Kofi Annan was a visionary leader, a dedicated diplomat and a committed campaigner for peace, human rights and social justice. The UN SDG Action Campaign joins the United Nations family and the rest of the world in mourning the passing on of Mr Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General who died on the 18th of August, 2018.
Mr Annan worked tirelessly to ensure that the United Nations is about the people and together with Member States delivered the UN Millennium Declaration which gave birth to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
To his eternal credit, Mr Annan established the UN Millennium Campaign, the precursor of the SDG Action Campaign to mobilise the world around the MDGs and rally all people to a global movement of making poverty history. Today, the impact of the MDGs and the work of the Millennium Campaign have both gave the world a renewed vigour and commitment to ending poverty and inequalities and a planet befitting for present and future generations. This is evident in the adoption of the successor frameworks of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015.
Above all, in establishing the Millennium Campaign, Mr. Annan laid the foundation for giving people voices to participate in global and national processes that determine their future. The UN SDG Action Campaign has continued in this light in our work and partnerships across the world.
On his departure, we celebrate the life of a leader, a reformer and a Campaigner. We believe that the best way to immortalise the life and work of Mr. Annan is in promoting the ideals for which he lived and worked for – a world without poverty and injustice. The UN SDG Action Campaign will always be inspired by his vision to continue to work with our partners all over the world to build a global movement that will facilitate the achievement of the SDGs by giving people voices to engage with this universal and transformative agenda.
On Thursday, October 20, over 600 people attended a grand exhibit aboard the Peace Boat. This “Floating Festival for Sustainability” marked the Peace Boat’s 92nd Global Voyage for Peace since the nonprofit was established in 1983, and the first time the ship has docked in New York in five years. It also marked the inauguration of the Global Goals logo on the boat.
The SDG Action Campaign has a long history of working with the Peace Boat, having launched a partnership in 2009 to promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Peace Boat previously hosted the Millennium Campaign logo, gave courses on the MDGs to passengers, and participated in the Stand Up Campaign among other activities. The Peace Boat has also been an early adopter of the MY World 2030 survey, helping to translate the ballot into Japanese, and collecting ballots both from passengers and people they meet during their journey. They presented the results of their first efforts in their recent report about the ship’s visit to Latin America – showing the enormous efforts and impact the boat is able to make on supporting the implementation of the SDGs.
The event occurred aboard the Peace Boat, providing guests with an intimate glimpse of life at sea. When guests first arrived, they were greeted with a tour of Peace Boat’s impressive ship. The foyer of the ship allowed guests to engage with the mission of the Peace Boat and with an exhibition of projects the peace boat is aligned with. Peace Boat, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations, campaigns for the Sustainable Development Goals as it tours the globe each year. The UN SDG Action Campaign was present to drum up excitement about the SDGs and give participants the ability to engage with immersive content. Participants could take the MY World survey to voice their opinion on the importance and progress of the SDGs, take selfies highlighting their favorite SDGs and watch the virtual reality films of stories from around the world.
The World We Want team was also present, inviting guests to learn about their activities and to join the Policy Strategy Group. The World We Want is looking to continue doing WWW exhibitions around the world to promote the SDGs and civil society’s participation in UN activities. Other exhibits included the presentation of the Eco Ship, an entirely sustainable ship fueled by renewable energy sources that will retrieve the mission of the Peace Boat and promote climate action world-wide when in launches in 2020.
The main event of the evening began with live music and dance, followed by a series of speakers including H.E. Jan Eliasson (United Nations Deputy Secretary-General), H.E. Ahmed Sareer (Ambassador of the Maldives and Chairman of the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS)), Jeff Brez (Chief NGO Relations Advocacy and Special Events, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information), Yoshioka Tatsuya (Peace Boat Director) and Cora Weiss of the (President, Hague Appeal for Peace). The presentations were followed by an eco fashion show highlighting sustainable designs, and the SDGs chosen to be of highest import to each of the designers.
The presenters made appealing calls to action for all guests to get involved with the SDGs and in promoting peace. The Mr. Eliasson stressed the need to join forces and approach the SDGs in a collaborative manner, encouraging everyone to not be phased by the large task at hand, but rather to focus on small actions that add up: “nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something”. He stressed the need to empower and create space for youth and women as major actors in the fight for peace.
Mr. Tatsuya gave an energetic presentation about the new ship the Peace Boat is developing, which will soon be the most sustainable ship to ever set sail. It will include an on-board university for peace & sustainability, sport activities, and volunteer exchanges in local communities visited.
The evening also included a passionate appeal from a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bombing as part of a special partnership with the United Nations First Committee on Disarmament and International Security (UNODA). Five victims of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima, known as Hibakusha, are traveling with the Peace Boat to campaign against nuclear weapons, hoping to see a world without them in their lifetimes.
Did you know, the MY World Survey is comprised of much more than one simple question now?
On July 18, 2016, the UN SDG Action Campaign, in partnership with UNDP, ODI and Global Pulse, launched the next phase of MY Worldin the UNHQ. Partners from multiple sectors joined in the discussion, reporting on methodologies and strategies. They also presented lessons learnt and preliminary results from early pilot testing and representative studies.
See what our speakers and panelist have said during the MY World 2030 Launch!
“MY World is an opportunity to hear from voices across the spectrum, voices of the people who really shifted this agenda” – Rosemary Kalapurakal, Lead Advisor, 2030 Agenda Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
“We really need to work together to make sure that the spirit of the MY World campaign lives” – Haoliang Xu, Assistant Administrator and Director for the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNDP
“MY World 2030 is about monitoring progress, satisfaction and awareness” – Mitchell Toomey, Global Director, UN SDG Action Campaign
“The main focus of a questionnaire has got to be on the individual respondent” – Hayk Gyuzalyan, Methods Director, TNS Opinion
“Partnership is not about engaging varying entities, but also engaging all individuals in ensuring we leave no one behind” – Muhsin Syihab, from Indonesia
“Local actions must be taken to make impact, particular by youth” – Maria Fernando Olvera, Director of Injuve
“We must continue unfinished business of MDGs through implementation of SDGs” – Princess Orelope-Adefulire, from Nigeria
The UN MY World 2015 survey (2013-2015) showed that it is both possible and useful to bring peoples’ voices directly into policy making at a global level. MY World was designed to bring the voices of individual people into the political deliberations on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it has been highly successful in doing so. Almost ten million people have responded to the survey, and the results have fed into every part of the political process for creating the new goals. MY World has been cited as part of the High Level Panel deliberations, the Open Working Group discussions, the PGA consultations and the Independent Expert Group on Data. The SG, DSG, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, Secretary General Youth Envoy and chair of the UNDG regularly reference the MY World data.
MY World 2030 will have two clear areas to contribute to, enabled through four different channels.
Main goals of MY World 2030:
Contribute to efforts to report back on progress. The aim here will be to collect globally comparable (both at scale and nationally representative) data to monitor how people feel their lives are changing. This data could feed into official monitoring efforts both locally and globally and contribute to an enhanced mechanism for the effective monitoring and implementation of the goals.
Mobilise andbuild dialogue between decision makers such as parliamentarians, local governments, mayors and citizens, in particular young people in order to contribute a “people’s perspective” on how to implement the new agenda at different levels and establish accountability mechanisms. This data and citizen voice will be focused at the community; municipal and provincial level and provide a rich source of information for national decision makers. It is envisaged that this dialogue will be aggregated at national, regional and global levels. The demand for this has been demonstrated by the MY Municipality initiative in Macedonia and the continued expansion of U Report globally.
“Our work must remain open and transparent so that we hear the voices of all”
-Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General
September 11, 2014, NEW YORK
Blog by Caya Johnson, Global Youth Advocate
The President of the General Assembly’s High-Level Stock-Taking event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, held on the 11th and 12th of September in New York, emphasized the need for a participatory, inclusive, and open approach to formulating the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The proceedings of the Stock-Taking event, which marked the end of President of the General Assembly John Ashe’s term, will be incorporated into the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report at the end of November. The Stock-Taking event also served as a way to pass the post-2015 agenda into the hands of the incoming President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa.
Over the course of the event, panelists, civil society guests, and country representatives stressed the importance of openness, transparency, and citizen involvement in the formulation and adoption of the SDGs. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that “the ongoing UN system consultations, including MY World, have sought the voices of…millions and millions of people around the world.”
Helen Clark praised the “unprecedented consultation around the world and online” which has allowed people to have their say in the post-2015 development agenda – she noted that “the global MY World Survey enabled many people to be involved.”
Text adapted from the original Press release by Supavadee Pink Chotikajan, UN Thailand
Since the launch of the 2013 MY World campaign entitled “Mark a Difference,” over 70,000 people in Thailand have participated in MY World survey. Thailand is among the top 10 countries with the most votes collected in the MY World Survey. This is a result of the strong partnerships between the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and 60 other agencies in Thailand to promote the MY World.
The “Have Your Say at the United Nations” campaign in Thailand builds on the success of last year. Its official publicity launch was co-hosted by the UN and Procter & Gamble Thailand Ltd. on 15 July at Esplanade Ratchada, Bangkok. The event was opened by a beautiful performance by Satit Prasarnmit School singing to the song “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson and “Happy” by Pharell Williams.
Acknowledging the importance of Thais’ voices, the UN selected Thailand to be one of the 20 countries to launch the “Have Your Say at the United Nations” campaign. For the first time, this campaign brought the MY World Podiumto Thailand. Signed by Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, the Podium is travelling the world to gather people’s opinions on issues that are most important to them and their families. “The Podium signifies that the UN will always reach out to hear your voices no matter where you are,” stated Mr. Luc Stevens, UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand.
Over 3,000 factory workers from rural Shanxi Province voted for a better world through the MY World Global survey.
When the factory manager heard about the United Nations MY World survey through relatives who lived abroad, she became curious and searched online to learn more about the MY World survey. She found the video with Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, encouraging more people in China to vote for a better world. Although the idea seemed distant to her at first, the Secretary-General’s words and the video by Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Zoleka Mandela struck a cord and she became convinced and was able to inspire over 3,000 of her employees to take the survey with her and tell the United Nations what they thought would make the world a better place.
Most of these factory workers are women and migrant workers, which means they do not live in the province they currently work in but travel thousands of miles from home. Most of them only see their husband, wife, son, or daughter once a year during Chinese Lunar New Year. One of the factory workers said, “no one has ever asked me what I wanted before, and now the United Nations is asking me!”
Right now, over 15,000 people have already taken the survey in in China, and partners such as ShiQing are preparing for a massive offline effort to engage China in MY World. People young and old are joining online and offline in this effort. In this video, a 10 year old girl, with the help of her parents, told the UN that the most important thing for her is to protect the environment, because she wants her birds to have a home. So many of these stories are happening in China and people online and offline are joining the MY World survey to tell the United Nation what it is they truly care about.
The World Organization of the Scouts Movement (WOSM) has been a strong partner of the MY World global vote movement since its launch.
Given the reach of the 40 million active Scouts, their unique contact with youth and communities, and their mission – to educate young people, and empower them to develop to their full potential and contribute to a better world — WOSM is perfectly positioned to collect the voice and votes of young people and communities.
In show of solidarity Secretary General, Scott Teare officially announced his support of the MY World initiative by posting a blog on WOSM’s website. Linking it to the Scout’s commitment to making an impact on achieving the MDGs, he further encouraged the Scouts to get involved:
We should continue to have a strong presence and voice in our communities today and in deciding for our tomorrow. I call upon everyone to take 30 seconds to vote on My World and have a say in what our future development goals should be.
To further show support of the partnership, WOSM combined the blue UN and purple Scout branding and hosted it on their social media outlets: facebook & twitter.
As of 7 May, Scouts from around the world have contributed in thousands (both offline and online), several of whom have joined hands with the local UN offices and other partners so their actual total number of respondents is difficult to calculate. However, it is significant to note that the Boy Scouts of the Philippines alone have contributed 9786 votes, the majority of which are boys 15 and under. These numbers are expected to increase following the Global Vote Day on 8 May and as the initiative continues. The Organization recently created its own unique partner ID, which you can follow here: http://data.myworld2015.org/?partner=scouts.
In his speech during the Interactive Dialogue: “Elements for a Monitoring and Accountability Framework for the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon commended member states for their commitment to determining the goals and means of financing the next sustainable development agenda. However, he cautioned them on the need for results based goals which are accessible to policy makers and the public. To do so, he noted the United Nations must agree on a robust, universal accountability framework which includes the voice of the people:
…over the past few years, we have heard the voices of our global conversation and more than 2 million people through the My World survey. It is worth noting that there are more than a million votes for honest and responsive government. We must take the vision of the world’s people into account. We must recognize the strength of each of our many partners.
He echoed his commitment to integrating the UN’s analytical and operational work, and of integrating the UN with existing regional and national accountability frameworks.
This event coincided with MY World votes for “An honest and responsive government” reaching over 1 million. In the qualitative data collected on The World We Want 2015 it is easy to see linkages between the people’s voices and accountability and governance issues.
The General Assembly Thematic Debate on Ensuring Stable and Peaceful Societies took place 24-25 of April at the United Nations in New York. In his opening remarks, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon noted that the UN is built upon three pillars: “peace, development and human rights.” He followed by highlighting that the post-2015 development agenda must consider how to promote stable and peaceful societies, as these three pillars are inherently linked.
To highlight this importance further, the Secretary General referenced the MY World Survey as the voice of people around the world asking for this issue to be addressed:
The UN My World survey on the post-2015 development agenda showed that protection against crime and violence ranks high among all population groups in all regions. Let us therefore work together to develop a post-2015 development agenda that will address the underlying causes of violence and conflict wherever they occur. Let us use sustainable development and human rights to provide the foundations for lasting peace. And let us build effective and trustworthy institutions, promote the rule of law and pay closer, earlier attention to human rights abuses.
“Protection against crime and violence” ranks sixth in the MY World Survey amongst the 1,855,839 voters globally thus far. These results are the same irrespective of age, gender, or education level, as it is either the sixth or seventh priority for all groups.
Voters in the Americas placed slightly higher priority on this issue, ranking it fourth. Those in Europe ranked it fifth, and those in Africa, Asia and Oceania it seventh.