Sustainable Solutions: Global activists, business leaders and experts join the world’s first playable conference on sustainable development in Bonn

Photo: Over 500 delegates at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development form the SDG wheel at the World Conference Center (WCC) in Bonn, March 01, 2017. phototek / Ina Fassbender

Bonn, 1 March 2017 I Leading thinkers, policy-makers, business leaders and civil society activists gather in Germany for the first ever Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development, to chart new thinking and action on the world’s biggest development challenges at the World Conference Center in Bonn.

The Festival brings together more than 1,000 experts and activists from over 80 countries to join game designers and policy simulators for the world’s first playable conference on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Festival showcases the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG implementation, while building synergies, increasing mutual understanding, developing solutions and mobilising partnerships and resources to drive action for sustainable development.

Speakers include Alaa Murabit, leading international advocate for inclusive peace processes and UN SDG Advocate, Sarah Poole, Deputy Assistant Administrator, UNDP, Meng Zhaoli, Chief Economist at Tencent, one of the world’s biggest internet companies, David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations and Kumi Naidoo, Launch Director, Africans Rising For Justice, Peace and Dignity.

The Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development is hosted by the UN SDG Action Campaign and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and in partnership with an exciting alliance of international organisations. These include the City of Bonn, Cepei, Data-Pop Alliance, Engagement Global, Plan International, Salzburg Global Seminar, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), with other supporting partners.

The first day of the Festival featured the launch of the UN SDG Action Campaign and the opening of the Global Campaign Center. This year’s Festival is the inaugural event of an annual series hosted by the UN SDG Action Campaign in Bonn and is designed to meet the needs of the global community of SDG actors and advocates and ensure they have the innovative tools and approaches to accomplish their mission.

Inequality, globalisation, resource efficiency, advancing a green economy and sustaining progress in the face of disruptors to development are some of the key challenges the Festival will tackle. Virtual and augmented reality areas will immerse delegates in alternate life experiences from around the world, while a real-time policy simulation will lie at the heart of the Festival, exploring how we can collaborate to reach the Global Goals.

“We are here to connect the private sector, governments and civil society to provide them with the latest innovations and approaches to realize the SDGs. We have to make sure they can bring real solutions to their regions and inspire billions of people everywhere to work together to take action for sustainable development” said Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

 The inaugural Festival will chart new thinking on the world’s biggest development challenges and mobilise key partnerships and resources to drive action now and in the future” said Alex Thier, Executive Director of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

“I am pleased to open the first Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development in Bonn. This Festival, supported by the German government, has brought together people from all over the world to advance the 2030 Agenda. The UN SDG Action Campaign, and its Global Campaign Center in Bonn, is a testament to the universal nature of the SDGs that will be a core theme at this year’s Festival and those to come. The aim of the 2030 Agenda is to bring about fundamental lifestyle changes in all spheres of society, to help to protect and sustain life and the climate on our planet” said Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for Agenda 2030, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“Bonn is very proud to host the global campaign on the SDGs. This festival is a signal to individuals, communities, cities, organisations, businesses and other stakeholders of all kinds to be bold in their vision and to bring ideas together in a culture of cooperation. Bonn is a great place to do so, and we do our utmost to give this a boost by offering a local platform within the programme” stated Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan, who is also First Vice President of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability.

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Notes to editors:

  • In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
  • The Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development is the inaugural event of an annual series of global gatherings, hosted by the UN SDG Action Campaign.
  • The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General administered by the UN Development Programme and mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in SDG implementation.
  • The Global Campaign Center, recently inaugurated in Bonn with the support of the Federal Government of Germany, is a strategic hub for the UN SDG Action Campaign, key to the UN’s strategy of providing cutting-edge advocacy support, creative campaigns and big data expertise and analytics to Member States and partners across the globe.
  • The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is the UK’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.
  • The 2017 Festival is organised by a coalition of partners including the UN SDG Action Campaign, ODI, the City of Bonn, Cepei, Data-Pop Alliance, Engagement Global, Plan International, Salzburg Global Seminar, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), with other supporting partners.

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