fore in every school’s curriculum, so that, to our children, behaving responsibly and living sustainably will become simple common sense. ”

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The mission of the SDG Action Campaign is to empower people from various backgrounds with knowledge and tools to become actively involved in supporting the SDG implementation. At the CTAUN 2016 InfoFair, we brought a comprehensive yet easy-to-start SDG Implementation “manual” for 500 educators, administrators, and students around the world to inspire and help them to plan and make their own SDG actions. (click here to download) The one-page “manual” was welcomed by many of our guests:

We really want to know that as college students, what we can do for the SDGs, where can we get resources and how can we start?— Eayne Castillo, student of Pace University

I believed that many of my colleagues working in schools would find this very helpful.Ruth Nielsen, CTAUN

Ruth later shared with the SDG Action Campaign that we “certainly had the most innovative displays” – thanks Ruth! The SDG Action Campaign also showcased the well-known Virtual Reality films “Clouds Over Sidra” and “Waves of Grace” to the InfoFair. The strong emotions that brought by the films as well as the cutting edge VR technology enhanced people’s understanding of the most marginalized groups. Teachers and professors were eager to use this powerful empathy tool in their future class of SDGs; Students were inspired to organize VR screening events on campus to bring awareness of SDGs among youth.

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“This film brings in the truth and reality of Syrian refugees, which is all we need right now.”
— Aliya Bultrikova, Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the UN

“I plan to add SDG contents to my curriculum, and this (VR) will be an amazing experience that enriches the learning process.”
— Chris Rhodenbagh, teacher of Democracy Prep Public Schools

“I’m thrilled. I want all my students to watch this!”
—Dr. Kathryn Lawter, Advisory Council Chair of CTAUN

On the same day of CTAUN 2016, we welcomed a group of young delegates from University of International Business and Economics of China discussing SDGs and education with the Campaign. Tim Scott, policy advisor on Environment of UNDP, and Antje Watermann from UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific kindly joined the meeting and introduced the 17 global goals as well as the implementation process in China to the young delegates. The audiences were passionate about the MY World 2030 survey and highly interested in the innovative waste project initiated by UNDP China and Baidu.

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Alice Chen presents results of MY World 2015 survey and introduces MY World 2030 to young delegates from China.

In 2016 when the SDGs officially came into force, there really has been no better time than now for global educators to think deeply about how to take actions and to inspire the action of students, to ensure the successful implementation of the 17 goals in the next 15 years. To that end, CTAUN, which has been enthusiastically advocated for the SDGs, passionately addressed the 2030 global agenda in its 2016 annual conference with hundreds of educators and students. The all-day conference gave an explicit overview of the SDGs, discussed topics such as global food security, sustainable food production and consumption. It also addressed environment issues surrounding water, energy use and climate change. From the Campaign’s perspective, we are delighted by this opportunity to speak directly with educators in the field who are inspiring young minds on a daily basis. These young minds will one day become the leaders of tomorrow and the ones to transform the SDGs into reality over the next 15 years.

Jagriti Yatra 2015 – Train ride for a better world

Written by Sailesh Singhal

Ever wonder what can happen on an epic train ride across India to talk about the SDGs? Here’s your answer! I was a part of a Jagriti Yatra journey with 449 other young people to 12 destinations in India to share news on the SDGs and the World We Want. A Yatra takes us along the major challenges and help us shape our own ideas. It dives into the rich cultural heritage that our country is honored with and experience the shift in climate as the train proceeds from South to North. The Yatra is the germinating ground for ideas and exchange of culture. It is a place where individuals from different backgrounds come together and feel the responsibility of being the change. Fifteen years is what we have to create a better society and youth is the Only Catalyst. Yatra teaches us the best to way to contribute. Get down to the society and get our hands dirty!

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Journey with a Vision
Jagriti Yatra is a 15 days, 8000 km world’s largest national train journey, which takes selected youth to meet the role models who are developing unique solutions to India’s developmental challenges. It attracts 17,000 registrations through India and some parts of the world of which only 450 of the most qualified are selected for the journey. The train stops in 12 locations and youth delegates have the opportunity to personally meet exceptional change-makers who are transforming India.

Jagriti Yatra has been a transformational journey, which aimed for an equal representation of young women and men to achieve the Planet 50-50 by 2030. Jagriti Yatra had 40% girls and women representation in 2015. During my Yatra (Journey), I had been advocating for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the World We Want platform. Sustainable Development Goals need to be trickled down in the society through the youth body channels and it’s very important for youth to know about the SDGs. Unfortunately, a minority of us know about our vision of 2030. Thereby, it’s essential for us to show a clear vision of the next 15 years before we actually jump right into achieving the goals.

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Advocating about SDGs and World We Want 

Gender Equality is not a short-term goal. However, we need to start bringing a shift in the mentality of the people from today by talking about the equal opportunities.

Through the MY World 2015 Survey, we can see that of the 902,300 people who have voted in India, over 400,000 prioritized Equality between men and women, making Gender Equality the number 5 most prioritized issue in the survey.

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Young women and men are the carriers of our vision and we need to engage discussions with more young people. The role of young people is not only important as actors in attaining gender equality, but also as partners in creating a world that is equal if we want to achieve the goal of planet 50-50 by the year 2030. Campaigns such as HeForShe, MARD, #YouthForGenderEquality need strengthening as we move towards the SDGs.

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Founder of Innokul commits to Goal 5 vision

Life on the train is as busy as it gets! With a packed schedule of debates, presentations and conversations, and a blend of art, music and poetry, Yatris find themselves fully involved at all times. The Yatra sets out to be a life changing experience for us to catalyse that shift in mindset. Not only to you but through you, to millions of youth who are watching this expedition as it curves across this great and beautiful land of ours. When we hear how our inspiring role models have created their institutions surmounting all odds; when we hear of the stories of leadership and courage from our co-travellers, we discovered an India that waits to be unleashed. You are that dynamic spirit that will unleash a new society.

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We the People’s Hub China Moment

By Di Cao-Youth Advocate of UN Millennium Campaign

During the 70th UN General Assembly, the UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC) together with our important partners from Chinese civil society organized a series of events to further engage Chinese NGOs in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With one-fifth of the world’s population, China has achieved the Millennium Development Goals in seven development indicators ahead of time, including poverty reduction, halving the hungry population, universal primary education, eliminating gender discrimination in primary and secondary education, reducing under-five mortality, tuberculosis and malaria prevention and control, safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities. The direction of China’s future development endeavors and the degree of its commitment to global public goods will have a significant impact on the entire international community.

2015-09-17 16.41.04Director of the UNMC Mitchell Toomey and Secretary General of China NGO Network for International Exchanges You Jianhua

On September 18th, 2015, UNMC supported the China NGO Network for International Exchange (CNIE), the China All-Women Entrepreneurs (CAWE), and the China Great Wall Society (CGWS), in organizing “Balance and Sustainability: Chinese Civil Organizations Support Global Development Agenda” Roundtable in the UN Headquarters in New York City. Guests from the UN, government, private sector, and civil society from around the world attended the meeting. Keynote speakers from various professions shared their experiences and inspiring ideas about the SDGs: Mr. Yang Xiaoping, Vice President of Charoen Pokphand Group, talked about the innovation PPP model in developing modern agriculture; Mr. Huang Haoming, Vice Chairman, Executive Director of China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO), shared his research on activating the role of NGO in helping government to achieve poverty reduction goals. Chinese civil society has been actively involved in the implementation of the MDGs in the past. As the SDGs are about to launch at the time, a new proposal of Chinese civil organizations on the implementation of the post-2015 global development agenda was presented during the GA.

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Attendees of “Balance and Sustainability: Chinese Civil Organizations Support Global Development Agenda” Roundtable 

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Following the roundtable, UNMC welcomed the Chinese delegation to hold a moment in the We the Peoples’ Hub to present significant achievements of China implementing the MDGs such as climate change and affordable energy from the NGO’s perspective. This moment also served as a platform for conversation between the UN and Chinese civil society on SDGs as well as the moving forward partnership.

2015-09-27 11.41.06Director of the UNMC Mitchell Toomey and guest speakers from Chinese civil society in We the People Hub

2015-09-27 12.54.46Youth advocates from YouThink

To bring a human perspective to the development agenda of China, UNMC showcased Humans of MY World in China, which featured the voices of various vulnerable communities and marginalized individuals in the country, including low-income groups, migrant workers, children and youth. During the China Moment, these stories were exhibited to a global audience through multi-media tools. The stories are also available on https://twitter.com/myworld2015

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Virtual Reality Films Screened at Athletics for a Better World

By Di Cao – Global Youth Advocate at the UN Millennium Campaign

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(L-R) Olympic Champions and IAAF Ambassadors, Joanna Hayers and Dwight Phillips, IAAF President Lamine Diack, UNDP Country Director Agi Veres & UNDP Head of Policy and Partnerships Hannah Ryder.

UNDP and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) co-hosted a celebration of the social responsibility program Athletics for a Better World (ABW) in Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium on Aug 26th during the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding to celebrate international partnerships in sports and cooperate to promote sustainable, inclusive human development to make the world a better place. This reception is a series of events UNDP is hosting to celebrate the UN Day for South South Cooperation.

UNDP invited members of the Beijing international diplomatic community to attend the event, which included delegates and representatives from over 40 Countries and many partner organizations. The Virtual Reality film screening became the highlight of the night. The UN Millennium Campaign office brought two VR films to the audience to demonstrate global development challenges from around the world. Launched in early 2015, the film Clouds Over Sidra follows the life of a young girl living in the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Waves of Grace features a community’s recovery amid the Ebola epidemic. Both films were designed to support the UNMC’s efforts to highlight the plight of vulnerable communities.

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Attendees explored the ground-breaking technology through the virtual reality headsets with enormous passion, and the powerful, immersive watching experience brought the real lives of people in Jordan and Liberia straight to the Bird’s Nest. The audience were profoundly moved and gained deeper empathy of vulnerable communities.

“The most amazing watching experience ever before.” Exclaimed one diplomat working in Beijing after watching the VR Film. He added, “It’s like they are looking at me and talking to me, they are around me.”

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As the world’s second largest economy, China achieved many of the Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule, and has become increasingly important in the overall global performance on the newly approved Sustainable Development Goals. In the MY World Global Survey, which aims to link voices of citizens to global leaders during the process of defining the new development agenda, Chinese people contributed 321,395 votes with a high level of involvement of youth. Better transportation and roads, support people who can’t work are the two most popular priorities among Chinese voters.

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Clouds Over Sidra Screened at World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of New Champions

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Guests at World Economic Forum watching Clouds Over Sidra.

From September 10th-12th, the Millennium Campaign had the pleasure to present a Virtual Reality screening of the film, Clouds Over Sidra at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015 in Dalian, China.

Clouds Over Sidra,which was created to support the United Nations Secretary-General’s MDG Advocacy Group’s call for partnerships to build resilience in vulnerable communities, immerses the viewer in the life of Sidra, a young Syrian girl living in the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Gabo Arora — one of the co-creators of Clouds Over Sidra — says that the inspiration behind the project was to use virtual reality to give a platform for viewers to gain a better grasp of the conditions in camps like Za’atari stating, “if we used virtual reality and made them actually walk in [Sidra’s] shoes…. they would care and be moved to action”.

The event used Samsung Gear VR headsets to give people the opportunity to experience the daily life of one of the many children whose lives have been changed dramatically by the conflict in small groups. These intimate screenings were followed up with a Q&A session moderated by Arora along with Dr. Wei Kunlin, Associate Professor at Peking University, Olivier Oullier, Professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at Aix-Marseille University; and Yobie Benjamin, Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer of Avegant Corporation. The Q&A session discussed the impact virtual reality can have on outreach and advocacy for global issues such as the Syria Conflict that would otherwise be impossible with conventional forms of media.

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Co-director and producer Gabo Arora discussing the importance of Virtual Reality films like Clouds Over Sidra in bringing a human element to conflict crises.

In addition, the WEF took the screening as an opportunity to announce their plans to fund the translation of Clouds Over Sidra into Mandarin, bringing further light to a vital issue both to influential decision makers as well as the general public.

Peoples’ Voices Celebrated During Eco Forum Global in China

UNMC was delighted to join Youthink Center to participate in the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang 2015. This was held in June 2015 in Guiyang, China. During the conference, an interactive space featured an exhibition of people from around the world who prioritized eco-friendly options in the UN MY World Global survey, the virtual reality experience – Clouds Over Sidra, and a touchscreen that visualize peoples’ voices hosted on the World We Want platform.

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People young and old, from NGOs, civil society, youth-led organizations, the media, universities and the government watched Clouds Over Sidra, the story of a 12 year-old girl, with absorbed fascination. “This is like being inside a movie!” said one young man from the media after watching the film. As most of the conference participants have never been to Syria or stepped into a refugee camp, many have commented on how this is perhaps the only way they would only be able to meet someone like Sidra.

 

The Eco Forum Global was first launched in China, and approved by the state with “ecological civilization” as the theme of this international high-end summit. The forum is dedicated to bring together representatives from government, business, academia, science and technology, media, nongovernmental, and other community leaders to carry out exchanges and cooperation, spread the concept of ecimage01ological civilization, and share knowledge and experience. For the UNMC, the Eco Forum Global offered an unique opportunity to showcase MY World data collected from around the world, highlighting those who prioritize “Action taken on climate change”, “Protecting forests, rivers and oceans”, and “Access to clean water and sanitation”. Through the Humans of MY World exhibition, forum attendees were able to meet a young man from Puerto Princesa in the Philippines, who said “The ocean is everything for me. it’s my job. It’s my life. If you put trash in this water you may as well be putting it inside my home. I can’t stand for that.” Continue reading “Peoples’ Voices Celebrated During Eco Forum Global in China”

UNMC Brings 8 Million Peoples’ Voices to Bangkok, Thailand

ESCAP Youth Volunteers Celebrate 7 Million Voices and the Peoples' Voices Challenge!
ESCAP Youth Volunteers Celebrate 7 Million Voices and the Peoples’ Voices Challenge!

As “We the Peoples” Data Playground World Tour kicks into high gear in preparation for the 70th UN General Assembly and the announcement of the post-2015 development agenda, we showcased peoples’ voices through cutting-edge technology at the Asia Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development 2015 (APFSD 2015) and the 71st Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

From May 25-29, 2015, the UN Millennium Campaign, in partnership with UNESCAP, UN Volunteers, UNDP, P&G, and Samsung, hosted an interactive Data Playground. Delegates from around the world explored the MY World data, participated in the special screening of the virtual reality film, Clouds of Sidra,  reviewed the Humans of MY World (HOMY) photo exhibition, and were invited to join the Peoples’ Voices Challenge.

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APFSD 2015 delegates looking through MY World results
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World We Want data visualization fascinates delegates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diplomats, academics, ministers and delegates used Samsung touchscreen technology to disaggregate the MY World Dataset by region, country, gender, education levels, age groups and HDI and live data visualizations on the global, regional, and local post-2015 conversation on the World We Want were highlighted.

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MY World Asia Priorities

Out of the over 7.5 million people who have voted in the MY World survey, approximately 3.13 million people, or over 41%, are from the Asia-Pacific Region. Using data, policy makers were able to answer the question on everyone’s mind: what kind of world do Asians really want? They discovered in Asia that the top priorities are “A good education”, “Better healthcare”, and “An honest and responsive government”.

We believe that behind every MY World vote there’s a personal story that deserves to be told. That is why with the HOMY exhibition, we wanted to go one step further and look beyond the data to help policy makers understand WHY people have voted the way they have? What is the reason for choosing one priority above the other 15 priorities?

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Presenting the HOMY exhibition to the Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha

Sponsored by P&G, the beautiful HOMY exhibition featured MY World voters from different backgrounds. A woman from the transgender community in Manila, the Philippines spoke to policy makers through HOMY. She chose “Freedom from discrimination and persecution” as her top priority because she “wants a whole world without discrimination. Being different means being hurt. On the inside, and maybe the outside as well. I pray it won’t always be like that.” We had the distinct honor to present the HOMY exhibition to the Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha.

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Humans of MY World
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Executive Secretary of ESCAP H.E. Shamshad Akhtar Experiences Virtual Reality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, we initiated a project to bring the world’s most pressing challenges home to decision makers and global citizens around the world through Virtual Reality (VR). VR allowed APFSD 2015 and Regional Commission delegatsd to meet a 12-year old Syrian girl named Sidra living in a refugee camp. Sidra took them on a tour of her new home, into her new classroom, and brought them to dinner with her family. As the first UN virtual reality documentary, we wanted to push the boundaries of empathy by bringing humanity to the front of the global development discussion. The VR film had a profound affect over her audience, one delegate said after watching that Clouds Over Sidra is the “most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life”.Bangkok 11

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Clouds Over Sidra brings audience into another universe

Peoples Voices at the World Education Forum

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For the past two and a half years, the United Nations has asked people around the world to tell them what matters most to their lives. Thus far, 4.9 million of the 7.5 million people who voted in the MY World Global Survey have chosen “A better education”. This trend is true regardless of age, gender, education level and is similar across most countries in the world.

Anthony Lake, Executive Director UNICEF
Anthony Lake, Executive Director UNICEF

From May 18-21, we partnered with UNICEF in the production of an exhibit to amplify the voices of people around the world at the 2015 World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea. The forum, co-convened by UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR & UN Women, brought together stakeholders from all sectors to look at achievements and shortfalls from the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All targets. Participants agreed on the Incheon Declaration which sets out a renewed vision in education, one that aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.

The exhibit featured data visualizations on the importance of education for people around the world, such as the MY World datasetMY World priority heat mapUN Global Pulse MY World Twitter mappingWorld We Want key word visualisations, and stories of why people voted for education through the Humans of MY World communications campaign. UNICEF showcased two innovations targeting the out-of-school children:  Raspberry Pi Learning Initiative from Lebanon provides non-formal education to the millions of displaced children as a result of the Syrian crisis, and E-learning, offers accelerated learning opportunities to some of the 1.8 million out-of-school children in Sudan.

Executive Directors Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka UN Women and Irina Bokova, UNESCO visit the exhibit
Executive Directors Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka UN Women and Irina Bokova, UNESCO visit the exhibit

The exhibition centered around Clouds Over Sidra, a virtual reality experience about the daily life of a Syrian refugee. Clouds Over Sidra tells the story of a 12 year old Syrian refugee living in the Za’atari Camp in Jordan. Sidra talks about the important support structures in the camp, including education, football for girls, wrestling and computer labs for the boys. She also talks about the children who don’t use these support structures:

Some kids don’t go to school. They want to wait until we are back home in Syria. I think it’s silly to wait. How will they remember anything? And there is nothing to do here anyway.

Continue reading “Peoples Voices at the World Education Forum”