During COP 22 – Youth for the SDGs in Marrakech

Translating the SDGs

The UN Youth Booth was among the exhibits located at the COP22 Blue Zone, where various event booths were being showcased for visiting participants during this year’s conference in Marrakech. The UN Youth Booth, by working with the SDG Action Campaign, showcased some of the various initiatives made to translate the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into local languages. Members from CSAYN Ethiopia and CSAYN Cameroon showcased various local youth-led initiatives of afforestation programs to raise awareness for the power of youth mobilization. The groups also explained the UN virtual reality programme, which helped to break the language barrier; this breakdown has proven to be an imperative objective for creating inclusive participation of local peoples, such as farmers and marginalized communities with less access to education.  This is an effort to leave no one behind in this global effort.

Reactions varied from emotional to excitement from people who watched the virtual reality films, but everyone thought the technology was a wonderful way to engage people from around the world in ongoing humanitarian issues, especially in places they would otherwise never experience.  Delegates who tried the virtual reality were extremely impressed with the innovations presented, and many said it’s the first time they had seen VR apart from online demonstrations.

Various surveys to gain insight of conference participants’ knowledge of and perspective on the SDGs were conducted at the UN Youth Booth. Youth delegates who took the “MY World 2030” survey gave their feedback as to what they think is the most crucial SDG. The survey went on successfully, and most delegates identified the following six goals as their top priorities:

  • SDG 13 :Climate Action
  • SDG 6: Clean Water
  • SDG 5:Gender Equality
  • SDG 3: Quality Education
  • SDG 4:Good Health and well-being


In Conversation with Mr. Ntiokam Divine from Cameron, on David Nabarro, the UN Special Advisor on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

It was a privilege speaking to Mr. Nabarro and he was so excited and proud to have  advocates pushing the 2030 Agenda for SD at all local, national and regional levels, and in local languages. He gave me guidelines on how to ensure no one is left behind in achieving the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. He promised to personally support our efforts at country level as well.

In conversation with Youthink delegate from China:

This was a great opportunity to liaise with the youth delegation from China, and we were able to share presentations on tree planting activities carried out across Cameroon, Uganda and the Philippines by Ntiokam Divine, volunteers and the coordinators and founders of CSAYN. Later, we shared the VR experience with them, and the youth present were very supportive of planning for COP23 by coming up with similar innovations.


COP22 Civil Society Climate March

Various groups, mainly consisting of civil society participants present for COP22, gathered for a 3km climate march to show solidarity and voice common concerns on the effects of climate change and urge government action to be taken immediately. The Climate March was a significant accomplishment, especially for a lot of non-state actors and civil society groups in voicing their demands and reminding the world once more of the severity of the situation and the actions that decision makers should take and enforce. In conjunction with fellow youth and civil society activists, members from PACJA (Pan African Climate Justice Alliance) and the African Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) showed a high visibility and presence to represent and voice Africa’s demands on behalf of civic society and youth. At the forefront of the demands was the expressed need for implementation, action and enhanced commitment on the Paris Agreement by signatory parties.


Green Zone

The African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) hosted its side event panel discussion at the COP22 Green Zone on November 15th. The theme of the discussion was “Making Climate Finance Work for Youth in Africa.” The side event was productive in bringing African youth at the COP together and also to engage with other youth from Europe, Asia and North America for exchanging experiences and best practices. Among many highlights, a detailed brief from Mr. Ibraheem Ceesay (Chair of AYICC) focused on some of the major continental youth funding mechanisms and opportunities that already exist for young Africans to tap into. Abiy Shimelis (AYICC East Africa) – pointed out the importance of young people’s proactive role in following up climate finance within the local context of their country and seeking ways on how it can be an input for youth capacity building especially towards adaptation.

Blue Zone

A briefing session with the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa H.E Dr. Abdulla Hamdok took place alongside a team from AYICC and ACLYP.  The session was instrumental in consolidating the various ongoing activities, prospects and challenges during the COP22 on behalf of the African Group of Negotiators (as briefed by Dr. Seth Osafa), African Civil Society movement (as briefed by PACJA) and the African Youth (as briefed by AYICC).

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Register your interest for the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development: 1-3 March, Bonn, Germany


1-3 March 2017

World Conference Center, Bonn, Germany


In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. We need a revolution in the way we think about international development if we are to deliver such an ambitious agenda by 2030. The Global Festival of Ideas plans to catalyse that revolution.

PlenaryJoin us for the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development at the World Conference Center in Bonn from 1-3 March 2017, and be one of the first to become an active player in the world’s first ‘playable’ conference on the SDGs, exploring how they can be achieved. The Festival will bring together leading thinkers, policy-makers, civil society and activists, together with gaming experts and policy simulators.

Get involved in interactive and immersive sessions that tackle the tough choices and trade-offs in this ambitious global agenda. Together we’ll chart new thinking on the world’s biggest development challenges and mobilise key partnerships and resources to drive action now and in the future.

bonnThe interactive event will feature:

  • High level plenary sessions, presentations, discussion and debates to share critical ideas, showcase success and hear from keynote speakers
  • Real time problem-solving through policy simulations and participatory games based on interactive technology, built by expert game designers
  • Innovation hubs that showcase the work of a wide variety of organisations

Together, we’ll explore some of the toughest challenges in international development along the following themes:

  • Disruptors to progress: Violence, movement of people, and responses
  • Inequality: Reducing inequalities, revisiting globalisation
  • Sustainability and growth: Water, food, energy and green growth

…as well as critical areas for action on the SDGs – including awareness-raising, citizen engagement and partnership and collaboration.

Follow this link to register your interest and find out more about the festival today!



The United Nations SDG Action Campaign gives a first preview of the new Global Campaign Center in Bonn

Journalists experience United Nations Virtual Reality (unvr.org) at the Global Campaign Center of the UN SDG Action Campaign in Bonn. UNVR shows the human story behind development challenges, allowing people with the power to make a difference have a deeper understanding of their world. 15 December 2016. photothek / Ina Fassbender
Journalists experience United Nations Virtual Reality (unvr.org) at the Global Campaign Center of the UN SDG Action Campaign in Bonn. UNVR shows the human story behind development challenges, allowing people with the power to make a difference have a deeper understanding of their world. 15 December 2016. photothek / Ina Fassbender

BONN 15 December 2016 – The United Nations SDG Action Campaign, with the support of the Federal Government of Germany, offered a behind the scenes tour of the new Global Campaign Center in the historic Haus Carstanjen today.

The Global Campaign Center is a strategic hub to deliver the UN SDG Action Campaign’s mandate to inspire people’s action on the Sustainable Development Goals; connect and amplify stakeholder efforts; aggregate citizen-generated data; showcase impact; share best practices; and incubate and test out innovative efforts around SDG implementation. The Center will strengthen the United Nations in Bonn as a hub for global sustainability.

Anand Kantaria, Global Project Lead, conducts a live demo of the MY World 2030 survey (myworld2030.org) at the Global Campaign Center of the UN SDG Action Campaign in Bonn, 15 December 2016. photothek / Ina Fassbender
Anand Kantaria, Global Project Lead, conducts a live demo of the MY World 2030 survey (myworld2030.org) at the Global Campaign Center of the UN SDG Action Campaign in Bonn, 15 December 2016. photothek / Ina Fassbender

The interactive tour showcased the Campaign’s work including virtual reality film screenings, the new MY World 2030 survey to track progress of the SDGs, SDG photo exhibit and data analytics visualizations. Continue reading “The United Nations SDG Action Campaign gives a first preview of the new Global Campaign Center in Bonn”

Bridges of Understanding brings SDGs to their annual gala

Bridges of Understanding Annual Gala, 12 December: New York

Bridges of Understanding is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, nonpolitical organization established in 2007 to enhance positive relations between the United States and Arab World through one-to-one connections between thought leaders and the creation of original youth focused programs.

The Campaign has had a partnership with Bridges of Understanding since June 2016 to promote empathy and understanding around the refugee crisis, co-develop educational and new media activities and to increase awareness and action around the SDGs.

The Campaign organized a We the Peoples hub during the annual Gala. The SDGs were on display, featured as a selfie tool at the step and repeat photowall. Guests also had the opportunity to watch Clouds Over Sidra & My Mother’s Wing on virtual reality headsets. The gala honored Arianna Huffington and Chaker Ghazaal for their contribution to promoting global citizenship, connecting people, countries and cultures.


UN Talks and UN Day in Bonn

Twenty years ago, on 20 June 1996, the flag of the United Nations was hoisted in front of Bonn’s Haus Carstanjen in the presence of former Environment Minister Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The United Nations Volunteers programme had just moved to Bonn, followed by the UN Climate Secretariat shortly after. This marked the beginning of Bonn’s development as Germany’s United Nations City. With roughly 1,000 UN employees and about 20 UN organizations, the location has become a powerhouse for global sustainability that is playing a key role at the international level. The UN SDG Action Campaign is proud to be one of the newest members of the UN Bonn family.

‘Shaping a Sustainable Future’ is the common theme for the work of all Bonn-based UN organizations. From Bonn, we are rendering a key contribution towards the achievement of the 17 SDGs by the year 2030. On the occasion of ’20 years of UN Bonn’, the work of Bonn’s United Nations organizations will be presented during our UN Talks this year.

Continue reading “UN Talks and UN Day in Bonn”

Youth Entrepreneurs take center stage with Road to Nairobi 2016 Project at GPEDC

At the end of November, a diverse group of stakeholders met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss critical issues at the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation’s second High Level Meeting. Building upon months of grass roots organization in the lead up, Building Bridges Foundation, with partners UN SDG Action Campaign and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ensured the ideas and opinions of young people had a special role at the conference.

For young people, by young people, the project highlighted the entrepreneurial solutions of 80 young entrepreneurs in eight countries. Their stories were shared on the Humans of MY World blog, in blog posts, in exhibitions, and in a final report that was presented to important delegates at the HLM2.

The project, Road to Nairobi 2016 has empowered young entrepreneurs across Eastern and Southern Africa to share their experiences, challenges, and ideas for local solutions to tackling the SDGs. The Building Bridges team departed South Africa in August with the mission of revealing the challenges and priorities of young entrepreneurs in eight countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The team named a national Building Bridges Ambassador in each country who supported the local coordination on the ground. This included an open call for submissions of ongoing business solutions to addressing the SDGs in both rural and urban settings. The best were chosen to first compete to become the national winner in their country, and then were flown to Nairobi to compete in the global competition. The journey also included national youth forums with policy makers to discuss the results, where MY World 2015 results helped frame the discussions.

The youth entrepreneur’s stories were profiled on the Humans of MY World photo-narrative blog along with an identification of their most important SDG. Banners were printed for an exhibition at the conference, which also included UNVR demonstrations, selfie booths, Humans of MY World voting, previews of the publications created to support the project, the actual bus which was driven across the continent, and the ability to interact with the young people involved in the project.

Two side events were organized around the Building Bridges project. Firstly, the team presented the preliminary findings of an in-depth evaluation report of the project to Ms. Liliane Ploumen, co-Chair of the GPEDC and Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, who stressed the need to include young people in the decision making process:  “Too often we talk about young people without having them in the room.”

Ms. Sicily Kariuki, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs of the Republic of Kenya stated “We must invest in youth so that they attain skills and nurture a culture of entrepreneurship.”

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The team also presented a draft of their report of the Humans of MY World – the storytelling project done in collaboration with the SDG Action Campaign. Mr. Seing Falu Njie, Regional Director for Africa, reinforced the UN SDG Action Campaign’s commitment to facilitating and ensuring people around the world have a means to voice their opinion through their diversity of projects, such as MY World 2030 and partnerships.

The second event presented the opportunity for 3 of the young Building Bridges ambassadors and others from the region to compete in the “Get In the Ring Competition,” occurring in Africa for the first time. The event mimics a boxing match, placing two competitors in the ring for lightning elimination pitch rounds until one is crowned champion. Unfortunately, the Building Bridges representatives didn’t get the gold this time, but it was a revealing lesson about capacity building with young entrepreneurs from the region for the next project.

The final report about the project will be released at the Global Festival of Ideas in March, 2017.


2015 Campaign Report

2015 was a culminating year for many global processes led by the United Nations. The MDGs came to an end, and so, after three years of consultations and negotiations, the new Agenda 2030 finally became a highly applauded reality by Member States, Civil Society, and people around the world. In particular for United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC), 2015 meant the end of an era and mandate and the conversion into a new phase as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Action Campaign (the Campaign).

On September 25th, 2015, countries ratified the new global Sustainable Development Agenda. The Campaign paid homage to the millions of people who helped build the agenda by sharing their stories during the United Nations General Assembly at the We the Peoples Hub.

In October 2015, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon mandated the new Campaign to serve as a catalyst to rally stakeholder engagement, and to support a coherent and integrated approach around ensuring the widest possible effort to take action, encouraging active participation in the SDG implementation process, and offering a wide-angle lens reflecting citizen sentiment and feedback on the progress towards achieving the goals from their perspectives.

See the 2015 report