“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

High-Level Event on Innovation and Technology

UN High-Level Event on Innovation and Technology, convened by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General’s Global Pulse and the SDG Action Campaign

Monday, 18 September 2017

10:30 – 13:00

UN Headquarters, Conference Room 2

Event registration is closed, but a livestream will be available at: http://webtv.un.org/ and social media coverage with hashtag: #SDGInnovation 

SDG Innovation is convened by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General and the UN SDG Action Campaign, and supported by leaders in the technology sector. It will bring together Heads of State and Governments, CEOs of major technology companies, and innovation and thought leaders to strengthen cooperation and solve major challenges for the people and the planet. Participants will share cutting-edge ideas on frontier issues and new technologies, and explore concrete ways to replicate and scale innovations for SDG implementation.

Download programme

OPENING SESSION

  • Opening remarks by H.E. Miroslav Lajčák President of the United Nations General Assembly
  • Keynote Address by Reid Hoffman, Founder and Chair of LinkedIn
  • Marc Benioff, CEO and Founder of Salesforce in conversation with Ashish Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group and Chair of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council

11:00 – 11:30 PANEL DISCUSSION

How can governments and innovators effectively partner in solving pressing global challenges?

  • H.E. Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia
  • H.E. Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark
  • Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman Mozilla (Firefox)
  • Aliko Dangote, Founder and Chair of Dangote Group
  • Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chair of Bharti Enterprises
  • Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia and WikiTribune

Moderator: James Manyika, Chairman, McKinsey Global Institute

11.30 – 12.50 INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE

What needs to be done to co-create innovation hubs in diverse countries and transfer skills from current epicentres, such as Silicon Valley, to the rest of the world and vice versa?

Moderator: David Wallerstein, Chief Exploration Officer, Tencent

Date:
MON, 2017-09-18 10:30 TO 12:00

SDGs at the German Government’s Open Days

On 26th and 27th August 2017, the German Government held their annual Open Days, this year under the motto “Fancy a date with democracy?”.

People in Berlin had a chance to visit the German Chancellery and the Federal Ministries as well as the Press and Information Office. The UN SDG Action Campaign coordinated an interactive space on the SDGs at the Chancellery Gardens jointly with the German Chancellery sustainable development team and the German Council on Sustainable Development.

Overall, the Open Days attracted more than 120.000 visitors, including families and young people who all had the opportunity to interact with the German federal government and administration.

The Campaign team raised awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals and featured a range of innovative tools for citizen engagement. Children and adults were especially keen to try United Nations Virtual Reality and get an impression of what life is like in Liberia after Ebola, in a refugee camp in Jordan or in the Gaza strip. Many visitors took the opportunity to share their views on the Goals by taking the MyWorld 2030 survey and checking out the views of other citizens from around the world on the MYWorld 2015 and MyWorld 2030 data visualization platforms.

The Open Days also featured the Humans of My World exhibition, which showcases personal testimonies from around the world on why the SDGs matter to the people being quoted.

Read more about the Government’s Open Days 2017 on the website of the German Federal Government here (in German).

Stay up to date and catch the next SDG Action Campaign Hub by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Have your Say on the SDGs taking the MYWorld2030 survey.

SDGs at the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are committed to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Last year, both institutions signed a memorandum of understanding to boost cooperation to reach the goals. To highlight the importance of this partnership and raise awareness about the SDGs with the EIB team, the European Investment Bank featured an SDG interactive exhibit on 28-30 June and EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle invited the EIB team to an SDG seminar with UNDP on 28 June.

Together with the UNDP family and the UN SDG Action Campaign, the EIB team became more engaged with the Goals and were empowered to learn more about what needs to be done to make the Goals a reality by 2030.

A participant views UN virtual reality films

The SDG exhibit featured UN Virtual Reality, a photo booth and materials about the SDGs. Many EIB staff members watched virtual reality films and gathered further information about the goals. Visitors to the stand were surprised how real the experience of the virtual reality films were and which insights they could provide into the life of those most affected by current humanitarian crises. This sparked many conversations about the goals and the impact they have on a global scale and how private sector partners like EIB could support them.

UN colleagues with President of the EIB, Dr. Werner Hoyer / Secretary-General, Klaus Trömel / and the Director of Institutional Strategy, Guido Bichisao

Dr. Werner Hoyer, President of the EIB, emphasized Goal #11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, as one of his personal priorities.

Participant at the SDG seminar

The UN SDG Action Campaign looks forward to working together with the UNDP family and the European Investment Bank on promoting and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sarah Uphoff, UN SDG Action Campaign, at the exhibit
How many SDG cubes can you sit on? Participants balance themselves on the cubes
Participants take a photo with the SDG wheel and signs

HLPF SDG Pop-up Exhibit at UN Visitors Lobby

Are you at the High-Level Political Forum #HLPF2017? Come to the SDG pop up exhibit in the UN Visitors Lobby on Thursday, July 20 and Friday, July 21 from 10am to 4:30pm

Check out:

  • Interactive data visualizations on the Sustainable Development Goals, in partnership with Tableau Public and featuring data from MY World 2030, u-Report, UNICEF and UNSDSN
  • United Nations Virtual Reality films

High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2017

The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations is a central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals This year’s meeting will be held from Monday, 10 July, to Wednesday, 19 July 2017; including the three-day ministerial meeting of the forum from Monday, 17 July, to Wednesday, 19 July 2017.

The theme is Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world. The set of goals to be reviewed in depth will be the following, including Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that will be considered each year:

  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

The UN SDG Action Campaign would like to highlight the following events taking place during High-level Political Forum, don’t miss them!

Perception Data as a Metric of Well-Being

When: Thursday, 13 July 2017, 1:15-2:30 pm EST
Where: UNICEF House Lobby (Danny Kaye Visitors Center)
Register here by 11 July 2017
See flyer

This side event will showcase the results of several pilots that have used quantitative and qualitative methodologies to collect perceptions on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to assist decision-makers in SDG review activities. Panelists will discuss how mobile tools like UNICEF’s U-Report and WFP’s mVAM, on-line surveys like MY World 2030 and qualitative methods like the Participatory Monitoring and Accountability Programme can inform SDG implementation and decision-making. The event is co-sponsored by the Government of Guatemala, UNICEF, WFP, and the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Speakers:

Mobilizing Religious Communities to Act with Solidarity and Shared Responsibility to End Poverty and Promote Peace

When: Monday, 17 July 2017, 1:30 – 3:30 pm EST
Where: 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 120, New York, NY 10017
Register: dsingh@rfp.org

While sustainable development requires the best of science, technology, and practical problem solving, it also requires a strong ethical foundation—and this foundation has its sources in the world’s religious traditions. Religious leaders have a tremendous capacity to affect change by mobilizing their communities to advocate with world leaders in the context of advancing the values needed to end poverty and advance peace. Therefore, Religions for Peace is holding a multi-religious discussion on the role of religious communities in accelerating the implementation of the SDGs.

Speakers:

  • Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General, Religions for Peace
  • Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
  • Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio, Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York
  • Dr. Azza Karam, Senior Advisor, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and Coordinator, UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development
  • Mr. Mitchell Toomey, Director, United Nations SDG Action Campaign
  • Ms. Elena Cedillo, Regional Representative, Central America Program, Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and Co-Coordinator, Latin American and Caribbean Inter-Religious Alliance for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The SDGs in Action: Eradicating poverty and promoting inclusive prosperity in a changing world

When: Monday, 17 July 2017, 6:15-7:30 pm EST
Where: ECOSOC Chamber in the UN Conference Building and on UN Web TV
Register here
See concept note

This event will focus on how countries at various stages of development, including those faced with complex situations such as violent conflict and fragility, are accelerating efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will illustrate the UN Development System’s support to Member States, including tools and solutions, to address the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the imperative to leave no one behind and risk-informed planning. The role of the UN in peacebuilding and prevention; connecting efforts for peace and security, sustainable development and human rights will also be highlighted in reference to the Sustaining Peace resolution.

Speakers:

  • Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General
  • Achim Steiner, UN Development Group Chair
  • H.E. Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria
  • H.E. Hélder Lopes, Vice Minister of Finance, Timor-Leste

Engaging Everyone for the SDGs

When: Tuesday, 18 July 2017, 3 – 4:30 pm EST
Where: UN Correspondents Association Room 0310 (3rd Floor of UN Secretariat Building)
See concept note
Register here

The event will help strengthen the global community of SDG communicators. Participants will discuss how to measure progress in building public support for the SDGs and identify ways to continue collaborating and learning from one another. The event is co-organized by the Government of Canada & OECD Development Communication Network (DevCom)

Opening Remarks: Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of International Development

Moderator: Bathylle Missika, Head of Partnerships and Networks, OECD Development Centre

Panelists:

  • H.E. Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria
  • Davis Adieno, Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development, Civicus Alliance
  • Adolfo Ayuso, Director General of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Office of the Presidency, Mexico
  • Erik Ringborg, Agenda 2030 Coordinator, Swedish International Development Agency
  • Mitchell Toomey, Director, UN SDG Action Campaign

Stay connected

Don’t miss our #HLPF2017 coverage on Twitter @SDGaction and Facebook

Above photo credit: UNIDO Office New York

Bringing the SDGs to the center of global media discussions at the Global Media Forum

Media is playing a major role in challenging the narrative about progress in the developing countries and shining the spotlight to the people who are often left out of the conversation. Is the UN is providing the tools, information and resources available to make sure journalists can succeed in their missions? Are media professionals aware that these tools exist?

For the 10th year, around 2,0000 journalists, media professionals, communications experts, politicians and civil society representatives from 130 countries gathered for the Global Media Forum in Bonn. This year the forum, focused on identity and diversity, hosted key international speakers such as the entrepreneur and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, to discuss the innovations of the digital world, artificial intelligence and journalism, the threat to values that populism represents, the role of the media, as well as international politics, human rights and innovative journalism concepts.

The UN SDG Action Campaign invited participants to experiment with the existing tools for communicating the SDGs and to participate in the creation of new ones: A hands-on session focused on engaging ways to shift the spotlight to those left further behind and mobilise everyone to take action for the SDGs.

credit: Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum 2017

A hands-on session focused on engaging ways to shift the spotlight to those left further behind and mobilise everyone to take action for the SDGs. The participants discovered the MY World 2030 survey, the stories behind the data, youth-led solutions and the power of a single story from the Building Bridges Foundation.  How do we engage those millions left further behind in the conversation? How do we make people shift from observers to doers?

In our interactive SDG Space the participants had the opportunity to fully immerse in refugee realities, the life of an Ebola survivor or the struggle of a mother after losing a son to a bombing in the Gaza strip. The MY World 2030 Survey generated great interest and expectation and a number of representatives participated in the survey.

Congratulations to all participants and organisers for bringing together great ideas, new approaches and generate active discussions around key issues, we are sure will ignite positive actions in the near future.

See all photos of these 3 days of interaction

European Development Days #EDD17 – Celebrating the SDGs and One UN

(Top image: UN colleagues & Young Leaders with Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians / UNRIC)

Organised by the European Commission, the European Development Days (EDD) is Europe’s leading forum on development since 2006. The development community comes together every year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. This year’s edition took place on 6-8 June, 2017 in Brussels.

Young Leaders & UN Colleagues with Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General / UNRIC
Visitors experience virtual reality at the UN stand at European Development Days / UN SDG Action Campaign

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals stand at the European Development Days included a wide range of exciting and innovative features such as the #SDGstudio, virtual reality films, touch-screens showcasing data visualizations and polling mechanisms on the SDGs, and a selfie photobooth to invite visitors to show their commitment and take action on the Goals.

Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians & Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, explore MY World 2030 data / UN SDG Action Campaign
Anand Kantaria, UN SDG Action Campaign, shows MY World 2030 to Queen Mathilde of the Belgians & Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium

The UN stand is organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign, the UN in Brussels (25 UN entities), UNECE and the World Bank. Occupying a central space at the European Development Days global village, the UN SDG stand is a convening space to engage thousands of visitors on the Sustainable Development Goals and showcase the efforts of the United Nations and its partners around the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General takes the MY World 2030 survey: myworld2030.org / UNRIC

During the European Development Days:

  • Thousands of people visited the United Nations stand, with active participation of several hundreds per day (in total there were 8000 participants attending EDDs)
  • There were 35 #SDGStudio dialogues! 16 on Day 1 and 19 on Day 2. 
  • The United Nations was involved in more than 50 out of the 120 EDD sessions
  • More than 90 UN colleagues were hosts at the UN Stand, inviting delegates and showcasing SDG innovation
  • Around 350 people took a selfie at the photobooth 
#SDGstudio / UN SDG Action Campaign
UN colleagues with Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank & SDG Advocate / UNRIC

The #SDGStudio was a new and exciting feature of the United Nations stand, which is a unique platform to generate informal and insightful inter-generational dialogues between young leaders and high-level officials from the United Nations, the European Commission and a wide range of other institutions present at the EDDs. The #SDGstudio was proud to host the following dialogues:

In addition to the above guests who visited the #SDGstudio, the UN stand also welcomed the following visitors:

  • Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians & SDG Advocate
  • Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank & SDG Advocate
  • Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever & SDG Advocate
  • Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank
Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Dr. Alaa Murabit, SDG Advocate hug each other at the UN stand, as Thomas Gass, UN Assistant Secretary, DESA looks on / UNRIC
UN Colleagues at the photo booth
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General elect, WHO & Kalaba Nkonde, EDD Young Leader & Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. They put their hands together in solidarity for the SDGs / UN SDG Action Campaign
UN stand / UNRIC
Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank & SDG Advocate, learns about MY World 2030 from Anand Kantaria, UN SDG Action Campaign / UN SDG Action Campaign
Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General, Ibero-American Conference (SEGIB) at the #SDGstudio / UNRIC
Xavier Longan, UN SDG Action Campaign welcomes Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians to the UN stand / UN SDG Action Campaign
Leonardo Parraga, EDD Young Leader takes a selfie with Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium / UNRIC
Nadir Nahdi, BENI Founder & Youtube Creator for Change Fellow, presents at the #SDGstudio / UN SDG Action Campaign
Dream team! UN family with colleagues from the UN SDG Action Campaign, UN Brussels and UNRIC / UN SDG Action Campaign

View more photos: UNRIC Gallery / SDG Gallery

UN Virtual Reality at European Commission Open Doors Day

In May each year, the European Institutions celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the European Union. Entertaining, informative activities are organised throughout Europe and beyond. This is an opportunity for citizens to learn about the day-to-day work of the institutions, as well as the broader issues, challenges and benefits of the European Union for its 508 million citizens. This year the European institutions opened to the public on Saturday May 6th in Brussels and Sunday May 14th in Strasbourg.

The EU Humanitarian Aid stand welcomed visitors to immerse themselves in the world of humanitarian aid and civil protection. The stand was a replica of the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, a state of the art hub where duty officers follow potentially emerging crises 24/7 with satellite images. Visitors got a chance to talk to a real duty officer. Over 12.000 visitors came to the Berlaymont building and many of them came to the stand.

The stand featured a virtual reality classroom, featuring some United Nations Virtual Reality films showing the warzone in Gaza in 2014 (My Mother’s Wing), or the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan where Sidra, a 12-year-old girl, will be your guide (Clouds Over Sidra). Children took part in a giant world map game, where they found out about where in the world EU Humanitarian Aid operates.

People were watching the films in their entirety, from beginning to end. “Awesome”, “Impressive”, “Powerful” were the adjectives used by visitors to describe the experience. Some of them, after having watched one movie came back to view the others films.  The response was so high that a queue started to snake around the stand.

Images: European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

UNVR Curates Exhibition for The Ocean Conference

Have you ever had the chance to go scuba diving with whales? How about hanging out with penguins in Antarctica? Have you heard the personal stories of those working on the front lines of ecological activism, such as scientists and indigenous people?

Would being exposed to these experiences help you to become a stronger and more informed advocate about the ocean, or SDG 14, Life Under Water? 

To support the Governments of Fiji and Sweden in their mission to inspire advocacy and action for SDG 14 during the Ocean Conference, 5-9 June, UNVR curated a playlist of some of the best in 360’ video and interactive virtual reality to transport viewers to the coasts and deep waters of the sea, bathing them in the sights and sounds of the ocean.

“We have two and a half years’ experience organizing VR exhibitions that transport policy makers into the development challenges the SDGs are seeking to alleviate, especially at UN forums. This is the first time we have brought together multiple VR experiences that coalesce focus on one SDG, in this case SDG14: Life Under Water. The diversity of issues covered provide visitors with a broader context, a choice of issues they can champion, and actions they can take.” said Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer of UNVR for the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Curated and produced by the UN SDG Action Campaign, the exhibition is powered by Samsung and includes content collaboration with the Permanent Mission of France, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and through the generous permission of many VR Creators.

The exhibition will feature the following experiences (detailed information here: http://unvr.sdgactioncampaign.org/ocean-conference), some of which are exclusively available at this event:

  • Chasing Coral: the VR Experience – Directed by Jeff Orlowski. An Exposure Labs Production in partnership with Seaview 360 and The Ocean Agency
  • The Click Effect – Directed by Sandy Smolan and James Nestor. A Within production in partnership Annapurna Pictures.
  • Infinite Scuba VR – Mission Blue and Cascade Game Foundry
  • Out of the Blue  – Directed by Sophie ANSEL, narrated by Sylvia Earle and Judith Castro. A Film produced in partnership with VR for good by Oculus, Pelagic Life and Reelfx.
  • Science on the Great Barrier Reef – Directed by Christophe Bailhache. A Seaview 360 Production.
  • Tubbataha – Directed by Christophe Bailhache. A Seaview 360 Production in collaboration with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
  • Valen’s Reef – A Conservation International Film in partnership with Within, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation
  • Walk With Penguins – Directed by Will McMaster. A production by BirdLife International and Visualize

The special exhibition will be on display in the UN General Assembly Visitor’s Lobby 5-9 June, from 10:00 – 16:00. The exhibition will be open to those with a UN grounds pass or a special events pass.

@UnitednationsVR @SDGAction #UNVR #SDGs #SaveOurOcean