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

Action for SDGs: Civil Society takes the lead! Peru and the Agenda 2030 Ambassadors

The 2030 Agenda Peru Ambassadors Program is promoted by The Millennials Movement, the World We Want Platform and the UN Inter-Agency Network for Youth Development – Working Group on Youth and Gender Equality.  The Program aims to facilitate the educated participation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the process of dissemination, sensitization, implementation and citizen monitoring for 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals at the country level.

Youths discussing SDGs with the CSO Red de Mujeres Iberoamericanas

Through the program, the participant CSOs members join a capacity-building and evaluation process, deliver actions to sensitize their community the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, articulate their organizational goals with the Sustainable Development Goals and bring the voices and opinions of Peruvian men and women to UN and global leaders through the survey My World2030.

“The 2030 Agenda Peru Ambassadors Program, have allowed us interact with other people with similar ideals as our organization, making us feel that we are not alone, that we are accompanied by other youth who have the same desires to make of this a better world.”
– Jessica Danae Tapia Acero, Youth for Change / Líderes por el Cambio

Facilitating this way is a sustainable and inclusive process to achieve the SDGs by 2030. It is important to mention that the program raises awareness about the importance of gender equality to achieve the SDGs through program curricula and as a transversal matter. As it is hard to think about sustainable development when 50% of the population worldwide can’t give their 100% to achieve it.

Peru’s Youth Ambassadors for the Agenda 2030
Credit: Inpulsa Turismo

In 2016 the program reached 16 regions of Peru where 22 CSOs and 162 of their members became “citizen ambassadors” for the 2030 Agenda. 57 actions on the ground were delivered and 2,557 My World surveys were facilitated.

“The Ambassadors Program for the 2030 Agenda has shown us that it doesn’t matter how small the decisions we make every day are, every single decision in every single regards can actively contribute to achieve SDGs by 2030.”
– Rosario Diaz Garavito, The Millennials Movement

The 2030 Agenda Peru Ambassadors Program promotes participation of the CSOs and visualization of their effort as relevant contributions in their communities. CSOs have been contributing to the development process through their communities for quite some time, but many of them do not relate their efforts as contributions to achieving sustainable development at the national level, as some of them are not even familiar with these international instruments.

ICJ Lima

It is clear that the program contributes to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).  The program also includes gender equality approaches that need to be considered while delivering concrete actions to Peru. Peru is a country with different issues regarding gender inequality, according to the last National Gender Inequality Report 2015, the levels of inequality include both economic and political spheres.

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 …