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.
Media is playing a major role in challenging the narrative about progress in the developing countries and shining the spotlight to the people who are often left out of the conversation. Is the UN is providing the tools, information and resources available to make sure journalists can succeed in their missions? Are media professionals aware that these tools exist?
For the 10th year, around 2,0000 journalists, media professionals, communications experts, politicians and civil society representatives from 130 countries gathered for the Global Media Forum in Bonn. This year the forum, focused on identity and diversity, hosted key international speakers such as the entrepreneur and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, to discuss the innovations of the digital world, artificial intelligence and journalism, the threat to values that populism represents, the role of the media, as well as international politics, human rights and innovative journalism concepts.
The UN SDG Action Campaign invited participants to experiment with the existing tools for communicating the SDGs and to participate in the creation of new ones: A hands-on session focused on engaging ways to shift the spotlight to those left further behind and mobilise everyone to take action for the SDGs.
A hands-on session focused on engaging ways to shift the spotlight to those left further behind and mobilise everyone to take action for the SDGs. The participants discovered the MY World 2030 survey, the stories behind the data, youth-led solutions and the power of a single story from the Building Bridges Foundation. How do we engage those millions left further behind in the conversation? How do we make people shift from observers to doers?
In our interactive SDG Space the participants had the opportunity to fully immerse in refugee realities, the life of an Ebola survivor or the struggle of a mother after losing a son to a bombing in the Gaza strip. The MY World 2030 Survey generated great interest and expectation and a number of representatives participated in the survey.
Congratulations to all participants and organisers for bringing together great ideas, new approaches and generate active discussions around key issues, we are sure will ignite positive actions in the near future.
In the summer of 2016, Influx Trust approached the UN SDG Action Campaign with a simple yet ambitious idea: what if we could host simultaneous hackathons around the world, bringing together the best in social enterprise to crowdsource solutions for the SDGs?
From 16-17 May, the #connect2effect project held its concluding activities, bringing together winners from Bali, Chandighar, and London with diplomats UN colleagues, innovators, and many other stakeholders at the United Nations.
“Around the world, people who experience the daily challenges that the SDGs were created to solve also hold the solutions. Initiatives like #connect2effect ignite the creative spirit and foster collaboration, serving as the spark to convert ideas into actions. We remain committed to projects which support community led action for the SDGs.” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action campaign
In March, 750 social innovators completed a 48 hour hackathon, organized simultaneously in 9 cities around the world. These winning teams were coached to hone their ideas, which were presented on a new crowdfunding site, https://crowdfunding.connect2effect.com/. This site will promote the ideas emerging from the hackathon and any other creative projects supporting the SDGs in the future.
“#Connect2Effect is testament to the power of collaboration possible between the UN and social entrepreneurs in addressing the SDGs together. We’re delighted that this joint effort by the UN SDG Action Campaign, Influx Trust have paved the way for optimising worldwide impact on the SDGs” said Max Kalis, CEO & Founder of Influx Trust.
The results this inaugural year were astounding:
9 hackathons organized simultaneously in Bali, Bahrain, Chandigarh, Geneva, Lagos, Lisbon, London, NY and Rio
750 social entrepreneurs, tech experts, UN experts and mentors participated
90 pitches, with 9 regional winners and 3 global winners
Hundreds of thousands of social media views
During their visit to New York City, the winners presented their ideas numerous times at the United Nations Headquarters. The audiences of representatives from the United Nations, including the Office President of the General Assembly, UNDP, UN Women, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, witnessed the progress made, learned about the hacking process, and discussed the details of the ideas of the winners.
Following the pitching roundtable, the winners were invited to an intimate meet and greet with H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, the President of the UN General Assembly, who received them in the General Assembly Hall itself. The President mused about the ideas, congratulating the teams on identifying some interesting local problems, and coming up with very innovative solutions.
“The world is changing rapidly. We need to keep up with this change yet conserve our cultural values by incorporating more sustainable practices.” H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly
The President was impressed by the quality of all winning projects. He identified with Niskala’s cultural waste program, having attended Balinese traditional ceremonies many times as a Fijian. He applauded Paperless’ commitment to working with those most in danger of being left behind in India through their magnetic braille tablet, and he was intrigued by eQuality’s way of empowering consumers with the knowledge to make more ethical decisions.
The meet and greet concluded with a photo opportunity on the dais of the GA, with the President surrounded by the winners and organizers.
The final pitch was given by all teams during A View From the Cloud, organized by World Council of Peoples for the United Nations and the Streaming Museum. This event united artist, scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and civil society in a series of thoughtful discussions on how art and technology can influence and change our world.
“The experience of coming to New York and sharing their initiatives with UN representatives has been invaluable to this year’s winners of Connect2Effect. It has offered opportunities to improve not just the prospects for their work but has also provided powerful inspiration for these social entrepreneurs personally,” concluded Kalis.
With the arrival of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the world’s eyes are focused on Rio de Janeiro, the “marvelous city.” Known for its good vibes, warmth and joy, Rio de Janeiro is home to many local characters with inspiring stories to tell, whether in line at the bank, on the road or at happy-hour after work.
To honor the people of Rio in the lead up to the Olympics, Roberta Thomaz, member of the RIO+ Centre team set off for the streets of Rio to capture the peoples’ energy, creativity and hope in their attempt to live more sustainably. The RIO+ World Centre for Sustainable Development, a legacy of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), was set up to keep the commitment to sustainable development alive in both action and ideas. A partnership between the Government of Brasil and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) based in downtown Rio, every day they inspire and inform policies and practices that lead to greater social, environmental and economic justice in an attempt to transform the urban daily life, artistic and social of Rio’s population.
Riikka Suhonen, from Finland, has served as international UN Volunteer in Bhutan, advocating for the recognition of volunteerism as a vital component of the Post-2015 development agenda and its implementation mechanisms. As part of her assignment, Riikka organized an advocacy campaign on youth volunteerism for Post-2015 with support from UNDP Bhutan and the Bhutan UN Resident Coordinator’s Unit. From May to June 2014, the campaign raised awareness on the UN and the Post-2015 process among young Bhutanese and promoted youth volunteerism for development in Bhutan.
“MY World proved to be a good way to introduce the theme of Post-2015 to young Bhutanese and to connect it with volunteerism as a way to become active citizens”, says Riikka. “In ten days, our two-member team visited three secondary schools, three colleges and one vocational institute covering five districts in Central and Eastern Bhutan”, she adds. “Students, particularly those involved in volunteering clubs such as scouting, environmental, or social service clubs, were invited to join our interactive workshops. The Royal University of Bhutan and a local NGO, the Tarayana Foundation, helped to connect with teachers in these different schools and institutes”.
After filling out the ballot, participants were asked to select their top priority –“good education”, for the majority – and think about how they as volunteers could help address that priority. “Student volunteers came up with very diverse ways to address the development priorities they had identified, such as helping elderly or children with less financial means, giving free tuition classes, planting trees and disposing waste properly, educating people, promoting organic farming, and solving problems by taking collective action together. For college students, we also explained how the MY World survey works and encouraged them to gather more votes from their community”, Riikka explains.
Wangdi Phuntsho, 22, was one of the active volunteers who coordinated the collection of MY World votes in his college, the Institute for Language and Cultural Studies in Taktse. After the post-2015 workshop in the college, seven student volunteers reached out to different people in the village – friends, neighbours, monks and shopkeepers – to involve them in this global discussion on people’s development priorities.
Wangdi believes that MY World is a good way to raise awareness on the work of the United Nations and on the sustainable development goals, although it requires special efforts to be communicated, for example, to illiterate people.
“I feel that the MY World survey gives an opportunity to people to share their views on development challenges and potential solutions. People expressed their gratitude for getting the chance to have their say through such an important survey. Also, decision-makers can better understand the real scenario at the grassroots level and plan accordingly”, Wangdi explains.
After this experience, Wangdi was even more motivated to volunteer. “MY World creates the space for youth volunteers to realize their roles in a rapidly changing world. We got to understand and feel the pain of local people as we interacted with them. It really inspired us to volunteer and help finding solutions for the difficulties faced by our community”, he notes.
The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) took place this month from 1 – 4 September, in Apui, Samoa. The overarching theme of the conference was ‘The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships’. Six multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues were held in parallel to the plenary meetings. The overall objective of the conference was to assess progress to date, seek renewed political commitment for action, identify new emerging challenges and opportunities for the sustainable development of SIDS, and identify priorities for the sustainable development of SIDS to be considered in the elaboration of the post-2015 UN development agenda. In this context, MY World has published a report with a focus on data from SIDS, including MY World survey data and regional consultation data sets reposited on the World We Want website: worldwewant2015.org/reports
Please feel free to read our report by following this link.
The 65th UN Department of Public Information (DPI) NGO Conference convened thousands of representatives from 1,300 NGO organizations around the theme “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda”. During the Roundtable Discussion on Climate Justice in Practice, Daniel Thomas of the Secretariat General’s Climate Change Support Team announced the MY Green World Survey on behalf of UNMC. Dan announced that the launch of the voting platform would take place during the Climate Summit with support from the Secretariat General’s Climate Support Team, D
Throughout the meeting, Dan showcased the importance of voices from civil society mobilization leading up to the Climate summit and on the road to COP 21 in Paris, 2015. The Permanent Representative of Palau, Dr. Caleb Otto, sat beside Dan Thomas. The impact of climate change on vulnerable communities was echoed through Dan’s presentation.
Many thanks to the following individuals for their assistance in developing and translating the toolkits and associated graphics: Natalie Gardner, Christina Samson, Alice Chen, Kristin Gutekunst, Emmanuel Fontalvo, Divine Ntiokam, Nya DJjowa Audrey, Ngnepi Sandra, Papa Tiecoro Dembele, YouThink