Shaping a sustainable future with the UN in Bonn

The United Nations SDG Action Campaign is proud to be part of the growing United Nations family in Bonn, Germany.

The UN is currently represented in Bonn with about 20 organizations. UN Bonn supports targeted efforts by governments for a sustainable future in the fields of climate change, land degradation, biodiversity and ecosystem services, wildlife conservation, volunteerism, health, human security, disaster risk reduction, tourism, as well as education and training.

This not only includes the sustainable use of natural resources and their precautionary preservation for future generations, but also the global fight against poverty.

Learn more about the UN in Bonn here:

Brochure in English

Brochure in German

The United Nations has had offices in Bonn since 1951. In 2006, the UN Campus was officially inaugurated by the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the “Langer Eugen” as the main building.

The UN presence in Bonn has grown steadily, from a handful of staff in 1996 to what has become a UN family with an international staff of almost 1,000 colleagues. Furthermore, the United Nations are represented in Germany with institutions and liaison offices in Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Nuremberg.

For more, visit the UN Bonn website.

SDGs brought to first internship fair of the German Foreign Office in Bonn

Almost 300 university and tertiary-level students had the opportunity to experience a first-hand interaction with the UN SDG Action Campaign last Saturday, the 20th of January, at the first Internship Fair at the German Foreign Office premises in Bonn.

Apart from receiving information on internship opportunities at UN agencies, they built up their knowledge about the SDGs and learned about several ways to engage, such as answering the My World 2030 survey.

Many have also shown interest in volunteering for the annual Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, which this year happens in Bonn from 21-23 of March. The call for volunteers to support the preparations, communications, and delivery of the event is now open and those fluent in English can apply.

The fair brought together 25 international organizations and EU institutions in the region, including several UN organizations such as United Nations Regional Information Centre, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, World Health Organization and International Organization for Migration.

The region of Bonn is considered a sustainability cluster since it gathers several global players and around 150 NGOs working in the fields of development co-operation, peacekeeping, renewable energies, and sustainable resources management.

We encourage all students to stay connected with us by following us on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), volunteering for the festival and engaging with the SDGs in their local communities!

MY World 2030 Survey launched in Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network member countries

Rising up to the challenge of leaving no one’s voice behind, the network of volunteers Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) has officially launched the MY World 2030 UN Global Survey on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) online across all 36 CSAYN countries globally.

As a post-launch, some CSAYN countries have launched the survey offline in Central Africa (Yaoundé, Cameroon), East Africa (Zanzibar, Tanzania) and Europe (Bonn, Germany) for now while waiting on other regions to join efforts.

Based in Cameroon, CSAYN links volunteers with a strong interest in climate-smart agriculture and environment around the world. Climate-smart agriculture can contribute not only to achieve SDG #2, focused on ending hunger, but also relates to ending poverty (SDG #1), sustainable management of water (SDG #6), sustainable economic growth (SDG #8) and action to combat climate change (SDG #13).

In Yaoundé, the offline survey was launched by CSAYN in the International Relations Institute of Cameroon. Attended by well over 300 students of diverse disciplines of international relations, the event was followed by discussions centered on how data collected from the survey can influence policy decisions in the United Nations, as well as resolve key challenges in Africa.

“Watching how participants took the survey with so much excitement, passion and a strong conviction that their votes could make sustainable development a reality has encouraged our work towards being ambassadors for the goals in every local community”, says CSAYN country coordinator Nche Tala Aghanwi.

Although many still continue unaware of the SDGs in Cameroon, particularly in rural communities, discussions made clear how important the goals are for people and the extent to which they cut across their daily experiences.

The MY World Survey has also started to make its way towards local rulers. “One of the most inspired persons I encountered was a traditional ruler who explained to me that this survey has served as an evaluation tool of his rule and the level of amelioration or deterioration of major social services in his village since he became the chief”, says Aghanwi.

In Tanzania, CSAYN has engaged a community of 170 smallholders in Zanzibar in the offline survey, motivated by the interest of rural youth and women in climate-smart agriculture. Members of the Tanzania CSAYN team have also discussed with Zanzibar local farmers how to improve the production of cassava by intercropping it with sweet potatoes or yams in order to increase food security, contributing towards achieving zero hunger by 2030.

In Bonn, Germany, the offline survey was launched in the margin of the Global Landscape Forum. A cross-section of 50 delegates took part in the survey and committed to become SDGs Advocates within their communities, institutions, organizations and countries.

The results of the survey collected by CSAYN will help feed into the UN’s and governments’ monitoring of progress on the SDGs, raising awareness of important issues and giving a “people’s perspective” from the ground, in real-time.

Take the MY World 2030 survey here and raise your voice too about what SDGs are most important to you!

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 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.

Cycling across Europe for Climate Action

1 man, 1 woman, 2 bikes, 10,000 km and 9 months to complete it in.
Inka, 19 years old, and Fabian, 18, are two teenagers with a mission: cycling across Europe and discovering people engaged in making a difference for our climate. They are setting an example to many and their message is clear: a sustainable and carbon neutral way of travelling is possible and it does not take too much effort.

These young advocates are the Ambassadors for Climate Neutral Now, a project run by the UNFCCC.  They visited our Global Campaign Centre to learn about the SDGs, and tell us their story of how they became passionate activists for Climate Action. Meet them and be ready to be inspired! 

“People shouldn’t be scared of doing things just because it’s not what is expected. Just do it if you think it is important! ”
Inka – Climate Ambassador

They have so far cycled over 4,000 km to reach Germany from Porto, Portugal on their way to Greece, after which they will return to Bonn in time for the annual UN Climate Change Conference COP23 (6-17 November).

Along the way they are interviewing people from key projects and initiatives, focusing on the UNFCCC secretariat’s Climate Neutral Now and Momentum for Change initiatives but with a view to also seeing what key NGOs such as C40 Cities, their respective mayors and city administrations are doing in terms of climate action.
They agreed to record our chat in a live interview that went on line on the same day on Facebook and that is now available on YouTube as well.

The planned trip of Inka & Fabian
Credit: Europe on four wheels

They are still travelling through Europe and they will be spreading the word and raising awareness on what can people do to be Climate Neutral and try to combat climate change.

Follow them on their trip on Facebook, Instagram and their blog
If you wish to know more about the project and about Climate Action visit : UNFCCC Newsroom 

Inspired by this story? Discover other stories of how people are taking action for SDGs (Humans of MY World) or take action!  

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

How is innovation disrupting Global Hunger?

1 in 9 people still goes to bed hungry every night. Right now there are 4 famines active in the world and fulfilling basic food security needs are a great challenge. As the world population continues to grow, much more effort and innovation will be urgently needed in order to sustainably increase agricultural production, improve the global supply chain, decrease food losses and waste, and ensure that all who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition have access to nutritious food. So how do we reach SDG 2, a world without hunger, by 2030?

Bernhard Kowatsch, Head of the Innovation Accelerator at the UN World Food Programme (WFP), explains how innovation is leading to real change. The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Through its  Innovation Accelerator WFP s
upports entrepreneurs & start-ups for #ZeroHunger innovations worldwide. Follow @BKowatsch and @WFPInnovation.

This SDG Action Talk was presented during the first Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development. Watch more:


20 years of the United Nations in Germany

For more than 20 years, the United Nations has a permanent place in Germany. Through the exhibition “The United Nations in Germany: Commitment to Agenda 2030” the Federal Foreign Office welcomes the public to explore and find out about their commitment on sustainability, climate protection and refugee and migration issues. The exhibition can be visited at the Federal Foreign Office premises in Berlin until 10th May 2017.

“We take the still steadily growing presence of the world organization in the former federal capital Bonn and at six other German locations as an occasion to honor the diverse activities of the United Nations.” Dr. Cyrill Nunn from the Federal Foreign Office welcomed the audience and stressed Germany´s commitment to the United Nations and to the Agenda 2030.

Dr. Cyrill Nunn, Federal Foreign Office, Germany welcomes the exhibition participants  Copyright: Inga Kjer/ 

UN Bonn comprises of 19 organizations and serves to help governments and people find answers and ways for humanity to achieve a sustainable future on this planet. The UN SDG Action Campaign, one of the newest members of the United Nations in Bonn, opened the exhibition.

Xavier Longan, SDG Action Campaign Europe Focal Point, expressed, “Beyond government, we need different stakeholders to be actively involved as well as youth, civil society, cities and business.  Together we can achieve the SDGs by 2030! To collaborate, we need to communicate and build understanding of other perspectives, experiences and needs as a basis for working together towards shared goals.” 

Xavier Longan, Europe Focal Point of the SDG Action Campaign, welcomes the attendees and emphasizes the importance of cooperation among governments, private sector and citizens to make sure we make the SDGs a reality by 2030. Copyright: Inga Kjer/  

By using interactive elements, participants can understand what the agenda means for people around the world and which topics are most important to them. Participants also had the opportunity to take a seat at the “SDGs corner”, take pictures with those SDGs closest to their friends and family and make real commitments to take action by sending a postcard to their “Future Selfs”.

Attendees experience United Nations Virtual Reality ( UNVR shows the human story behind development challenges, allowing people with the power to make a difference have a deeper understanding of their world. Copyright: Inga Kjer/
A participant at the exhibition sends a postcard to his #FutureSelf committing to take action for the SDGs. Copyright: Inga Kjer/
At the SDG corner participants play, interact and take photos with the SDGs closest to their friends and families. Copyright: Inga Kjer/

The Exhibition will be open until May 10th 2017 and is free for the public.
To know more about the UN in Bonn go to
or here to know more about the exhibition. 

Thanks for being part of history at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development

Photo: Some of the Festival team members with volunteers at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development. photothek/Inga Kjer

We would like to thank everyone, especially the partner organizations, inspiring speakers and colleagues for being part of history at the first ever Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development on 1-3 March 2017 at the World Conference Center Bonn!

The Festival was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Hosts: UN SDG Action Campaign & Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Organizing partners: City of Bonn, Cepei, Data-Pop Alliance, Engagement Global, Plan International, Salzburg Global Seminar, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Resources Institute (WRI)

Supporting partners: Deutsche Welle, DW Global Media Forum, European Union, SDSN

Plenary Speakers:

  • Mitchell Toomey, Global Director, UN SDG Action Campaign
  • Ishbel Matheson, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, ODI
  • Ashok Sridharan, Lord Mayor, City of Bonn
  • Dr. Alaa Murabit, SDG Global Advocate and UN High Level Commissioner
  • Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for Agenda 2030, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Sarah Poole, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
  • Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Plan International
  • Paul Okumu, Head of Secretariat, Africa Platform
  • Kumi Naidoo, Launch Director, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity
  • Claire Melamed, Executive Director, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
  • Casper Sitemba, Executive Office of the Deputy President, Kenya
  • Philipp Schönrock, Director, CEPEI
  • Soumya Chattopadhyay, Senior Research Fellow, Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme, ODI
  • Meng Zhaoli, Chief Economist, Tencent Institute
  • Jakob Trollbäck, Founder, The New Division by Trollbäck+Company
  • Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, UN
  • Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo, International Affairs Consultant and MY World Partner in Mexico
  • Dr. Tauni Lanier, Executive Director, Impact 2030
  • Natalie Robi Tingo, Accountability Advocate, Restless Development
  • Emi Mahmoud, World Poetry Slam Champion
  • Edda Hamar, UN SDG Young Leader and Founder/ Director Undress Runways
  • Namhla Mniki-Mangaliso, Director, African Monitor
  • Pedro Conceição, Director of Strategic Policy, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
  • Beckie Malay, Vice President, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

Honorable Members of the German Parliament: Dr. Claudia Lücking-Michel, Mr. Ulrich Kelber

Nadira Hira for being a fantastic MC

DW Global Media Forum for hosting 7 minutes for discussion on the Live Stage

UNFCCC for supporting communications outreach, supporting the Festival comms team on-site and event security

The UN Bonn Common Information Unit and UNRIC for supporting the press conference and media outreach

The News and Media Division and UN TV from the UN Department of Public Information for coverage and the livestream

Deutsche Post DHL Group for providing the SDG postcards, mailbox and stamps

Amazing Youth Leaders for hosting the cross-generational dialogues on the Live Stage

  • Abinav Batachan, UNDP Panda Champion
  • Usman Khan, UNDP Panda Champion Bringing Education to Youth and Learning Initiatives (BEYLI) Organization Pakistan
  • Jilt van Schayik, Director Building Bridges Foundation
  • Edda Hamar, Youth Leader, Founder and Director of Undress Runway
  • Chernor Bah, Education Advocate, Girl Champion & International Development Professional
  • Frances Simpson-Allen, Programme Management Officer, Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth at United Nations
  • Rosario del Pilar Diaz Garavito, Founder The Millennials Movement
  • Alex Wang, Secretary General of Youthink Center
  • Cunsong Xia, Youth4SDG
  • Michelle Xinyang Mei, Youthink Center
  • Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo, International Affairs Consultant and MY World Partner in Mexico
  • Natalie Robi Tingo, Accountability Advocate, Restless Development

The amazing Festival volunteers

All the participants who made the Festival an enriching experience, we hope to see you next year!
See Festival photos

Day two at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development at the World Conference Center (WCC) in Bonn, March 02, 2017. © photothek/Inga Kjer.