SDGs & Climate Action interlinked at the heart of COP23

Every step taken for Climate Action is a step further in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement provide a clear framework for action towards a better world for every person and for the planet.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) will be a busy and exciting two weeks in the efforts to support UNFCCC and member states to raise public awareness about the interconnectedness of the SDGs and Climate Action and to bring in citizen voices to deliver the message of the importance of multiple stakeholders working together to achieve change.

Here’s the lineup of all the immersive experiences, events, exhibitions, and conversations ready for COP23. Interesting in attending any of these sessions? Register here 

REGISTER FOR EVENTS HERE

SPECIAL EVENTS

Friday 17th November
Change-making through New media and Virtual Reality
where: Bonn Zone, at the Talanoa Space
when:  1.00 – 2.00pm

NOTE: This event is ONLY open to COP23-accredited participants. If you don’t have COP23 accreditation already, you cannot get accredited at the entrance and you will be turned away. For those who are not eligible to attend, we invite you to watch the livestream of the event on our Twitter account via Periscope at http://twitter.com/sdgaction 

Join the UN SDG Action Campaign and Scenic VR for an interactive panel on the virtual reality film “Guardians of the Forest”, as well as the role of virtual reality in supporting indigeneous priorities in crafting a new climate reality.

Speakers:

  • Kristin Gutekunst – Executive Producer, UN Virtual Reality and New Media, UN SDG Action Campaign
  • Brittany Neff & Benjamin Ross – Co-directors, Guardians of the Forest – CoReality
  • Carol Gonzalez Aguilar – Coordinator of Women and Family – Organización de los Pueblos Indígenas de la Amazonía Colombiana (OPAIC)

Wednesday 8th November:
Innovative leadership: Engaging everyone in driving local action for SDGs & Climate Change
where: Talanoa Space at the Bonn Zone
time: 11.30am to 12.30pm 

How can local and sub-national efforts to adapt and build resilience to climate change thrive? What examples can we see of new leaders taking innovative actions to engage everyone: governments, citizens, innovators, businesses, and organisations, in setting priorities and developing solutions to the SDGs & climate change? How can these local solutions be scaled to make more tangible change?

The purpose of this session is to share inspiring examples and insights of how multiple stakeholders across subnational governments, private sector, and civil society organisations are taking innovative approaches, exploring collaboration and engaging millions of people to make tangible change at the local and global level.

@SDGAction #ACT4SDGs

Wednesday 15 November:
High-Level Event “Innovation for SDGs and Climate Action”
where: Climate Planet, between the Bonn and Bula Zones.  Find it here
time: 1.30 to 2.30pm

Through an innovative and interactive format, this event will showcase selected transformative solutions tackling the biggest challenges for humanity and the planet. These innovative solutions will be presented by governments, private sector and civil society in a dynamic pitch session followed by targeted networking, Participants will wander freely to explore the solutions being presented, thereby enabling the speakers and participants to share insights, ideas and lessons learnt.

Moderator: Laura Hildebrandt, Policy Specialist, UN SDG Action Campaign

Welcome Remarks

  • Mr. Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant Secretary General and Director Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UN Development Programme

Opening Remarks

  • Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Dr. Ifeolu Falegan, Senior Advisor, Office of the Senior Special Assistant on SDGs to the President of Nigeria

Screening of innovation video, UN SDG Action Campaign

Multistakeholder pitch session

  • Luca Bucken, Liter of Light
  • Isabel Naguib, Foodsharing Bonn
  • David Katz, The Plastic Bank
  • Carlos Eduardo Sturm, Brazilian Forest Service plus various other speakers
  • Sarah Teeter, TerraCycle
  • Nick Davis, GridMarket
  • Jane Madgwick, Wetlands International
  • Valeria Valotto, Progetto Quid

*No accreditation needed

EXHIBITIONS

6 – 17 November

SDG Virtual Reality Space
where: Bonn Zone, at UNFCCC/Momentum for Change stand

Curated by the UN SDG Action Campaign, this exhibition includes a multitude of immersive experiences and a participatory activation through the MY World 2030 survey. The United Nations VR series supports the UN system in communicating and advocating for the advancement of the SDGs and Climate Action. Bringing people’s voices to COP23, participants can have a peek into how the SDGs and Climate Change manifest in peoples daily lives and across the globe and discover and share citizen perceptions on progress through MY World 2030.

 

SDG Interactive Space at the Climate Planet
where: Climate Planet between the Bonn and Bula Zones 

The Climate Planet is a 20m globe, brought to Bonn by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Inside the large globe is a 4m globe, onto which a specifically produced movie about climate change will be projected – including live views of the earth taken by NASA. Around the Planet, we will showcase the SDGs in innovative and interactive ways, human stories behind the SDGs, citizen perception data and the MyWorld 2030 survey. See teaser and more information 

*No accreditation needed

Humans of MY World Exhibition
where: Bonn Zone, in the hallway on the way to meeting rooms 1-4

Millions of individuals have raised their voices on what matter most to them and how we are making progress on the SDGs through MY World, the United Nations survey for a better world. Each of them has a story to tell. This exhibition features content from the photo-narrative series Humans of MY World, shedding light on the human stories behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through this exhibition, you will have the chance to “meet” 17 individuals from around the world and learn why the SDGs are important to them. Take a look at the photo series 

Sharing People’s commitment to SDGs and Climate Action at the #SDGStudio

The #SDGStudio is a mobile interactive space open to innovators, influencers, governments, businesses, activists and organisations to generate dialogue and share change-making actions and commitments from across the world to serve as an inspiration for everyone to engage in taking action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

During COP23 we will be at the Bonn Zone and the Bula Zone, asking leaders to share their commitments and efforts for Climate Action and the Sustainable Development Goals with the world. Come and speak up!

Will you not be there? You can be part of the #SDGStudio from wherever you are. Speak up, tag @SDGAction and #SDGStudio and be part of the conversation.

All stories are shared on the SDG Studio Youtube Channel and distributed through the SDG Action platforms – website and social media channels – as well as through our media partners and UN communications channels.

We will share live all sessions and behind the scenes unique content  through our social media platforms. Follow @SDGAction in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss anything.

For a map of the different locations click here.

SDGs and Climate Action interlinked at COP23

Innovation and People’s Actions at the heart of the 72nd UN General Assembly

High-Level events, interactive discussions, data showcases, the latest immersive experiences, UNVR screenings and specially thousands of people and over 500 organisations around the world mobilising action to #ACT4SDGs… we are looking back on a successful UN General Assembly and first Global mobilisation to celebrate the SDGs Anniversary.

At the 72 UN General Assembly the UN SDG Action Campaign provided forums to experience cutting-edge technologies and to explore new ways to scale those innovations, to transfer skills and provide the necessary tools for individuals to be able to own and take action for the SDGs from across the globe, and to celebrate the actions and innovations that are already happening. Here are some of the highlights:

SDG Interactive Exhibition 

 

Hundreds of visitors came by the SDG Interactive Exhibition, curated by the UN SDG Action Campaign, to take part in a multitude of immersive experiences and participatory activations that support the UN system in communicating and advocating for the advancement of the SDGs. The experiences provided a voice to people around the world and a peek into how the SDGs manifest in their daily lives, giving delegates at the 72nd General Assembly the chance to understand their realities at this important annual political forum.

Visitors experienced how today’s available and low cost technology can address tomorrows  constraints on industry and life through today’s available, through the SIMTAINER. Light, a first-of-its-kind live-synced VR experience created by Mae allowed visitors to reveal the underlying fabric of our shared humanity and invite a posture of humility in the face of the radical collaboration required by all of us to accomplish the SDGs.

Moving from empathy to action, visitors could also discover and share citizen perceptions on the SDGs with real time SDG data visualizations, sharing their views on SDG progress through the MY World 2030 survey, and the social media commitment capsules at the #Act4SDGs corner.


High-Level Event on Innovation and Technology: SDG Innovation

On Monday 18 September, the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (UN Global Pulse) and the SDG Action Campaign convened governments, CEOs of major technology leading companies and innovators at the High-Level Event on SDG Innovation during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.

This unique event exposed governments to breakthrough ideas and innovations available, and leading tech innovators to the concrete problematics and challenges of countries in advancing the Agenda 2030. H.E. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd General Assembly opened the event. Among the group of participants were: H.E. Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia and H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of United Arab Emirates, Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn, Marc Benioff, Founder and CEO of Salesforce, Ashish Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group and Chair of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.

To achieve the SDGs, governments, NGOs and the private sector must all work together to unleash a massive wave of entrepreneurship that generates the breakthrough companies at a record pace. That is how we will create greener power, distribute more food and create hundreds thousands of new jobs for the growing middleclass”
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn 

This unique event exposed governments to breakthrough ideas and innovations available, and leading tech innovators to the concrete problematics and challenges of countries in advancing the Agenda 2030. Read the whole post and watch the videos

SDG Action Campaign at the SDG Media Zone

The SDG Media Zone aims to engage people all over the world in the important conversations happening during this high-level week of the UN General Assembly and to strengthen the commitment of the international community in support of the 2030 Agenda.

The Campaign programmed and participated in 2 sessions:

Data tells the story on the SDGs

Mitchell Toomey, Director SDG Action Campaign with Robert​ ​Kirkpatrick,​ ​Director, UN​ ​Global​ ​Pulse Moderated by​ ​Emily​ ​Courey​ ​Pryor, Executive​ ​Director​ ​Data2X 

The Future We Want in Virtual Reality

Moderated by Kristin Gutekunst,Executive Producer, UN SDG Action Campaign, featuring Monique Marian, BU Architect, Grimshaw Architects
and Marina Gorbis, Executive Director, Institute for the Future.

The UN SDG Action Campaign also participated in the Media for Social Impact Summit, our Global Director, Mitchell Toomey gave a keynote address regarding Action for the SDGs, and Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer of the UNVR project, moderated the exciting panel: Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Virtually Reporting the Realities of the SDGs. Find out more

Data Playground: Celebrating data, innovation and technology for the SDGs

The UN SDG Action Campaign, UN Global Pulse, and Microsoft organised the fourth annual Data Playground, an interactive event showcasing data and technological innovations for the SDGs.  Innovators across the UN and private and public sector joined for an evening to discuss and explore opportunities for accelerating sustainable development solutions. Read full post

The Global People’s Summit

The UN SDG Action Campaign participated in the first ever Global People’s Summit for Sustainable Development to facilitate a series of activations and calls to action. 84 MILLION people were reached in 160 COUNTRIES

 

Launch of the ASEAN MY World 2030 survey

The ASEAN MY World survey was officially launched by the UNDP Administrator and all Foreign Ministers from the ASEAN region.

“Multi-stakeholder participation and inclusion are recognized as key drivers of success; however there is still a need to increase public awareness and ownership. The ASEAN MY World survey will increase public awareness and capture priorities and perceptions of progress on the agendas.”
Achim Steiner, Administrator of the UNDP 

The ASEAN MY World survey will increase public awareness and capture priorities and perceptions of progress on the agendas, interpret peoples’ aspirations towards the ASEAN Community Vision and the SDGs at the national and regional level, and subsequently help shape policy recommendations and plans of action for ASEAN Member States to achieve the agenda/vision in a timely manner.

Read the complete speech  or go to the ASEAN My World 2030 Survey: asean.myworld2030.org

Global Day of Action for SDGs  – We the People #Act4SDGs

On 25 September, 2017 – the second anniversary of the ratification of the SDGs. The UN SDG Action Campaign, together with the World We Want 2030, local chapters of the Global Campaign Against Poverty (GCAP), and Action for Sustainable Development, joined forces to invite people around the world to take action and send a strong signal to leaders about the importance of the SDGs.

The result? Thousands of volunteers and citizens around the world, celebrities, journalists and thought leaders joined to inspire people to collectively achieve the SDGs: 

500 organisations
1000 actions
116 countries and 380 cities
11,000 tweets
84 million people reached globally  

Explore the actions and join us: www.Act4SDGs.org

 

Citizen Scorecard: Two years on, how have people’s lives changed on key SDG targets.

  • 20% of people surveyed struggle to have enough food to eat

  • 8 key findings that can help us understand perceived progress on the SDGs two years after their adoption

  • One in three respondents are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • explore data

This and other key findings are part of the results of several pilot studies collecting perceptions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to assist decision-makers in SDG review activities. The results, collected through a collaborative research project between the UN SDG Action Campaign and Paragon Partnerships, in particular Kantar Public and Lightspeed, as part of the MY World 2030 project, were presented today during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations. The Forum is the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals held from Monday, 10 July, to Wednesday, 19 July 2017.

The UN SDG Action Campaign & Kantar Public have developed and tested a question library of almost 100 SDG Questions and then conducted a research study in 11 voluntary reporting countries for this year. The results are representative and weighted samples across the following countries provide a baseline against which to measure progress in future years.

  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Thailand

Key Findings

  1. One third of people are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

    Overall. One in three respondents are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals. Younger respondents (ages 16-29) were more familiar with the SDGs than older respondents. There are huge differences among countries. Respondents in Thailand (the least developed country in the sample) were the most aware, while respondents in Denmark (the most developed country) were least aware. Japan and Argentina were the countries with least awareness levels, with over 80% of the population not aware of the SDGs. There is a lot to be done!

  2. SDG 1 / 20% of the population is still struggling to afford basic needs. 

    This percentages goes up to 35% for those who haven’t completed primary education.

    Thinking about you and your household, which of the following best describes your financial situation?
  3. SDG 2 / The struggle for food is very similar in countries with the highest and lowest Development Index and it affects about 20% of the population who are struggling to have enough food to eat. 

    When asked about how easy or difficult has it been for respondents and their household to have enough food to eat, 20% of all respondents across the sample, without distinction between Low and High Developed Countries (according to the Human Development Index) found it very or quite difficult to have enough food to eat in the past twelve months. Some differences are shown, with Argentina, a country with a Very High HDI level, reporting the most difficulty ( 37% stated “Quite Difficult.”) and Denmark with the least difficulty (55% answering “Very Easy”).

    Question: Thinking about the last 12 months, how easy or difficult has it been for you and your household to have enough food to eat?
  4. SDG 3 / Access to healthcare has not changed since last year. 1 in 4 respondents are not satisfied with the quality.

    For the majority of respondents the situation hasn’t changed. But one in four respondents are not satisfied with the quality of healthcare. Thailand scored as the country where it has most improved.

    Question: How satisfied are you with the health services and treatments you and your household have had over the last 12 months?
  5. SDG 5 / More people agree than disagree that women earn the same amount of money for doing the same job.

    Overall, more respondents agree than disagree that women earn the same amount of money for doing the same job. Regional differences are shown, as the majority of European respondents disagree with this statement, while the majority of S.E Asian respondents agree.

    Question: “Today, in our society, women and men earn the equal amount of money for doing exactly the same work at the same level”. Do you agree with this statement?
  6. SDG 9 / Access to internet is still an issue.

    One in five respondents reported they were “often” or “always” having problems with internet access. Malaysian respondents reported the most difficulty accessing the internet with 11% answering “always” versus the Netherlands as the country with the least difficulty, with 61% answering “never” or “rarely”. The age difference also played a role, with the majority of respondents aged 60+ reporting more difficulty than younger ones.

  7. SDG 14 / The oceans and seas are not clean enough, and half the population agrees. 

    Argentina and Italy scored high (73% in Argentina and 69% in Italy) in the perception that their rivers and lakes are not very clean or not clean at all. In Italy and the Czech Republic, conditions have gotten worse according to around 30% of the people surveyed, whereas in Malaysia and Portugal, conditions were reported to have improved. Sweden and Denmark were the exception, with above 70% of the respondents reporting that their rivers and lakes were very clean or fairly clean.

    Question: In your opinion, how clean are the rivers and lakes around where you live ?
  8. Good Health, Eradication of Poverty and Decent Work are the primary concerns for citizens.

Overall, the top 5 SDGs where: 

It is interesting to note that in MY World 2015, with a much bigger sample size, the top issues of concern were Education, Healthcare, Jobs, Honest & Responsive Government. People are still choosing the same top issues two years on! After good health, the top concerns change for women and men – for women being “No poverty” and men being more concerned with “Decent Work and Economic Growth”. Quality Education also made it as a top concern in Argentina.

Methodological Note

In total, 7,772 respondents took part in the survey in 11 countries, ranging from 350 in Denmark to 1,011 in Czech Republic. Quotas were set by age, gender and region in each country. Respondents were sampled from Lightspeed and TNS online and mobile access panels. Data is weighted by age, gender, and region in each country. Cross-country comparison is based on additional weights by country population size

In other words: assuming probability sample, for a question response of 49%, we can say that in 95 out of 100 surveys, the true value (which would be obtained if the entire population were asked the question) lies between 46% and 52%.

Become a MY World 2030 partner and roll out the survey

A Year of SDG Action: MY World Mexico

Written by Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo
National Operations Coordinator at MY World México

Three years ago when we had the opportunity to implement the United Nations Global Survey For A Better World MY World 2015 in my hometown Jalisco, México we were able to realize people’s interest in being part of the new global development agenda. Back then, I was amazed by people’s willingness to act and help others participate in the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the end of the day, having collected nearly 400,000 voices in the survey thanks to the mobilization of 500 young volunteers and 255 organizations, Jalisco was able to position itself as one of the most participative entities in the world in the definition of these new Global Goals.

This also led to make Jalisco’s the first in our country to align its State Development Plan to the SDGs taking into account the MY World 2015 results. Jalisco was also part of the adoption of the SDGs and was also awarded the “People’s Voices Challenge Award” for Best Multi-stakeholder Collaboration in September 2015. The results also had a considerable impact in Mexico’s First National Voluntary Review before the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2016, as a significant input for SDG actions coming from civil society’s mobilization mechanisms.

However, as soon as the SDGs were adopted in September 2015, the big questions for an already highly motivated team made mostly of young people, were “so what comes next?” and “how do we make sure that the SDGs are a reality by 2030?”. Thankfully for us this was also a question raised by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign which had recently transform itself from the United Nations Millennium Campaign and was exploring the different ways in which MY World could be used as a platform to track awareness and implementation on SDGs and monitor progress according to peoples’ satisfaction until 2030.

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(c) MY World 2030 México – UN SDG Action Campaign. School kids hold the SDGs they feel most passionate about.

This is how a group of organizations and highly motivated people supported by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign and United Nations Volunteers in Mexico, decided to establish a national network called MY World Mexico in April 2016. This network, would not only implement the MY World 2030 survey throughout Mexico, replicating Jalisco’s successful strategy, but would also lead actions at the local, national and international levels for the implementation, monitoring, financing, follow-up and socialization of the SDGs in Mexico.

In its first year, MY World Mexico was able to collect close to 30,000 MY World 2030 votes in at least 25 states around Mexico thanks to the efforts of 75 volunteers and 20 Civil Society Organizations. By July 2016, during the first HLPF that would review countries the team was able to provide the United Nations SDG Action Campaign and Mexico’s Office of the Presidency, the first results of the survey. At the same time at the United Nations Headquarters MY World 2030 was officially launched and members of our team were able to present some of the outcomes of this first implementation phase.

Simultaneously at the grassroots level, our volunteers were activating hundreds of other activities that were able to get others engage in the SDGs. The first challenge that the MY World 2030 results showed was that people did not know about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Around 83% of the people who were surveyed, said they never heard about the SDGs before. The second challenge was that the results of MY World 2030 were quite different from what the MY World 2015 had shown in the past. For example, Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) were among the top priorities, as well as Health and Well-being (SDG 3), which led to identify that people indeed perceive implementation of the SDGs as quite a challenging effort.

Ever since, the network has grown significantly. As of today, MY World México is composed by nearly 60 organizations from academia, civil society, the public and private sectors, as well as 130 volunteers in almost all states in Mexico. The actions and strategies MY World Mexico focuses on are:

  1. Promote and socialize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the support of key stakeholders at the local, national and international levels.
  2. Strengthen and expand the participation and commitment of people in the implementation, monitoring, financing, follow-up and socialization of the SDGs in Mexico.
  3. Lead actions in favor of the SDGs through volunteerism and multi-stakeholder mobilization at the local, national and international levels to achieve all goals and targets proposed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  4. Empower citizens to they promote actions and activities to tell everyone about the SDGs.
  5. Lead national communication campaigns with key stakeholders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  6. Promote the creation of local and inclusive networks for individuals and institutions in favor of the implementation, monitoring, financing, follow-up and socialization of the SDGs.
  7. Co-create and promote accountability mechanisms at the local and national levels by people through ground mobilization and the search of multiple sources, as well as publicly acknowledge efforts and best practices.
  8. Use technology, innovation and creativity to maximize the impact of people’s participation, as well as knowing SDGs progress in the country for information sharing and appropriate use of data.
  9. Lead advocacy actions at the international, national and local levels.
  10. Promote the annual participation of people in the MY World 2030 Survey.

The network has also participated in key advocacy processes in the United Nations, such as:

  • 2016 United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
  • 2016 71º United Nations General Assembly.
  • 2017 United Nations Economic and Social Council Youth Forum.
  • 2017 United Nations 55º Commission for Social Development.
  • 2017 1º Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development.
  • 2017 Youth Forum of the United Nations 61º Commission on the Status of Women.
  • 2017 United Nations 50º Commission on Population and Development.
  • 2017 United Nations First Regional Meeting on Sustainable Development of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

The network is leading actions across the country on a daily basis to achieve the SDGs. We have also taken into account other projects such as Humans of MY World; Virtual Reality; Hackatons; hundreds of conferences and other mechanisms that allow us to tell everyone about the SDGs and incentive action.

The network has been one of the first partners to sign a National Voluntary Commitment before the President of the United Nations General Assembly for the 2017 Ocean Conference leading 25 coastal cleaning activities; 50,000 MY World 2030 surveys and 87 educational activities to achieve SDG 14 on Life Below Water.

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(c) MY World 2030 México – UN SDG Action Campaign. Coastal cleaning activity volunteer holds SDG14
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c) MY World 2030 México – UN SDG Action Campaign. School kids participate in educational activities around SDG14

We have partnered with initiatives such as TeachSDGs, The Global Goals and The World’s Largest Lesson to use existing creative platforms to engage many others in the process. The network grows by numbers every week and is trying to ensure State and Municipal Committees on SDGs are implemented and that the recently established National Council on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development mandated by the Office of the Presidency includes the participation of all social actors involve in the SDGs. The MY World Mexico’s team took part in the installation of this Council, which is hoped to shape federal policies in the SDGs for the years to come.

A year of great achievements for our time has not only motivated others to participate in the SDGs but has built a solid, diverse and talented team across the country. As one of the first pilot countries of the second phase of MY World 2030 we have been able to secure a place for the SDGs in many people’s hearts and minds, as well as in key efforts in organizations from across sectors. We are certain that MY World Mexico will continue to grow and expand itself to make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a reality in our country.

Being able to lead this amazing project has taught me great life lessons, among them realizing how interested young people are in shaping their future. Interest has led to amazing daily actions, which is why I see MY World Mexico as more than a team but a community that has been able to build a strong spirit of commitment to make our country better. We are in contact every day, through every possible mean, making sure we connect our ideas and our work wherever we go. Part of the success of our strategy depends on respect to diversity and willingness to work despite challenges.

We are forever grateful with each and everyone of the individuals, organizations, authorities and United Nations entities that have participated in this one-year journey as MY World Mexico. We could not have done this without out you. We hope to continue to work together for another year of great efforts!

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c) MY World 2030 México – UN SDG Action Campaign. MY World volunteers

To know more about MY World 2030 : myworld2030.org

The SDG Action Campaign recently issued a Global Call for Partners to take part in supporting the MYWorld 2030 survey on Wed 31 May 2017 at 10am EST: Join the MY World 2030 Partner Team

 

 

Building Bridges Road to Nairobi meets youth entrepreneurs across South Africa

The Building Bridges Foundation has completed traveling through South Africa, its first country on the Road to Nairobi. With its mission to foster youth-led solutions at the grassroots level in order to contribute towards the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the team met with over a hundred youth entrepreneurs across the country. The Foundation’s seeks to learn from grassroots youth entrepreneurs to to understand their day-to-day challenges and how these entrepreneurs have thus far managed to overcome them. 

Samantha Ndiwalana, Building Bridges Project Manager, and Annemarelle van Schayik, Building Bridges Research Manager, report back on the team’s journey through South Africa.


IMG_20160906_142901.jpgThe Building Bridges core team in front of their bus

“African problems, need African solutions” – some South African youth have taken this approach to heart and are fighting for a better future every day. In South Africa there are more than 19 million young people between the ages of 15 and 34 (as defined by South Africa’s National Youth Policy), that is 42% of the population.

Strikingly, among the 9.8 million youth in South Africa’s labour force only 6.2 million were employed and more than 3.6 million youth were unemployed in 2015, with unemployment being especially high for those residing in rural areas. However, most people cannot afford to be unemployed due to the lack of significant safety nets and the responsibility to care for their families.

IMG_20160907_175928.jpgThe Building Bridges team visiting a young poultry farmer in Vredeford

Today’s South African youth were born in the last years of, or just after, Apartheid. Since then regardless of race, color or gender all youth should have the same access to resources and opportunities in theory. However, the lived reality is that black South Africans struggle more than white South Africans, not necessarily solely because of race, but also because of a different upbringing and exposure from a young age.

According to one black youth entrepreneur, “white people have more social capital. At home you can talk about having a business and your parents can introduce you to people who can help you. Most black people don’t have that.”

14053918_1766289320279392_1969452852959175315_o.jpgThe Building Bridges team meets the young entrepreneur behind Sisanda Energy Lab

The MY World global survey led by the UN SDG Action Campaign shows that in South Africa most people want “A good education”. In the past years, thousands of youth have gone onto the streets to stop university tuition fee increases and instead are demanding free education. In a country where many black South Africans are the first of their generation to enter university, keeping up with fees and other university expenses is a challenge. Many drop out before graduating due to “financial exclusion”. Still, a future without a university diploma is seen as one of insecurity and poverty.

South African youth’s priority is not only education, they are also concerned with being taught the skills that will enable them to succeed. “We don’t learn practical skills. There is no talk about running a business up till high school. How can we take care of ourselves?”, remarked one youth.

Youth who drop out of university or do not continue after high school should have learned skills to create a better life for themselves than their parents had. Youth are the future and they all should be given the tools to contribute to a better future for themselves, their communities and South Africa as a whole.

Entrepreneurial innovations should be encouraged from a young age. Schools play a fundamental role in this. A white-collar job is not the only path to success and wealth. As skills training goes underutilized, there are opportunities for individuals with, for example, artisan, technical, electronic or plumbing training. There are many self-employment opportunities in these fields. In fact, South Africa is in need of local entrepreneurs who can create sustainable businesses.

13975260_1765539727021018_91416547130337434_o.jpgThe team meets with youth entrepreneurs in Kwaggafontein

South African youth have great potential to innovate, to change, to create solutions. Of course, being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but those who have the passion and the drive can potentially learn the skills. Their success is not just on the individual level. It carries through their communities and their nation as they employ other youth.

Youth entrepreneurs not only address issues of decent employment opportunities, but also other striking local problems. Youth are drivers of innovation. On their journey through South Africa the Building Bridges team met, among others, innovative youth who are working on hydroponic farming, an interactive, but informative game about energy and how to handle, a cheaper medical insurance solution for uninsured South Africans.

Youth entrepreneurs are the future. But before changes can be made, we need to understand what the lived experiences of South African youth are and what can be done to enable them to succeed.

IMG_20160907_175938.jpgA Building Bridges event with various youth entrepreneurs in Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga

Besides a pressing lack of business education from a young age and role models, many black youth entrepreneurs found the access to business registration lacking. We were told time after time that the decentralized government system is confusing and that the entrepreneurs wasted time being sent back and forth from office to office. Others were unemployed and had difficulty paying the needed business registration fees.

One youth entrepreneur stated, “there are a lot of young people who have ideas; they’re really strong ideas that are so powerful. The problem is, you are unemployed, but you’ve been told to open a bank account it is R500 (US$35.28), you’ve been told that to register a company it’s R400(US$28.22), your certificates that you needed, your BEE and your other certificates are quite expensive. And you are unemployed.”

Those that succeeded then found it difficult to get the startup capital needed. They were seen as risks by the banks and government funding was often unavailable for their type of business. However, besides lacking capital, many entrepreneurs also face negative feedback from their communities. Whole families depend on their income. Brothers’ tuition fees, sisters’ mobile data, and of course there needs to be food on the table. Working from 8 to 5 means a stable income and is the desired path by the wider community. All odds are against the young South African entrepreneur to succeed.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 14.27.37.pngYouth entrepreneurs from South Africa

So what can be done? Building Bridges asked the youth entrepreneurs themselves. After all they are the experts:

  • Innocentia: “We need to change how things are run. The government offices should guide entrepreneurs. They should be people who are passionate, who care.”
  • Joyce: “The government can subsidize [registration costs]. It is expensive for an unemployed person to pay and there are a lot of procedures.”
  • Xola: “We need an entrepreneurial culture, a critical mass. We need more black entrepreneurial heroes. Youth need to be able to identify with people who are like them.”
  • Vusumuzi: “Banks can create a different loan system. They should invest in the youth.”
  • Major: “We need practical things when going to programs and incubators. The people presenting don’t understand what we go through. They are not entrepreneurs. We should learn from entrepreneurs.”