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

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

 GANGWON-DO, February 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Peoples' Voices from around the world celebrated in SDGs Exhibition in UN Visitors Lobby

Since its launch on the 18th of July, the SDGs: A People-powered Agenda – Leave No One Behind exhibition at the United Nations Headquarters has drawn excited crowds of visitors and high-level delegations from around the world.

IMG_20160808_115212.jpgH.E. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, visits the SDGs exhibition 

During the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), H.E. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and co-chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s SDG Advocacy Group, was one of the first to visit the exhibition together with the Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations, Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen. Both expressed their commitment to making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality for all on the exhibitions large size blackboard. H.E. Erna Solberg wrote that she will continue to advocate for “Quality Education for All”, while H.E. Geir O. Pedersen committed to “Take Action against Inequality”.

IMG_20160718_110241.jpgH.E. Geir O. Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, writing his commitment to the SDGs on exhibition blackboard 

The HLPF is central platform of the United Nations for the follow-up and review of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. It provided political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and follow-up; keep track of progress of the SDGs; spur coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as addressing new and emerging issues. In addition to visiting the SDGs exhibition, H.E. Erna Solberg delivered the opening key-note speech at the start of the Ministerial Segment of the HLPF on 18 July and presented Norway’s voluntary national reviews on its progress of delivering the Sustainable Development Goals on the 19th.

IMG_20160804_171540.jpgJCI members at the exhibition’s selfie station

Taking up the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s challenge that “youth should be given a chance to take an active part in the decision-making of local, national and global levels,” members of Junior Chamber International’s (JCI) visited the SDGs exhibition during the JCI Annual Global Partnership Summit. Held July 25 to 28 in New York City, the summit offered international leaders and JCI members the chance to visit the exhibition and experience its interactive selfie stations, take surveysand engage with the important challenges and opportunities that the SDGs present to youth globally.

IMG_20160729_111157 (1).jpgYoung students read the stories of Humans of MY World (www.facebook.com/homy2015)

Moreover, groups of national and international students have been particularly drawn to the exhibition’s touch screens hosting the MY World 2030 Survey (www.myworld2030.org), the High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment’s special MY World 2030 Empower Women Thematic Survey (www.empowerwomen.myworld2030.org) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Impossible Choices humanitarian challenge (www.impossiblechoices.org).

IMG_20160808_115129.jpgVisitor taking the MY World 2030 Survey on exhibition touchscreen 

The UN Virtual Reality film series, which allows visitors to immersively experience the life of some of the world’s most vulnerable using high-tech 3D VR headsets has been a major visitor attraction since the opening of the exhibition. Visitors have been touched by the human stories of the Syrian refugee crisis, the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and the effects of conflict in the Gaza Strip in the VR films Clouds Over Sidra, Waves of Grace and My Mother’s Wing (www.unvr.org).

IMG_20160729_104940 (1).jpgStudents watch United Nations Virtual Reality at exhibition 

Watching the movies and experiencing global issues up close has had a profound effect on visitors, many of whom have tried virtual reality technology for the first time. Especially touched was a group of students from LaGuardia Community College, NYC, who had scheduled a special visit to the virtual reality station. After visiting the exhibition with around 30 students the teacher wrote to the SDG Action Campaign to describe what a strong tool for the creation of empathy UNVR had been for the students:

“I just want to thank you for making the extra headsets available for my students last Friday. They were very impressed with the films. My students recently wrote an essay about whether or not the United States should take in Syrian refugees. Most of my students (who are all immigrants) said no, we shouldn’t let them in because there could be dangerous terrorists among them. One student stayed after class and argued with me about this, insisting that all Syrians are terrorists. After this particular student saw your film and experienced what it was like to be in a refugee camp, he told me he wants to rewrite his essay. We have been reading about refugee situations all during the term, we’ve seen film clips from the news, and we’ve watched Hotel Rwanda, and still most students wanted to keep refugees out. Your film changed that for some of them, which is very powerful. So thank you!”

The interactive SDGs exhibition will continue to be open until 4 September 2016.


The exhibition is open to the general public during official UN visiting hours:

  • Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • All visitors must exit the building by 5:30pm.
  • Virtual Reality screenings at the exhibition: Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.

The entrance is at 46th Street and 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Visitors without an official UN Pass will have to first obtain a guest pass at the screening station on 46th and 1st across the street from the UN. Be sure to bring a photo ID.

If your delegation or mission would like to schedule a special exhibition tour, please kindly contact Kristin Gutekunst at kristin.gutekunst@undp.org (9143303774).