100 primary school children join SDG Advocate team to kick SDGs into action at the Olympics

SDG branded football serves as a reminder of the cooperative action needed to achieve the SDGs

 GANGWON-DO, February 16, 2018

On the 16th of February, high-level dignitaries brought together the messages of the Olympic spirit, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the importance of providing a quality education for all to a classroom in Gangwon Province, South Korea, showing the intersection of these important ideals through a recognizable and beloved object: the football.

In a ceremony led by the United Nations SDG Advocacy Group’s Co-Chair, H.E. Mrs. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, and fellow SDG Advocate Ambassador Dho Young-Shim delegates spoke of the connection between these three ideals with 100 school children at the Musan Community Children’s Center Primary School, stressing their foundational importance to understanding an individual’s responsibility of global citizenship, and the collective responsibility of working together to build a more peaceful and equal world by the year 2030.

The students had the chance to ask the delegation questions. Following the short ceremony, they were gifted a reminder they could keep: an SDG branded football.

“The Olympic Movement and the SDGs promote world cooperation and the lesson that with hard work you can excel. Sport and education prepare children for life as global citizens and future contributors of society. As part of that, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to make sure that all children in all countries can have a quality education and enjoy good health. In the context of the new goals, we are all developing countries with work to do at home.”

The Olympic ideals promote the importance of excellence, friendship, and respect. The SDGs similarly promote profound collaboration, an equal sense of responsibility for all countries, and a focus on helping the most vulnerable communities in an effort to leave no one behind.

A quality education (SDG 4) entails a comprehensive approach to life-long learning, not only in the classroom, that will capacitate students with values and skills that allow them to become global citizens who contribute towards a better world. In addition to the health benefits, sport can motivate children and teach values of camaraderie and inclusion. With UNICEF estimates of 61 million children of primary school age not enrolled in school, sport can also help reach the most vulnerable children who may be outside of formal education settings.

“The world [these students] will enter as grown-ups will be full of challenges and uncertainties. In the years to come, the children from this school will be key players in the global quest to achieve the SDGs,” said Solberg. “With a quality education, they will have the universal currency they need in life to take action for sustainable development.”

The SDG Advocates were joined by Mr. Choi Moon Soon, Governor of Gangwon Province; Ms. Kristin Kloster Aasen, International Olympic Committee Representative to Norway and Ms. Soohyun Kim, Head of Office, UNICEF Seoul Office .

“By studying the icons, the children can learn about the different goals and be reminded that they too should take action to make the world a better place” said Solberg.

The dignitaries then broke down the formalities of the ceremony and effectively passed the torch onto the next generation, learning from the children what they know best: how to play.

 

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More Information:
This event was organized by the United Nations SDG Advocacy Group and the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Media Contacts:
Kristin Gutekunst (kristin@sdgactioncampaign.org) +1 914 330 3774
Benjamin Schaare (benjamin.shaare@un.org) +1 202 341 4956
Tor Borgersen (tor.borgersen@smk.dep.no) +47 909 38 987

About The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by 193 Heads of State and Government on the 25th of September 2015, represent an unprecedented leap forward in the fight against poverty, inequalities, and climate change. They embody a universal, inclusive and transformative vision of development, which calls upon all Member States to ensure a life of dignity for all, leaving no-one behind. The realization of this agenda by 2030 will require the cooperation of international actors as well as bold individual and collective action by all.

About the United Nations Secretary-General’s SDG Advocacy Group:
The Secretary-General nominated 17 eminent individuals to generate momentum and commitment to achieve the SDGs by 2030 by working to promote the universal sustainable development agenda, raising awareness of the integrated nature of the SDGs, and fostering engagement with new stakeholders in the implementation of these Goals.

About the United Nations SDG Action Campaign:
A special initiative of UN Secretary-General mandated to support the UN system and UN Member States on advocacy and citizen engagement in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The Campaign empowers and inspires people across the world to take action by building multi-stakeholder partnerships and leveraging cutting-edge communication technologies to bridge the gap and ensure a transparent dialogue between world leaders and their constituencies, especially the most marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Youth Leaders Engage with UN SDG Action Campaign during ECOSOC Youth Forum

The 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum took place on 30 – 31 January 2018 at the UN HQ in New York City. The Youth Forum brought together hundreds of young leaders, ministers, civil society organisations and UN agencies to discuss the role of youth in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities.

The Forum presented the UN SDG Action Campaign with the opportunity to bring the SDGs to the forefront of the discussions, to re-connect with some of our longstanding partners, as well as to inspire young leaders to #Act4SDGs and to foster new partnerships.

Highlights

Campaign workshop for Youth Leaders from Northern Africa & Arab States:

A workshop was organized to inform and train twenty young change-makers from the UNDP Youth Leadership Program on SDG Action campaigning. Stories from the Humans of MY World Campaign (now in Nigeria!) were shared, MY World 2030 was introduced as both a data collection and advocacy tool, and a brainstorm took place about possible activities to be carried out during the Global Day of Action.


Youth Leaders from Northern Africa and Arab States explain how to #Act4SDGs during the ECOSOC Youth Forum. #Youth2030

Side-event on the importance of mainstreaming the SDGs in Education:

Organized by UN Youth Delegates and hosted at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations, a discussion took place on how to better integrate the SDGs in our education systems. Rosario Gravito shared best practices from the Millennials Movement in Peru, while other campaigns and toolkits such as the World Largest Lesson (Project Everyone), MY World 2030 and MY Campus (UN SDG Action Campaign) were shared.
More information can be found here!

UN Virtual Reality (UNVR) experience during DPI NGO Youth Representatives Event

During DPI’s youth event Virtual Reality Screening was used to transport viewers into real life crisis situations in both urban and rural areas.  The concept has proven it’s impact, and also this time around youth leaders were both touched and inspired by the immersive storytelling portfolio of UNVR.

Important: Youth Leaders, Civil Society organisations, and others, can still register for the Global Festival of Action on Sustainable Development taking place in Bonn on 21-23 March. Register here!

All questions related to our youth engagement portfolio may be directed to jilt.vanschayik@sdgactioncampaign.org

Mitchell Toomey: “Youth power can lead the way towards the SDGs and the ambitions of countries all over the world”

Source: African Newspage/January 10, 2018

Mitchell Toomey is the global director of the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General administered by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

How important are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Africa, in terms of achieving sustainable development in the region?

I think the Sustainable Development Goals are everyone’s responsibility and Africa deserves to achieve the SDGs just like other regions deserve to do so; we had the MDGs and countries like Nigeria were an incredible success in rallying people around some specific goals.

Moreover, the SDGs represent a much more ambitious agenda; they are not just about people’s survival but actually about ensuring people thrive. So, Nigeria is an obvious leader in Africa and with such a large youth population and potential we want to make sure the SDGs work here so that Nigeria can lead other countries in Africa.

We are already 2 years into the implementation of the SDGs, how has Africa fared in terms of achieving the goals?

Well, I think every country is different, every country has their own development plans and one thing we have learnt is that you can’t just bring something new and expect everyone to enforce it immediately; already there is the Africa Agenda 2063, which is a very important agenda that came before the SDGs. So, we have to be humble enough to understand that people already have their own plans.

Two years on, we are very happy to see how governments have taken them very seriously; they have set up departments and commissions to make sure there is some accountability in the implementation of the SDGs. Many countries have come to New York to talk about their action plans and what they want to do. However, two years on we can say the goals are still in their very early days.

The next few years will really determine how much progress we will see in terms of implementation of the goals. So, in 2019 the heads of state of all countries will gather again in New York to review the progress we have achieved in 4 years – it will be an incredibly important period. Therefore, we are confident that by then many countries would have achieved some of the progress necessary for the success of the goals.

Two key sectors of the world’s population i.e women and youth are very vital to the success of global development frameworks like the SDGs. How do you think given women and youth the opportunity to key into the implementation of the Global Goals will aid the successful realization of the goals?

Well, one reason the youth are such a focus of the goals is that the youth themselves helped designed the goals; when we were deciding what the goals would be we challenged young people from around the world to help us decide what the goals would be and they responded in amazing ways: by telling us what was happening in their communities and hence what the goals should be.

As such, most of the goals are youth-centered which means the youth can relate to them; we make sure that the icons are very friendly and easy to understand so that even children can understand these goals.

The reason is we are in a period of tremendous change in the world and young people are the future; the ability to access information, find networks of people, and learn new things using digital tools are what matters. It is a much different world than it used to be and young people are the ones who understand it best so we need to follow their lead in making these goals a reality.

And women have always played a very critical role in society even though sometimes such a role is marginalized outside of the traditional economies but we believe by giving everyone in the society the opportunity to participate we will achieve explosive growth which will lead to development in all countries.

Agenda 2030 is a very ambitious development framework that hopes to change the face of the world particularly here in Africa, around gender, education, governance, and public health. Where do you hope to see Africa by the year 2030 in terms of achieving these goals?

It is hard to generalize for Africa as different countries are at different starting points; different countries are progressing in different ways. We have to be very honest that different countries will progress in different ways.

Imagine how much the world has changed in the last 15 years, imagine all the things we never dreamed we could do like standing here and having this conversation with you and getting it out on the internet for everyone to see, we just would not even have thought it would be possible. So, I think if anything the goals aren’t ambitious enough to match the ambitions of young people around the world.

This article is culled from African Newspage – a digital newspaper for development reporting. View the original piece on their website.

New podcast shares plan to make SDGs a reality – and we’re a partner!

Bold individuals are taking on the world’s most pressing challenges and changing the world, and their stories deserve to be told. That’s why we’re excited to join forces with the Global GoalsCast, a new podcast to inspire listeners to roll up their sleeves and make the world a better place!

As individuals, organizations and companies are contributing to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change and produce a more equitable world by 2030, we at the UN SDG Action Campaign are proud to be supporting a podcast that puts change-makers under the spotlight. By means of powerful storytelling supported by high-quality data, and offering different ways in which everyone can take action and personally contribute to progressive global efforts, we will assure that everyone can understand and engage with the SDGs.

From now on, you can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or any other platform you get your podcasts from!

Each of the 24 episodes of the first season, hosted by special advisor for Unicef Claudia González Romo and journalist Edie Lush, help make the SDGs more approachable.

In the first episode, titled “The World is on the Move”, listeners meet Brenda, a migrant from Mexico who as a fourth grader crossed the U.S. border at night with little but her parent’s dreams for her. Now, she works as a software engineer for Google. Her story shows that migration can be an economic powerhouse for the world and help drive global development.

Episode Zero” and a new episode on “Girls and Education” have just come out. The episode on education introduces Jeanette Monosoff-Haley, a Mumbai-based organizer working to support the education of some of the poorest children in India. Her efforts focus on small steps, like finding textbooks, uniforms and even a girls toilet. Development experts have identified keeping girls in school as a top priority.

On the 24th of January, an episode on climate change will be live casted directly from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos featuring Robert and Barney Swan, a father-and-son duo who trekked 600-miles across Antarctica using only renewable energy sources.

Two new episodes will be released every month until the end of the year.

Additional episodes include audio from Will.i.am, Malala, William Lacy, Louise Arbor, and President Obama. The podcast will also introduce listeners to new, authentic voices such as Dali (16) and Fin (14), from the clothing company Nalu, who are creating alternative ways to provide education access to all.

We’re delighted to help sharing such incredible efforts in achieving a more sustainable world as a partner!

Visit the Global GoalsCast website to listen to the first episode and subscribe to hear the next ones on iTunes. You can also follow the podcast on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Have a look at some of Robert and Barney’s trip to Antarctica:

SDGs, UNVR @ EDIT Toronto

From 28 September – 8 October, an abandoned ware house was transformed into a space for 35,000 visitors to learn about the latest the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the world-changing ideas that contribute to their achievement at the Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology  in Toronto.

The conference included 75 design projects, 125 speakers, 530 volunteers,  5500 student visitors, and 4 United Nations VR films produced by the UN SDG Action Campaign with a variety of partners. These films – Clouds Over Sidra, Waves of Grace, My Mother’s Wing, Nepal Earthquake Recovery — were integrated into Bruce Mau’s exhibition, Prosperity for All.

German Sustainability Award connects governments, companies and civil society with the SDGs

Exemplary businesses, municipalities and research projects who are at the forefront of sustainability were celebrated last Friday as the winners of the 10th German Sustainability Award in Düsseldorf, Germany. SDG Advocate, Queen Mathilde of Belgium received this years’ honorary prize in the event, which also offered participants a multitude of experiences to connect with the sustainable development goals in the “SDG Hub”.

The SDG Hub was created in partnership with the German service for development initiatives Engagement Global.

On the first day of the prize, the Next Economy Award was presented to start-ups whose business models are oriented towards a green economy and overcoming social challenges. The winners were the producer of wooden T-shirts wijld, the telemedical care company DITG, the solution for basic optic care EinDollarBrille and Enerthing, the developer of a solar film that can replace disposable batteries. Some of the winning initiatives and nominees, such as the developer of ecological toilets Goldeimer, were at the SDG Hub to share which SDGs are of most importance to them – in their case, “Clean Water and Sanitation” took the podium.

On the second day, the German Sustainability Award recognized top achievements in ecological and social commitment in different areas, celebrating stakeholders that are striving for the best sustainable solutions in line with the SDGs. Deutsche Telekom was awarded as Germany’s most sustainable large company, while Hanover won the prize for the most sustainable city.

In the Award Ceremony, Queen Mathilde was honoured for her commitment to the SDGs and her contribution to improving the situation of disadvantaged young people since 2000 with the Queen Mathilde Fund. Her Majesty also supports several organizations such as UNICEF, WHO and Child Focus.

Queen Mathilde underscored that businesses, governments, civil society and individuals must work together to achieve the SDGs. Photo: Dariusz Misztal

“To achieve sustainable development, governments, businesses, civil society and individuals must work together: each of us has a role to play at their own level towards realizing this ambitious, but achievable goals. Even small-scale projects and individual acts can contribute to changing lives for the better”, said Her Majesty.

She celebrated the fact that awareness of the need for sustainable development is growing in Belgium, Germany and all over the world. Yet, she reminded that there is no room for complacency, since there are areas in the planet where poverty is increasing and even affluent societies have not yet completely eradicated inequality.

British primatologist and campaigner for environmental and wildlife conservation Jane Goodall, who was present at the SDG Hub, encouraged particularly young people to take action and not to lose hope. “We have to fight to live sustainably before it’s too late”, she affirmed.

The founder of the German Sustainability Award Stefan Schulze-Hausmann and singer Annie Lennox. Photo: Ralf Rühmeier

Annie Lennox, activist and singer of the famous hit of the 80’s “Sweet Dreams”, performed on stage, where she also delivered a message of hope. “My sweet dream is a better world for all”, she said.

Experiencing the SDGs

By diving in immersive storytelling provided by United Nations Virtual Reality, visitors of the SDG Hub could see life through the eyes of a refugee or learn what it is like to be a survivor of Ebola. Many expressed the feeling that virtual reality can play an important role in connecting people emotionally to each other and foster cooperation to implement the SDGs.

Participants were also able to take the MY World 2030 survey, which allowed them to make their voices heard about which goals they consider more relevant for their lives and to explore their personal relationship with the SDGs.

All in all, entrepreneurs, government representatives and individuals had the opportunity to experience how the SDGs provide a framework to all sustainable development efforts worldwide, including those celebrated in the German Sustainability Award.

Watch Queen Mathilde’s speech:

Relevant personalities, government officials, business CEOs, activists and young entrepreneurs passed by the SDG Hub and shared a common vision of how we need to better communicate and engage everyone to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals. Take a look:

Minister President of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, visits the SDG Hub

British primatologist Jane Goodall delivered a message of hope to young people at the event

Members of the green businesses association UnternehmensGrün celebrate their partnership

Participants at the SDG Hub

Participants at the SDG Hub

Participants at the SDG Hub

SDG icons

Participants at the SDG Hub

SDGs clearly present at World Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar

Doha, Qatar: 14-16 November, 2017

The SDGs were a key focus for global education actors when they gathered at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and one of seventeen United Nations Secretary-General SDG Advocates, hosted and attended the Summit where world leaders called for urgent action to help young refugees and internally displaced youths. With more than 260 million children and young people out of school today, and only one per cent of young refugees able to access higher education, there were warnings that the SDGs will not be achieved if young people are denied quality education.

The EAA Foundation signed several new partnerships at the event, part of its commitment to address the global education crisis and enroll 10 million out-of-school children.

© WISE/ NigelDownes –
HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana

During the high-level plenary (watch here), the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is Co-Chair of SDG Advocates, told the WISE audience: “The spectre of tens and tens of millions of young refugees growing up without the needed skills to create a meaningful life for themselves is a dangerous one. What do we expect them to do? What opportunities are available to them? How competitive can they be in this global economy? These are questions that must elicit a concerted and calculated response from the world’s leaders.”

 

Mr. Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said: “Tens of millions of children are deprived of education. We cannot afford lost generations. No single child should be left behind. It is our moral duty to do more.”

The SDGs were also visible at the UN SDG Action Campaign booth, located in the EAA Foundation exhibition space. Visitors could learn more about the Campaign’s work and could show their commitment to the SDGs by obtaining stickers and taking selfies with the goals. By taking the MY World 2030 survey, which polls top SDG priorities and citizen perceptions on implementation progress, they could consider the SDGs in relation to their own lives. Through the use of virtual reality, attendees of the Summit were also able to step into the shoes of children affected by emergencies, seeing first-hand the ways an interruption to education can stymie young people’s progress. The Campaign showed the 360’ films, Ground Beneath Her and Clouds Over Sidra, which showcase young girls affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and the Syrian Crisis respectively.

“MY World and UNVR are not only tools to use with young people in education settings to capture the realities of young people though data and storytelling, but also amazing tools for use in the classroom,” said Ms. Kristin Gutekunst, who represented the UN SDG Action Campaign at the forum. “MY World helps young people learn the language of the SDGs and understand how they manifest in their own lives. UNVR helps them understand the complex interaction of the SDGs in different settings, and also inspires a connection to people across the world, sponsoring a sense of global connection.”

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 …

 

Action for SDGs: Gender Equality to unleash the full potential of youth

The power of feminist theory and action is what young people need to create understanding across differences and learn how to lead healthy lives and make social change.

Zimbabwe United Nations Association (ZUNA) embarked on the “Different Gender Same Agenda” project. Located in a patriarchal society, gender equality issues are important.

That is why ZUNA firstly engaged in giving an introduction to the project to school patrons and to more than 70 students at the beginning of the school year. Then the book “We should all be Feminists” was given to patrons and students.

The orientation and assessment workshop went further, involving two more schools and creating a wider understanding amongst students and increasing the scope of the project.

Two students from Glenview High School present their research findings.
Credit: Kudakwashe Chinjekure

“Gender Equality is about empowering our young girls to explore their worlds without fear of breaking barriers to reach their full potential” Munesu Mushonga

The aim of the awareness campaign is to create a gender-aware generation that takes into consideration the concept of gender inclusiveness in leadership, community participation, policy and decision making. High school students have a tendency to flock to courses that bridge what they learn in the classroom to the outside world. Educators would make a difference. A social transformation will take a village of teachers, scholars, and activists and there is need to reach out to these groups.

A teacher facilitating a workshop on gender equality with high school students

Teachers and educators need to be capacitated, they need support with age appropriate and relevant content that speaks to their communities.
They need to do more global research on issues of gender and sexuality and bring that knowledge back to their schools.
Organizations and schools need to engage in partnerships on how to bring more gender research into the curriculum design.

The “Different Gender Same Agenda” has assisted in changing mindsets and attitudes of young people in Zimbabwe.

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 stories 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