Sustainable Development Goals engagement reaches new heights at largest ever SDG Global Festival of Action

Activists, development experts, changemakers and creatives come together in Bonn, Germany, to catalyze action on the SDGs, test and accelerate new ideas, while deepening the coalition for SDG Action

 

The global community gathered at the SDG Global Festival of Action in Bonn, Germany, to reiterate its commitment to accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals. Organized by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, the Festival stressed the need for advocacy, citizen engagement, behaviour change and political will to drive the action required to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality.

Held from 2–4 May, this year’s Festival brings together over 1,500 participants from over 150 countries, ranging from activists to high-level representatives, offering a dynamic space where they can share different perspectives, test and accelerate new ideas, and build an environment where the SDGs become a priority for political engagement and democratic participation.

Maria Flachsbarth, German Parliamentary Secretary of State, spoke about the upcoming SDG Summit and how it should bring renewed political commitments to the implementation of Agenda 2030. “These are turbulent times. Around the world, multilateralism is coming under pressure.” Tania Freiin Von Uslar-Gleichen, Director for Human Rights at the German Federal Foreign Office agreed, urging everyone to walk the road of action together, and highlighting the need for international cooperation and ambitious multilateralism in the face of global challenges. Addressing an audience of creatives, activists, youth leaders and business and government experts, she said: “You are a force of nature for the 2030 Agenda.”

“We need partnerships, public and private, for-profit and nonprofit. We need governmental and nongovernmental organizations. You have to take the Agenda to your local constituents to nationalise the SDGs and transform them into their national development plans. Change requires urgency and determination”, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Assistant Secretary General and Director for the Regional Bureau for Europe in the UN Development Programme

“Change requires urgency and determination”

Speaking on a panel on multi-stakeholder insights, leaders will underline the need for advocacy and citizen engagement. Linking sustainability and citizen action, Juan Somavia, Former Director-General of the International Labour Organisation said that ‘it is totally impossible for the SDGs to become a reality without the people.” This was an overarching theme with the other panellists. “We are agents of change, and if we don’t believe that, nothing is going to happen in our lives’, said Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Mexican Congresswoman and President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. “This is the moment when we have a lot of questions, but at the same time, we have a very clear consensus: This development Agenda. This is a clear roadmap. A strategy that we must follow.” She continued by saying that this change starts with the government, working hand in hand, heart by heart, with the people they represent. “If we really want to change the world in 11 years, it seems impossible, but of course it’s possible, and that’s why we are here.”

Leadership was one of three keywords Cristina Gallach, High Commissioner for Agenda 2030 for the Government of Spain highlighted when discussing how the Spanish government has used the Agenda as a framework for political action. “Top leadership is essential,” but so is organization and mobilization. She suggested building alliances with entrepreneurs, youth organizations, academia, and artists — “civil society is key”.

Bringing in the youth perspective, activist and co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories, Yusuf Omar, compared the political protests that have swept the world these past few years to the climate demonstrations we are seeing today: “We are on the brink of another moment, a climate moment. This is not a future projection of what could happen — it is happening right now. He encouraged the participants to use their digital devices to tell their stories online.

Eddie Ndopu, Special Advisor for Impact and Corporate Sustainability to RTW Investments and soon to be appointed SDG Advocate, delivered a powerful message on defying the odds. Being diagnosed with spinal muscular dystrophy as a child, he outlived his expectations and became the first African with a degenerative disability to graduate from the University of Oxford. “I am in the process of putting the words disability and possibility in the same sentence.” Next year, he is planning to be the first disabled person to travel into space to deliver a televised address to the United Nations on greater SDG implementation. “Regardless of who you are, where you come from, how you identify, you matter, your humanity matters. And this is what it means to leave nobody behind, It means that we need to give way for the most vulnerable segments of society to move from the back of the line to the front so that they can lead”.

SDG Action Awards — Winners

The UN SDG Action Campaign runs the SDG Action Awards to celebrate individuals, civil society organizations, subnational governments, foundations, networks, and private sector leaders who are advancing the sustainable development movement in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way. Today, the winners of the 2019 UN SDG Action Awards were recognised at the SDG Global Festival of Action.

The innovative projects included: A crowdmap for sexual violence from Mumbai, India; an immersive multimedia form of storytelling following twelve families lives around the globe over the next ten years, a data-platform tracking over USD 10 million meant for social development impacting over two million rural lives across African communities; a project that uses creativity and participatory arts to tackle sexual and reproductive health and HIV in Malawi; a campaign showcasing the employment legacy of the London 2012 Paralympics; a nation-wide campaign that led to the repeal of the infamous rape-marriage law in Lebanon and finally a blockchain-based token rewards project mobilizing recycling entrepreneurs and tackling ocean plastic and global poverty in Haiti, Philippines and the USA.

The United Nations climate action campaign Act Now was recognised with an honourable mention for taking advantage of innovative artificial intelligence, creating a chatbot that helped connect people’s voices with the United Nations.

SDG Studio

In addition to the High-level plenary, the live-streamed SDG Studio provided a dynamic stage where Ted-style talks, interactive discussions and performances. Speakers included Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


Also published on Medium

Meet the 8 Winners of the UN SDG Action Awards 2019

Campaigners, Storytellers, Mobilizers, Connectors, Campaigners, Visualizers, Includers, Creatives, these are the most transformative and impactful SDG initiatives of the year.

Every year, the UN SDG Action Awards, organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign, celebrate individuals, civil society organizations, local governments, and changemakers who are taking transformative action to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across a range of categories.

On May 2, we announced and awarded this year’s leading mobilizer, connector, campaigner, visualizer, includer, creative and storyteller, who together send a clear message to the world — that advocates are translating the Global Goals into local action, and are making an impact through innovation, dedication and collaboration.

Meet the #SDGAwards 2019 Winners

Visualizer category:
Safecity: Crowdmap for sexual violence — Mumbai, India

“There are millions of women and girls who experience sexual violence on a daily basis. They can’t be here but each one of you can make a difference.” — Elsa Marie D’Silva

Elsa Marie D’Silva, Founder and CEO, receiving the Award (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Storyteller category:
Humans & Climate Change Stories — Lausanne, Switzerland

“As a journalist, we spent 5 weeks in privacy with the families and there is a very solid contract between the journalist and these families — they are in the front line of climate change,” — Samuel Turpin

Samuel Turpin receiving the Award (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Creative category:
Make Art / Stop AIDS: Youth — Zomba, Malawi

“The impact that this project has brought to the students has left a print in my heart. Art is a powerful language.” — Sharon Kalima

Sharon Kalima, Youth Programme Officer, after the announcement of the SGD Action Awards. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Connector category:
Tacking Ocean Plastic and Global Poverty with IBM Blockchain Technology — Haiti, Philippines and USA

All of us should systematically embrace good tech, and collectively advance sustainability. — Andrés Rodriguez

Andres Rodriguez, Alexandra Hiniker, and Ottavia Ortolani before the announcement of the Award. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Campaigner category:
A White Dress Doesn’t Cover the Rape #Undress522 — Beirut, Lebanon

“Dedicated to my country, my family, my team, to every women survivor of sexual assault. They can’t be here but each one of you can make a difference.” —Ghida Anani

Ghida Anani, Founder and Director, receiving the Award. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Includer category:
Transforming Lives Make Senses for Everyone — United Kingdom

“I’d like to thank the 4.237 parathletes who went to the London 2012, who changed attitudes towards disabilities. Their amazing performance has inspired the world and its thanks to them that one million more persons with disabilities are in employment in the UK.” Craig Spence

Craig Spence, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, with his team. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Mobilizer category:
Follow the Money — Abuja, Nigeria

“In 2018, we were able to track over 10 million dollars in Nigeria and reached directly 2 million lives. Mobilizing citizens, engaging governments, using data and telling stories brings change. Achieving the SDG’s is about connecting the dots.” Hamzat Lawal

Hamzat Lawal, Founder, receiving the Award. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

People’s Choice Award:

2030 Youth Force Philippines — Philippines

“We go beyond our network and get to the grassroots and make them aware that they also contribute to the Global Goals.” — Jules Guiang

Jules Guiang, Co-Founder receiving the Award. (Photo: Yaroslav Senchuk)

Honourable mentions

WFP Storytellers Project
United Nations World Food Programme Communications Team
Rome, Italy

Empowering Marginalized Young Women &Youth Through Volunteerism and Community Radio
A project by UN Volunteers and UN Women Community Radio Project Team
Quetta, Pakistan

The People’s Seat Initiative
A project by UN Climate Change and the UN’s Department of Global Communications
Bonn, Germany

The most important countdown of the year
An initiative by Newlink group, RTVE & High Commissioner 2030 Agenda
Madrid, Spain

I am a force to be reckoned with!
A project by UNDP Nordic Office in Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden


Also published on Medium.

Calling on SDG Advocacy change-makers for the UN SDG Action Awards!

Calling on SDG Advocacy change-makers for the UN SDG Action Awards!

To meet the SDGs we need everyone to take SDG action. The UN SDG Action Campaign is looking for the top SDG mobilizers, storytellers, campaigners, connectors, visualizers, includers and creatives across the world who are making this happen!

The UN SDG Action Awards recognize the most brilliant individuals, civil society organizations, subnational governments, foundations, networks, private sector leaders who are working on SDG advocacy to advance the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way.

Submissions open until 30 January 2019. Apply NOW for the UN SDG Action Awards

The winners are announced at a special Awards Ceremony held at the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany (2-4 May 2019), and their initiatives and projects are highlighted throughout the year as an inspiration and role model to the growing global community of SDG leaders, decision-makers and influencers.

Stay up to date to news, announcements and the best stories from the Global Festival of Action & the SDG Action Awards and help us spread the word. Follow #SDGAwards & #SDGglobalFest on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

1,500 participants make noise at the Global Festival of Action for the world to hear: activate and connect for sustainable development

Multiple voices and solidarity as the success ingredients for global action: this was the main takeaway from the last day of the Global Festival Action for Sustainable Development.

More than 1,500 participants from more than 100 countries convened at the Festival, hosted by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign.

After making new connections, exchanging innovative solutions and dancing to the sound of SDG-inspired beatboxing, our Festival-goers are now taking it all home, committed to keep acting for sustainable development!

Global Festival of Action 2018 Wrap up

Multiple voices and solidarity as the success ingredients for global partnerships and change: this was the main takeaway from the last day of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development. But this doesn't end here! Let's take all of it home and keep acting for #SDGs!#SDGglobalFest #ACT4SDGs United Nations United Nations Organizations in Bonn

Geplaatst door UN SDG Action Campaign op Vrijdag 23 maart 2018

Gathered at the closing ceremony, the amazing UN SDG Action Awards winners gave their main takeaways from the Festival. “I’m going to learn from these seven other people to create a movement and change the world”, said Foluke Michael, founder of Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption in Nigeria.

“Never give up. Everyone wants to help their family, their community, their country. We need to bring out that desire of everyone and transform it into action”, summarized founder of Sri-Lankan initiative The Road to Rights, Ashan Perera.

More than 30,000 people watched the livestream from 158 countries and the Festival was a trending topic on Twitter in Germany.

#SDGglobalFest trending across the world

Thanks for joining us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Those are the countries where people were tweeting & posting to Instagram with #SDGglobalFest

Closing out the Festival, a fully interactive rap filled with love fired up the crowd, bringing together acoustic drums, beatboxing and SDG inspired lyrics. “We’ve got all the love we need”, sang the participants in unison.

See all the images of the third day

Browse photos of the second day

See photos of the first day

Revisit the Awards Ceremony

The Festival is over but the change-making doesn’t end here… let’s continue acting for SDGs!

Join us for the Global Day of Action on 25th of September with #ACT4SDGs.

Looking forward to seeing you next year for the third round of the Festival, from 2 to 4 May 2019!

Stay tuned to the Festival website for updates on the next edition and check the UN SDG Action Campaign page all year long to see how people are pushing for change in every single corner of the planet.

Canon Launches 2018 Young People Programme at UN’s Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development

London, UK – 22 March 2018 – Canon Europe, leader in imaging solutions, is officially launching this year’s Young People Programme for 2018 at this year’s Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development with the help of two of its student storytellers and the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Participants from the programme have appeared alongside Stuart Poore, EMEA Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs, Canon Europe, and Photojournalist and Canon ambassador Ulla Lohmann, on UN Web TV to share plans for the year ahead with Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign (Sustainable Development Goals).

Now in its fourth year, Canon’s Young People Programme seeks to contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs by giving young people a voice through harnessing the power of positive visual storytelling to drive change. The programme uses the SDGs as a framework to give young people the opportunity to talk about the global issues that affect their futures and by providing the right tools and coaching, it aims to bring participants’ stories to life. Canon Europe has been delivering visual storytelling workshops for young people since 2015, and to date, 14 countries across Europe have run events, reaching more than 3,000 students.

“The Young People Programme is a good example of how Canon Europe is seeking to make meaningful social investments across the EMEA region, demonstrating our commitment to our corporate philosophy of Kyosei: living and working together for the common good,” says Stuart Poore, EMEA Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs, Canon Europe.

“The Global Festival of Action is a great opportunity to give young people a voice about the need for positive change. We at Canon are incredibly proud to support the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, and are very excited to celebrate the inspiring work of our own Young People Programme student storytellers during the event.”

The Canon´s commitment with the SDGs through the Young People Program is a perfect example there are many organisations, companies and people truly engaged in creating real solutions to bring the SDGs forward. We cannot do this alone, we need the young people and we need to hear their voices, and include them in the action needed to achieve the Goals. I feel inspired by the amazing visual stories created by the Young People and look forward to finding what we will create together in the next chapters of this program. ” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by the UNDP to create awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empower and inspire people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will, and help make the Goals attainable by 2030.

From the 21st to the 23rd March, the UN SDG Action Campaign hosts the Global Festival of Action,  bringing together business leaders, activists, UN representatives, academics, government, global organisations and media from across the globe. This year Canon joins them and is supporting the event in several ways including hosting “how to” sessions, using Canon technology to print exhibition photography, promotional photo books, floor graphics, and banners;

The Power of the Visual Voice
Canon Ambassador, Ulla Lohmann held a ‘how to’ session, showing attendees all the ways they can use storytelling portraits to add strength to their SDG successes, get them heard, inspire others and drive continued support for their work. She’ll share how to build a story, make a personal connection with a subject and share the results with the wider world.

Humans of MY World
Canon’s exceptional printing technology brings a powerful exhibition of photography to life that shines a light on the real human stories behind the SDGs. Photography from the Young People Programme will sit alongside that of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Further information about Canon Europe’s Young People Programme is available at:
https://youtu.be/tx-aj-SAGpQ

Winners of the first United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Awards announced

The Awards Ceremony honored winners in seven categories during the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany, highlighting transformative action for the SDGs around the world

March 21, 2018 (Bonn) – The winners of the first United Nations SDG Action Awards have been announced this Wednesday by the UN SDG Action Campaign, demonstrating the extraordinary momentum towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in different corners of the earth.

See photos of the Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony was held in tandem with the second edition of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany, and honored initiatives in the categories of communicator, connector, includer, innovator, mobilizer, storyteller, and visualizer.

“These are ‘Action’ Awards because we need more than words: our winners dared to believe and act for change. They are perfect examples of the wonderful work that’s happening around the world led by thousands, if not millions, of people”, said Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

The winning initiatives are fighting corruption in Nigeria, mobilizing Belgians to implement the SDGs in their daily lives, empowering children through photography and digital skills in Bangladesh, promoting human rights education in Sri Lanka and much more. Evidencing the multi-sectoral engagement to achieve the SDGs, the winners span over private and public sectors, as well as civil society and grassroots movements.

Over 700 nominations from 125 countries in 7 continents were submitted. An expert judging panel evaluated submissions against the degree to which actions were deemed to be transformative, inclusive and impactful.

In addition, an open vote was held on the website of the UN SDG Action Campaign where visitors could rate their favorite among the 38 finalists to win the People’s Choice Award.

“Great solutions for the world’s challenges can come from anywhere. We hope everyone is inspired by these stories and consider submitting their nominations for future Awards. These are the first winners of a community that will continue to grow”, said Toomey.

ABOUT THE UN SDG ACTION CAMPAIGN

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by the UNDP to create awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empower and inspire people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will, and help make the Goals attainable by 2030. For more information, please visit https://sdgactioncampaign.org.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL FESTIVAL OF ACTION

The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is the world´s annual event to celebrate, empower, and connect the global community driving Action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Organised by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Festival connects an inspiring mix of business leaders, activists, UN representatives, academia, governments, innovators, global organisations, and the media from across the globe. Taking place in Bonn each year, the Festival provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools, and approaches to SDG action and connect organizations and individuals from different sectors and regions to exchange, build partnerships, and make the impact of their solutions scale.

Spread your Goals and flap your wings for the #SDGs! A campaign launched in Germany invites citizens to have a say on the #SDGs

One small flap of your wings can make a huge difference for a better world!  #SpreadYourGoals2030

The UN SDG Action Campaign and media company Weischer Media have launched today the Spread Your Goals campaign, combining Augmented Reality, outdoors, cinema, mobile, and social media. By using the mobile app Shazam’s new AR feature, everybody can learn about the SDGs and spread their wings to advocate for sustainable development.

It’s simple to participate:

1) Download the app Shazam

2) Click on the camera icon

3) Scan the orange code in the image below

4) Take your photo and start sharing with the hashtag #SpreadYourGoals2030!

The wings are shown in the app as moving stickers and the photos can be shared directly from the app to social media. For a special WOW effect, you can also make the wings flap!

Curious about what each wing portraits? Click on each of the goals and read more about the SDGs, and tell the world which SDGs you are most passionate about via  MY World 2030 . MY World is a global citizen survey to bring people’s voices into official debates about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Almost 10 million people from 194 countries have shared their views on MY World.

Additionally, billboards have been placed in six German cities, showing wings with elements from all 17 Goals and carrying the Shazam Code to enter the Augmented Reality experience. One of these billboards will be on display at the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development.

Which goals do you want to spread? Let people know and start soaring to new heights!

 

21 – 23 March: Global Festival of Action – Register now!

Join us for the second Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development on 21-23 March 2018 in Bonn, Germany!

The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development will be 2018’s meeting place for SDG Actors – from across the globe – to meet, network, build partnerships, share best practices, practical tools and ideas to further action towards the 2030 Agenda!

Do you have a story to tell? An initiative to share? A network to showcase? Then, we want to hear from you!

In order to create a diverse, dynamic and inclusive event for the international SDG community, we are calling for sessions, innovations, SDG Studio guests, participants and… we want to recognize and celebrate some of your greatest achievements through the inaugural UN SDG Action Challenge Awards!

The Festival will feature tracks on innovation & disruptive change, citizen engagement and communicating the SDGs in sessions ranging from high-levels panels to interactive deep-dive workshops.

JOIN US!

For more information on ways in which you can get involved and register your interest to attend, please visit http://globalfestivalofaction.org. Follow us on Twitter & Facebook with @SDGglobalFest.

*Interested in helping to co-design the Festival this year? Check out our Partnership opportunities – we want to hear from you!