City leadership-Mobilizing citizens to become SDG changemakers in their daily lives
The Ghent City Board designed a series of five concrete and competitive challenges for Ghent and 5 other cities, which each focused on SDGs 1-5: “Eat massively social” (SDG1.4), “Days without meat” (SDG2.4), “Everyone on the bike” (SDG3.9), “Class marathon” (SDG4a) and “Everybody feminist” (SDG5.5).
The SDG Voices campaign, lead by the City of Ghent, challenged 6 cities in Belgium to promote awareness about the SDGs and encourage and mobilize Belgians to implement the SDGs in their daily lives. The campaign involved 23 different Ghent city services and departments, and the equivalent in the challenged cities
Nearly 6,000 citizens in 6 cities participated physically, many other people supported the challenges via social media (communicated through short movies, web-posts and campaign images. The campaign brought together stakeholders such as Ghent knowledge institutions, various NGOs, The Shift, Gent en Garde, Football Club KAA Gent. The campaign paved the way for new partnerships with organizations such as the Flemish Association of Cities and Municipalities, University and Academy Ghent, CSR Europe, etc and initiatives such as healthy cooking workshops, debates on sustainability at school, theatre performance on gender equality, summer cycling course for immigrant children, etc.
The campaign also resonated throughout networks, such as Eurocities, ESDN, ICLEI. The campaign is having a multiplier effect on more citizens’ and organizations’ familiarity with the SDGs. For example, the cooperation between businesses and schools will be continued. NGO Globelink started a project to implement the SDGs in Ghent with youngsters. The city administration integrated the SDGs in the preparation of the long-term city planning. Ghent University and Ghent Academy embraced the SDGs in their new policy strategy.