Countries embrace efforts to achieve SDGs amid mounting global challenges: 2018 SDGs Report

New York, 20 June – A fast-changing climate, conflict, inequality, persistent pockets of poverty and hunger and rapid urbanization are challenging countries’ efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a UN report launched in New York today.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 found that conflict and climate change were major contributing factors leading to growing numbers of people facing hunger and forced displacement, as well as curtailing progress towards universal access to basic water and sanitation services.

For the first time in more than a decade, there are now approximately 38 million more hungry people in the world, rising from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. According to the report, conflict is now one of the main drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries. In 2017, the world experienced the costliest North Atlantic hurricane season on record, driving the global economic losses attributed to the disasters to over $300 billion.

At the same time, the Report found that more people are leading better lives than they were just a decade ago. The proportion of the world’s workers living with their families on less than 1.90 per person a day declined significantly over the past two decades, falling from 26.9 per cent in 2000 to 9.2 per cent in 2017.

The under-five mortality rate dropped by almost 50 per cent and in the least developed countries, the proportion of population with access to electricity has more than doubled between 2000 and 2016. However, in 2015, 2.3 billion people still lacked even a basic level of sanitation service and 892 million people continued to practice open defecation. In 2016, there were 216 million cases of malaria compared to 210 million cases in 2013 and close to 4 billion people were left without social protection in 2016.

The SDG Report presents an overview of progress toward achieving the Goals, which were unanimously adopted by countries in 2015.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said “Transitioning towards more sustainable and resilient societies also requires an integrated approach that recognizes that these challenges—and their solutions—are interrelated.

As the global community moves forward to achieve the SDGs and address existing challenges, reliable, timely, accessible and disaggregated data is critically needed. This requires technology and innovation, increased resources and political commitment to build strong data and statistical systems in all countries.

Other findings of the Report include:

  • Rates of child marriage have continued to decline around the world. In Southern Asia, a girl’s risk of marrying in childhood has dropped by over 40 per cent between 2000 and 2017.
  • Nine out of 10 people living in cities breathe polluted air.
  • In 2016, the absolute number of people living without electricity dropped below the symbolic threshold of one billion.
  • Land degradation threatens the livelihoods of over one billion people.

See report overview.

More information on the Report may be found at https://unstats.un.org/sdgs

Spread your Goals and flap your wings for the #SDGs! A campaign launched in Germany invites citizens to have a say on the #SDGs

One small flap of your wings can make a huge difference for a better world!  #SpreadYourGoals2030

The UN SDG Action Campaign and media company Weischer Media have launched today the Spread Your Goals campaign, combining Augmented Reality, outdoors, cinema, mobile, and social media. By using the mobile app Shazam’s new AR feature, everybody can learn about the SDGs and spread their wings to advocate for sustainable development.

It’s simple to participate:

1) Download the app Shazam

2) Click on the camera icon

3) Scan the orange code in the image below

4) Take your photo and start sharing with the hashtag #SpreadYourGoals2030!

The wings are shown in the app as moving stickers and the photos can be shared directly from the app to social media. For a special WOW effect, you can also make the wings flap!

Curious about what each wing portraits? Click on each of the goals and read more about the SDGs, and tell the world which SDGs you are most passionate about via  MY World 2030 . MY World is a global citizen survey to bring people’s voices into official debates about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Almost 10 million people from 194 countries have shared their views on MY World.

Additionally, billboards have been placed in six German cities, showing wings with elements from all 17 Goals and carrying the Shazam Code to enter the Augmented Reality experience. One of these billboards will be on display at the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development.

Which goals do you want to spread? Let people know and start soaring to new heights!

 

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.

The United Nations launches hacking challenge to bring Nigerian voices to decision-makers

Hackathon to be held from 5-7 February 2018 will award 1 million naira to winner team

BONN, Germany, January 31st, 2018 – The United Nations SDG Action Campaign, in collaboration with Civic Innovation Lab, is calling on Nigeria’s best software skills to contribute to citizens’ engagement with the SDGs and bring the voices of Nigerians to the Government and the United Nations.

 “The SDGs are a new way of thinking and doing. They provide guidelines for how we can, and need, to do things more creatively, more effectively, and more inclusively. Nigerian developers and the innovation community have invested in helping their communities thrive and we want to provide the opportunity to transfer this innovative thinking into action for good, to solve the most important problems that we are facing right now. It is very exciting to bring this program to Nigeria for the first time, and we are convinced the results will have a tremendous impact locally and globally,” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

A hackathon to be held from 5-7 February 2018 in Abuja will bring together top innovative minds to design a tool, app or system to enable a more efficient roll out of the MY World survey across the country.

MY World is the UN survey that educates and mobilizes citizens on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and allows them to share their perception of progress made in their countries and regions on those goals of most immediate concern to them in the past 12 months. Through this data collection, the UN aims to create space for every citizen in the world to participate in the discussions and send strong messages to world leaders on what needs to be done to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

“Nigeria is fully committed to faithfully implementing the SDGs and ensuring that no Nigerian is left behind. In spite of the current economic realities, Nigeria has continued to commit funds to the SDGs to devise effective means of ensuring the SDGs are promoted and owned by peoples of the world”, affirmed Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Presidential Adviser on the SDGs, Government of Nigeria.

The winner of the hackathon will receive One Million Naira and a 3 months’ Community membership at the Civic Innovation Lab to develop the tool that will be used in the roll out of the survey across Nigeria and around the world. Participants can apply through the online application, open until February 1st, 2018.

“Engaging social innovators in tech to take action for the SDGs is key to achieving these Goals. Our collaboration with the UN SDG Action Campaign will enable the Nigerian community of designers, social innovators and entrepreneurs to collaborate effectively in addressing the country’s needs and join the global community of change-makers who are tackling the world’s biggest challenges”, said Adaeze Sokan, Director, Civic Innovation Lab.

ABOUT THE UN SDG ACTION CAMPAIGN

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by the UNDP to create awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empower and inspire people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will, and help make the Goals attainable by 2030.

http://sdgactioncampaign.org/

ABOUT MY WORLD 2030

MY World is the UN survey that asks citizens if they are aware of the Sustainable Development Goals, which six of the 17 Global Goals are of immediate concern to them and if the situation of these has got better, stayed the same or got worse over the past 12 months.

https://myworld2030.org/

ABOUT OSSAP-SDGS

The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs) was established by the President of Nigeria with a mandate to coordinate national mobilisation, integration, implementation and reporting of the SDGs across levels of government. It also has the mandate to promote partnership and mobilise resources for the SDGs, working with multi-stakeholders including the private sector, civil society and international development partners. In 2017, the OSSAP-SDGs entered into a multi-year partnership agreement with the United Nations SDG Action Campaign.

http://sdgs.gov.ng/

ABOUT CIVIC INNOVATION LAB

Civic Innovation Lab is a social innovation hub focused on harnessing Creativity, Innovation, and Technology to solve our most pressing civic and government issues. We support technology solutions that enhance efficiency and effectiveness in public sector institutions as well as quality of life.

http://civicilab.com/

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Marta Rojas| UN SDG Action Campaign | marta.rojas@undp.org

Priscila Jordão| UN SDG Action Campaign  priscila@sdgactioncampaign.org

A new discovery tool for cutting-edge research on SDGs: the Sustainable Development Explorer

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are interconnected, and so is the work of United Nations University (UNU), which spans the full breadth of the SDGs.

About 400 UNU researchers are engaged in more than 180 projects to address complex global challenges, especially where different goals meet. To highlight which of those projects address each of the SDGs, UNU just launched a new tool that allows one to search its database of research, commentary, and multimedia: the Sustainable Development Explorer.

Available in English and in Japanese, the SD Explorer currently features 51 projects, 34 experts, 34 publications, and 50 expert articles, organised by SDG.

It offers visitors the opportunity to explore the “who” and “what” of UNU’s work, engage directly with UNU’s experts, and learn about how their ideas can play a significant role in promoting and supporting the SDGs.

To learn more about the SD Explorer, please visit: http://bit.ly/2FQrRwy.

UNLEASH searches 1,000 young talents to innovate for SDGs in Singapore

From May 30 to June 6, Singapore will be the host for UNLEASH 2018 and the second cohort of 1,000 young talents from all over the world, who will work on new, innovative and disruptive solutions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Applications are open from January 15 – February 15, 2018.

The first UNLEASH took place in Denmark in August 2017. In November 2017, the Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, handed over UNLEASH to the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during an official visit.

“Denmark kick-started this great initiative, and there is no better partner than Singapore to take over. The global SDGs carry the ambition to bring the world we live in closer to the world in which we wish to live. Singapore is known for its foresight, drive, and ability to take action. By passing on the host country torch to Singapore, I am sure that UNLEASH will take yet another important step forward,” said Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

The talents will learn from Singaporean private and public sector, who will inspire the talents for their process through the four-day innovation challenge. The talents are put in teams and will work on solutions within their field of expertise.

“We each have a valuable contribution to make to sustainable development. This gathering of young, creative and innovative minds will harness the power of human ingenuity, to create imaginative solutions that achieve the SDGs,” said Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

At the end of the innovation challenge, the solutions will be perfected and pitched in front of a panel of experts before UNLEASH culminates on June 6, when the final awards show takes place and thought leaders from all over the world will give keynotes to inspire the talents’ way forward. Here the best ideas are also awarded and given prizes to further support the implementation of their solutions.

Applications will be open from January 15 – February 15, 2018. For more information, please visit www.unleash.org.

Mitchell Toomey: “Youth power can lead the way towards the SDGs and the ambitions of countries all over the world”

Source: African Newspage/January 10, 2018

Mitchell Toomey is the global director of the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General administered by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

How important are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Africa, in terms of achieving sustainable development in the region?

I think the Sustainable Development Goals are everyone’s responsibility and Africa deserves to achieve the SDGs just like other regions deserve to do so; we had the MDGs and countries like Nigeria were an incredible success in rallying people around some specific goals.

Moreover, the SDGs represent a much more ambitious agenda; they are not just about people’s survival but actually about ensuring people thrive. So, Nigeria is an obvious leader in Africa and with such a large youth population and potential we want to make sure the SDGs work here so that Nigeria can lead other countries in Africa.

We are already 2 years into the implementation of the SDGs, how has Africa fared in terms of achieving the goals?

Well, I think every country is different, every country has their own development plans and one thing we have learnt is that you can’t just bring something new and expect everyone to enforce it immediately; already there is the Africa Agenda 2063, which is a very important agenda that came before the SDGs. So, we have to be humble enough to understand that people already have their own plans.

Two years on, we are very happy to see how governments have taken them very seriously; they have set up departments and commissions to make sure there is some accountability in the implementation of the SDGs. Many countries have come to New York to talk about their action plans and what they want to do. However, two years on we can say the goals are still in their very early days.

The next few years will really determine how much progress we will see in terms of implementation of the goals. So, in 2019 the heads of state of all countries will gather again in New York to review the progress we have achieved in 4 years – it will be an incredibly important period. Therefore, we are confident that by then many countries would have achieved some of the progress necessary for the success of the goals.

Two key sectors of the world’s population i.e women and youth are very vital to the success of global development frameworks like the SDGs. How do you think given women and youth the opportunity to key into the implementation of the Global Goals will aid the successful realization of the goals?

Well, one reason the youth are such a focus of the goals is that the youth themselves helped designed the goals; when we were deciding what the goals would be we challenged young people from around the world to help us decide what the goals would be and they responded in amazing ways: by telling us what was happening in their communities and hence what the goals should be.

As such, most of the goals are youth-centered which means the youth can relate to them; we make sure that the icons are very friendly and easy to understand so that even children can understand these goals.

The reason is we are in a period of tremendous change in the world and young people are the future; the ability to access information, find networks of people, and learn new things using digital tools are what matters. It is a much different world than it used to be and young people are the ones who understand it best so we need to follow their lead in making these goals a reality.

And women have always played a very critical role in society even though sometimes such a role is marginalized outside of the traditional economies but we believe by giving everyone in the society the opportunity to participate we will achieve explosive growth which will lead to development in all countries.

Agenda 2030 is a very ambitious development framework that hopes to change the face of the world particularly here in Africa, around gender, education, governance, and public health. Where do you hope to see Africa by the year 2030 in terms of achieving these goals?

It is hard to generalize for Africa as different countries are at different starting points; different countries are progressing in different ways. We have to be very honest that different countries will progress in different ways.

Imagine how much the world has changed in the last 15 years, imagine all the things we never dreamed we could do like standing here and having this conversation with you and getting it out on the internet for everyone to see, we just would not even have thought it would be possible. So, I think if anything the goals aren’t ambitious enough to match the ambitions of young people around the world.

This article is culled from African Newspage – a digital newspaper for development reporting. View the original piece on their website.

New podcast shares plan to make SDGs a reality – and we’re a partner!

Bold individuals are taking on the world’s most pressing challenges and changing the world, and their stories deserve to be told. That’s why we’re excited to join forces with the Global GoalsCast, a new podcast to inspire listeners to roll up their sleeves and make the world a better place!

As individuals, organizations and companies are contributing to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change and produce a more equitable world by 2030, we at the UN SDG Action Campaign are proud to be supporting a podcast that puts change-makers under the spotlight. By means of powerful storytelling supported by high-quality data, and offering different ways in which everyone can take action and personally contribute to progressive global efforts, we will assure that everyone can understand and engage with the SDGs.

From now on, you can listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or any other platform you get your podcasts from!

Each of the 24 episodes of the first season, hosted by special advisor for Unicef Claudia González Romo and journalist Edie Lush, help make the SDGs more approachable.

In the first episode, titled “The World is on the Move”, listeners meet Brenda, a migrant from Mexico who as a fourth grader crossed the U.S. border at night with little but her parent’s dreams for her. Now, she works as a software engineer for Google. Her story shows that migration can be an economic powerhouse for the world and help drive global development.

Episode Zero” and a new episode on “Girls and Education” have just come out. The episode on education introduces Jeanette Monosoff-Haley, a Mumbai-based organizer working to support the education of some of the poorest children in India. Her efforts focus on small steps, like finding textbooks, uniforms and even a girls toilet. Development experts have identified keeping girls in school as a top priority.

On the 24th of January, an episode on climate change will be live casted directly from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos featuring Robert and Barney Swan, a father-and-son duo who trekked 600-miles across Antarctica using only renewable energy sources.

Two new episodes will be released every month until the end of the year.

Additional episodes include audio from Will.i.am, Malala, William Lacy, Louise Arbor, and President Obama. The podcast will also introduce listeners to new, authentic voices such as Dali (16) and Fin (14), from the clothing company Nalu, who are creating alternative ways to provide education access to all.

We’re delighted to help sharing such incredible efforts in achieving a more sustainable world as a partner!

Visit the Global GoalsCast website to listen to the first episode and subscribe to hear the next ones on iTunes. You can also follow the podcast on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Have a look at some of Robert and Barney’s trip to Antarctica:

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 clearly present at World Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, Qatar

Doha, Qatar: 14-16 November, 2017

The SDGs were a key focus for global education actors when they gathered at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and one of seventeen United Nations Secretary-General SDG Advocates, hosted and attended the Summit where world leaders called for urgent action to help young refugees and internally displaced youths. With more than 260 million children and young people out of school today, and only one per cent of young refugees able to access higher education, there were warnings that the SDGs will not be achieved if young people are denied quality education.

The EAA Foundation signed several new partnerships at the event, part of its commitment to address the global education crisis and enroll 10 million out-of-school children.

© WISE/ NigelDownes –
HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana

During the high-level plenary (watch here), the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is Co-Chair of SDG Advocates, told the WISE audience: “The spectre of tens and tens of millions of young refugees growing up without the needed skills to create a meaningful life for themselves is a dangerous one. What do we expect them to do? What opportunities are available to them? How competitive can they be in this global economy? These are questions that must elicit a concerted and calculated response from the world’s leaders.”

 

Mr. Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said: “Tens of millions of children are deprived of education. We cannot afford lost generations. No single child should be left behind. It is our moral duty to do more.”

The SDGs were also visible at the UN SDG Action Campaign booth, located in the EAA Foundation exhibition space. Visitors could learn more about the Campaign’s work and could show their commitment to the SDGs by obtaining stickers and taking selfies with the goals. By taking the MY World 2030 survey, which polls top SDG priorities and citizen perceptions on implementation progress, they could consider the SDGs in relation to their own lives. Through the use of virtual reality, attendees of the Summit were also able to step into the shoes of children affected by emergencies, seeing first-hand the ways an interruption to education can stymie young people’s progress. The Campaign showed the 360’ films, Ground Beneath Her and Clouds Over Sidra, which showcase young girls affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and the Syrian Crisis respectively.

“MY World and UNVR are not only tools to use with young people in education settings to capture the realities of young people though data and storytelling, but also amazing tools for use in the classroom,” said Ms. Kristin Gutekunst, who represented the UN SDG Action Campaign at the forum. “MY World helps young people learn the language of the SDGs and understand how they manifest in their own lives. UNVR helps them understand the complex interaction of the SDGs in different settings, and also inspires a connection to people across the world, sponsoring a sense of global connection.”