A Decade of Action for Ending Poverty, Gender Equality and Climate Ambition

With only ten years to go, acceleration is needed to ensure we meet the 2030 deadline and achieve the achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are still far from the world we want. This is why the UN Secretary-General is calling on national and local governments, civil society organizations, youth groups, parliamentarians, the media, private sector and everyone with the aim of boosting a global coalition making the SDGs a reality.

2020 needs to usher in a decade of ambitious actions for sustainable development. The Decade of Action, launched today, calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges — from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality, whilst tackling the finance gaps. The goal is also to drive sustainable ideas and innovation, financial investments and technology while making space in our communities and cities for young people to lead and ensure that no-one is left behind.

“We will mobilize everyone, everywhere to take action — individually and collectively, locally and globally. Everybody has a contribution to make. It is our commitment to inspire others and start a global butterfly effect of SDG action for people and for the planet” says Marina Ponti, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

In light of this, the 2020 edition of the SDG Global Festival of Action in Bonn (1–3 April 2020) will be a milestone to broaden and deepen the partners of the Decade of Action, with a focus on local and innovative solutions that can lead to transformative change and how creativity can shift societies. With high level engagement from the UN, national and local governments, civil society, youth groups, private sector and artists, the 2020 edition will galvanize new partnerships and inspire new areas of collaboration to make the Decade of Action a success. The Festival will also dedicate deep dive sessions to the Decade of Action core priorities: Climate Ambition, Gender Equality and Fighting Inequalities.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development holds great promise for most people in the world today and represents possibly the only way forward for future generations. Its implementation also requires a monumental shift which can start from each of us now.

Why joining the #SDGActionFest is your best plan for 2020

The SDG Global Festival of Action is back in Bonn, Germany (1-3 April) and calling all SDG changemakers to become part of the program for 2020! Hosting sessions, workshops, organize partner meetings, strategic sit-downs or share expertise in panels and talks. The 4th edition of the Festival will be a milestone to raise the visibility and impact of the accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), creating the platform for changemakers to share ideas, strengthen partnerships across all sectors and lead transformative change.

2020will kick start the Decade of Action announced by the UN Secretary-General during the United Nations General Assembly in September, and also marks the UN75 Anniversary. For this super year of activism, more than 2,000 leaders and cutting edge thinkers from all sectors, from across the world, will unite at the SDG Global Festival of Action to transform local action into global impact For People and For Planet.

Do you or your organization…

👉 Excel in driving engagement for the SDGs?

👉Lead transformative change in your industry to tackle climate change or inequalities?

👉Aim to develop new partnerships to optimize your efforts for the SDGs?

Apply to help shape the most transformative and inclusive festival for the SDGs, or register to participate in this unique experience.

Don’t miss the chance to be there, in the company of leading SDG changemakers! Join us in 2020 to together find new ways to inspire individuals and organizations to take action For People and For Planet, while celebrating the diversity of incredible SDD action already taking place across the world.

Why should you be part of the next #SDGActionFest?

The SDG Global Festival of Action is designed by, and for the SDG Community – including anyone who transforms local action into global impact to advance the SDGs. Featuring a range of session, workshop and meeting formats, the festival provides a unique experience for each participant.

“The mobilization is done through knowledge, through understanding of this very complex Agenda, and through empowerment of everybody“

-Christina Gallach, High Commissioner for the Agenda 2030 Government Spain

Exchange your knowledge and perspectives with other experts, discover new ways to inspire SDG Action by building meaningful connections, and experience transformation taking place For People and For Planet.

We can’t continue business as usual if we want to make real progress towards the achievement of Agenda 2030! Let’s combine our expertise, find new partners from different disciplines and amplify joint actions for the SDGs.

Here are the top 5 reasons why YOU need to join the SDG Global Festival of Action.

1. Build Your Knowledge & Ideate New Solutions

How is your company excelling in combating climate change? Are you changing the narrative around Gender Inequalities? Is your organization’s mission to engage individuals in making clean water and energy accessible and affordable for all?

In the plenary hall speakers from all sectors share their expertise in panels on a wide range of different topics. Hear key lessons from experts, deepen your knowledge on policies related to the SDGs, and learn more about revolutionary ideas and actions changing the landscape of sustainable development

“Hold onto the vision, the vision that you have for communities, the vision that you have for the planet, and let’s get it done”

Eddie Ndopu, SDG Advocate

Are yo looking for deep dives and hands-on experiences to enhance your skills to advance the SDGs? In “how-to” sessions and a track if session dedicated to inspiring a new normal you can optimize your skills while meeting new people and strengthening partnerships with individuals and organizations who focus on the acceleration of the same goal — action on the SDGs won’t be completed by one institution or sector alone.

2. Discover & Share

The #SDGActionFest 2020 will boost creative thinking as you get the chance to meet, listen and present your ideas to like-minded people and experts of all industries, sectors and to a global audience, live-streamed on UN TV.

Join us at this dynamic to stage to learn more about the influencer behind the insights, or tell your own 10-min story to your peers, potential partner and our global audience. Apply and make the stage yours!

The 2020 edition will also provide the opportunity for you to boost your engagement at the dedicated Media Zone and, why not deliver your own pop-up presentation at one of the demo spaces?

3. Meet & Connect

Become part of the global SDG community that unites at the SDG Global Festival of Action. Coming together and collaborating with other creatives, activists, government and business leaders expands collective and individual impact.

“Disruptive change does not happen in meetings, but these meetings we can use to be inspired to raise the ambition and to connect with others knowing that we are not alone. Let’s not forget that there is so much more we all need to do.”

Marina Ponti, Director of UN SDG Action Campaign

The Festival hosts plenty of networking opportunities, and a platform to host your own network for a closed door strategy sit-down. Individuals hold private strategy meetings. Individuals, institutions, international and local NGOs, creatives, media, businesses and local and national governments representatives can leverage existing alliances while you are all in town, and build new meaningful connections.

4. Immerse Yourself in Tech and Arts for the SDGs

The Festival is a space, and moment created for far more than talking, listening, and networking. It’s the convening place where the SDGs come to life with immersive live performances, experiential content creation, original film screenings and the latest emerging technologies taking SDG Action to the next level.

The Exhibition Zone is where you can explore hands-on experiences related to transforming local action into global impact. Featuring art showcases, live performances and demonstrations, installations, Virtual and Augmented Reality journeys, this dedicated space will provide a feast for the eyes, the ears, and the mind to delve into the Decade of Action!

To give you a taste of the VR and AR Zone at the Festival, experience immersive media from MY World 360° young content creators. Applications are open for the next MY World 360° selection that will be premiered at the Festival.

5. Celebrate with the SDG Community

This festival would not be a festival without celebration! After full days of sessions, experiences and media moments, connect with old and new festival friends for two dedicated evenings of social and cultural experiences. Harness the energy and passion of this incredible community with art, music, performances and where we celebrate what has brought us all together — a passion for achieving the SDGs.

We can’t wait to meet all the creative and innovative minds that we share our commitment to this agenda with, and experience the transformation taking place in situ at the SDG Global Festival of Action.

Join the community 1–3 April 2020 in Bonn, Germany, and let’s celebrate each other’s achievements and get energized for the next 10 years — a Decade of Action.

You have until 1st March to register!

For more information follow #SDGActionFest or visit 👉https://globalfestivalofaction.org/

UN opens applications for the SDG Action Zone at the UN General Assembly in September

Every September, the world looks to New York as global leaders, issue experts and a diverse range of stakeholders converge on the UN during the High-level week of the General Assembly. Seizing the momentum for engagement to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG Action Zone is gearing up to ensure the innovative and diverse work on the SDGs is heard from individuals and organizations around the world.

The SDG Action Zone is a space built inside the United Nations grounds during General Assembly to promote and accelerate transformative SDG action in innovative ways. Varied events and exhibits, programmed throughout the High-level week from 23 to 27 September, will focus on the five themes of the UN General Assembly: Sustainable Development Goals, climate action, universal health coverage, development financing, and small island states.

Until the 9th of August, partners and individuals from all sectors are invited to submit proposals to showcase new ideas, achievements and initiatives that connect and add value to the High-level events happening during UN General Assembly week, through the following ways of engagement: 

  • Host an Event – Expert Panel Discussions, Case Study Snapshots, Evening Receptions and other interactive sessions on the themes of UNGA. 
  • Deliver a Lightning-talk – Humane, disruptive and inspiring stories of SDG action.
  • Enter the SDG Action Zone’s Speaker Roster – Individuals are invited to register their interest to be invited to speak, and add their perspective and expertise. 
  • Host an Exhibit – Innovations, games and immersive experiences that increase knowledge, empathy, and action for positive change in the exhibition zone. 

Successful applications will be selected on the basis of the dynamism and innovation of the content and the ability to add value to the UN General Assembly debates, with a strong focus on diversity, youth engagement, and Global South perspectives. Applications must be submitted by 9 August to be considered. 


For further information on the application process and criteria: www.sdgaction.zone

Applications for SDG Action Zone: application form 

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #SDGActionZone

For media inquiries, please contact: info@sdgaction.zone 

Inequalities Virtual Reality Film selection at European Development Days 2019

Addressing inequalities: Building a world which leaves no one behind

A selection of 13 Virtual Reality films from UN Agencies and the MY World 360º young media creators showcasing the challenges of inequality and the importance of leaving no one behind will be screened at the European Development  Days. The films take place around the world – in the Philippines, Albania, South Africa, Nepal, Iraq, Malawi, Nigeria, Lao PDR, Germany, USA, Brazil and Mongolia.

See the virtual reality film selection:

Migration – Sophie’s Story (3:00) FAO

Watch: Youtube / Facebook

Sophie is 11 years old. She used to live on a farm with her parents and always knew that when she grew up she wanted to be a farmer too. But life was not always easy on the farm and it became ever so hard to grow the food they needed. Harsher weather conditions meant that Sophie and her parents had no other choice but to leave their home and their farm behind. When they had lost everything they had to migrate to the city in search of a better future. However, they didn’t expect that life could be harder in the city… Their story is just one of the millions of stories of rural people around the world that are forced to migrate to escape hunger, poverty, natural disasters or conflict.

Abdul’s story (3:46min, Philippines) IOM / Watch

When ISIL affiliated fighters clashed with government forces in May 2017, 98% of the city’s inhabitants fled and cannot return home due to its complete destruction. Abdul, a former tribal dance instructor, fled together with his brothers and adopted performers in the midst of sewing costumes. Living in an evacuation centre, he holds on to a piece of traditional fabric that he inherited from his grandparents to remind him of the livelihood and dreams he and his brothers and adopted performers lost.

I Am Fatmira (07:00, Albania) UNDP / Watch

Roma activist Fatmira Dajlani married young at 14, dropped out of school and had two children before the age of 18. In many ways, Fatmira’s life story reflects common issues that Roma face, like lack of education, lack of employment, discrimination, early marriage and migration. But she also defies stereotypes. She left her marriage so she could have the freedom to be an activist, went back to finish school, and started an advocacy organization, Jemi dhe ne (We are Here Too) for her community. Fatmira’s story reflects the diversity of the larger Roma community, and the power of the individual to improve it.

360HIV (3:46min, South Africa), UN AIDS / Watch

According to the The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), roughly one quarter of people living with HIV are completely unaware of their status. That’s a pretty terrifying number when you consider there’s an estimated 37 million people carrying the virus worldwide. South Africa alone currently has 7.2 million people living with HIV — the highest amount in the world. Produced by South African production company Makhulu Media with support from Google, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, and the Children’s Radio Foundation, the live-action series follows a young woman as she travels from her home to a health clinic on a mission to determine her HIV status.

Family planning in remote areas (6:20, Nepal) UNFPA / Watch

In remote areas of Nepal, women have little say in family planning, and often give birth to upwards of 8 children. With the help of the United Nations agency for reproductive health and rights (UNFPA), one woman is making choices about her future and family

The call center – Lives on the line in Northern Iraq (2:38, Iraq) UNOPS / Watch

When the phone rings, the reality of mass displacement suddenly becomes heartbreakingly concrete. Children call to find their parents, mothers call to find medicine for their child, and families call looking for a place to sleep. Through a free helpline, Iraq’s Internally Displaced Persons Information Centre can provide life-saving information to the people who need it most. This project is funded by the European Union.

Chief Theresa Kachindamoto – Courage to Question Inequality (6:30 Malawi) UN Women / Watch

Worldwide, more than 700 million girls alive today were married before their eighteenth birthday (UNICEF). Child marriage has devastating impacts on the realization of the rights of the child, from her right to an adequate education, to her right to sexual and reproductive health. Chief Theresa Kachindamoto has annulled 3,500 child marriages in the central region of Malawi and has helped girls to complete their education, often by subsidizing their schooling. Working with UN Women, the government, civil society and traditional leaders, Chief Kachindamoto contributed to the February 2017 adoption of a constitutional amendment raising the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 years. These achievements are against all odds—as the first woman leader in her village and in a village where child marriage is deeply embedded in cultural practice, Chief Kachindamoto’s fight for cultural change has required determination, leadership and persistence.

Big Picture (8:45, Nigeria) WFP

More data is being collected and shared by humanitarian actors and partners than at any other time. In Nigeria today, data helps respond to a food security crisis affecting millions of households. The challenge is to get an accurate Big Picture: making sure data is accessible, shared and analyzed to inform life saving decisions.

The Role of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Reducing Malnutrition in Lao PDR (3:57, Laos) World Bank / Watch

Water, sanitation, and hygiene plays a key role in reducing malnutrition. In Lao PDR, many communities, especially those in poor or rural areas, do not yet have improved access to water supply and sanitation. Join us on a virtual journey to Huaichai village, where families are focusing on overcoming these issues in pursuit of a better life.


Gender Equality (3:48, Germany) UN SDG Action Campaign – MY World 360° / Watch

A dramatic enactment of gender discrimination, portrayed through the story of a young girl pursuing her dreams despite the discouragement of those around her, created by students at Berufliches Gymnasium Wirtschaft, Schulzentrum Wirtschaft & Makemedia Studios, Bremen, Germany

Youth Producers: Sukhmen G. (16), Alexandra D. (17), Sevginur K. (16), Alejna A. (17) Educator: Dr. Ute Pieper

Complex City (10:06, USA) UN SDG Action Campaign – MY World 360° / Watch

Complex City tells the story of the historical neighbourhood of Fifth Ward and its community. Crime, poverty and abandoned houses are some of the concerns that this project showcases. Created by youth producers from Texas, USA, the film gets the viewer to understand the problems and social issues of the people living in the neighbourhood. What are the actions that the community takes towards poverty?

Youth Producers: Byron A. (16), Daylen H. (13), Deandre D. (15), Roderick J. (14), Lamar E. (15), Matthew T. (16), Lee R. (16), James W. (12), Jason M. (14), Lynwood O. (15), Tant D. (15) Educator: Sharon Ferranti

Lollapallango (Portuguese 5:48, Brazil) UN SDG Action Campaign – MY World 360° / Watch

A short documentary about Lollapallango, a culture, sports, and technology event hosted for children living in Santo Amaro, a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro created by students at Colégio Estadual Souza Aguiar – CESA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Youth Producers: Beatriz P. (18), Bruna A. (17), Ana V. (17), Gean G. (18) Educator: Jussara Olinev

Pre-school for Nomads (6:03, Mongolia) UNICEF / Watch

The video depicts how access to education can be provided to children in rural areas, more specifically to those from nomadic communities in Mongolia.

Addressing inequalities and Leaving No One Behind at the European Development Days

Join the UN SDG Action Campaign at the European Development Days in Brussels on 18-19 June, 2019! Organized by the European Commission, the European Development Days (EDD) is Europe’s leading forum on development since 2006. The development community comes together every year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. (See EDD highlights from 2018, 2017 & 2016)

The United Nations stand is a convening space dedicated to the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs. It is organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign, the UN in Brussels (24 UN entities), UNECE, and the World Bank.

The UN stand will focus on the EDD‘s theme: Addressing inequalities: Building a world which leaves no one behind and showcase the interlinkages between SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities, and the other Goals.

The UN SDG Hub will leverage data storytelling and invite visitors to share their SDG commitments via the #IamSDGs butterfly wings augmented reality installation and the inequalities graffiti wall, share their ideas or deep dive in meaningful discussion at the SDG studio, and understand what inequality means for different communities via 360 films created by students in all parts of the world.


#IamSDGs Augmented Reality and the digital flying wall

A single action, no matter how small, can drive a positive wave of change in other parts of the world.! #IamSDGs is a campaign encouraging a wave of global action. Come and make your specific commitment to accelerate your chosen Goals, starting a global butterfly effect.

SDG Studio

A space to hear from young leaders and activists as well as high-level officials from the United Nations, the European Commission, national governments and a wide range of other institutions represented at the EDDs! This year, the SDG Studio will focus on SDG 10 — Reduced Inequalities and what it takes to ensure we leave no-one behind and bring the Goals home.

Inequalities Graffiti Wall

Share your voice on how to reduce inequalities by writing/drawing onto the inequalities graffiti wall!

Virtual Reality

A selection of 11 Virtual Reality films from UN Agencies and the MY World 360º young media creators showcasing the challenges of inequality and the importance of leaving no one behind will be screened. The films take place around the world — in the Philippines, Albania, South Africa, Nepal, Iraq, Malawi, Nigeria, Lao PDR, Germany, USA, Brazil and Mongolia.

Inequalities Backdrop

Learn about the interlinkages between SDG 10 — Reduced inequalities and the rest of the Goals at the Inequalities infographics wall. These are a stark reminder of the wide range of inequalities faced by people and communities around the world.

Inspiring SDG initiatives in Bangkok

Katina Grigoraskos, MY World ASEAN Advocate in Thailand has gathered stories of humans that are making the SDGs a reality in their local communities. Meet 5 initiatives that are acting to achieve goals related to sustainable cities, consumption and climate action!

MyWaste project is a school recycling program creating by Soravit Thummawatwimon, Maylin Wongjarupun, and Pantach Anantapong in Bankok, Thailand. The MyWaste project aims to improve responsible consumption and production, sustainable cities and communities.

With their project, they give students an incentive to recycle through an easy-to-use reward system where students can collect points for every time they bring in waste to recycle, which can then be exchanged for rewards. They are encouraging students to be responsible and conscious in their consumption through various means trying to build a sustainable school community.

“Our school had already established a recycling program where students bring waste to recycle every Friday. However, the amount of trash brought in by students was in decline throughout the years, especially by middle and high school students, due to lack of regulation and motivation by the school”

These three students are now able to raise more awareness in students and increase the amount of waste recycled at their school. In the near future, they would like to maintain and expand MyWaste further through, making their school 100% free of plastic water bottles.

By creating a sustainable community, they are not only creating a community where everyone has a good quality of life or a safe and secure community, but also an environmentally friendly community. They also put threatening problems we face as top priorities as well such as urban population growth, unemployment, public health, criminal activities, and pollutions.

With the implementation of MyWaste, Soravit, Maylin and Pantach hope to improve other SDGs along the way such as climate action, life below water and life on land.

Better Moon Cafe

Better Moon is a little space located in a local area of On Nut, Bangkok. This cafe aims to constantly develop and serve healthy food for the locals. The Better Moon team focuses on environmental issues, especially the pressing issue of plastic waste in Thailand.

Their creators cooperate with Refill Station, Thailand’s first bulk storefounded at Better Moon. Customers can come to the cafe and learn about low-waste lifestyle tips such as stainless straws, and unique rooms with reused furniture, workshops, activities, and more.

“We go to a lot of camps and do a lot of activities on environmental issues and when we go back to our daily lives, we see that nothing changes. In Thailand, there is not much infrastructure to support change. We made this cafe to support this kind of lifestyle for people”, Pear, Manager at Better Moon and Refill Station

Better Moon Cafe and Refill Station try to reduce as much plastic as we can for the operation and facilitation of customers to get their own utensils and food outside: “We use compostable packaging for delivery and a design that is compatible for the main room. Our partners also have to return glass bottles and use only eco-friendly packaging”, says Pear.

“We want to help change people’s minds, make them comfortable to be here, in the environment here. It’s based on a trust system and the customers can serve themselves”

The most important SDGs for the Better Moon’s team are to have a responsible production and consumption, sustainable cities and communities, good health, life on land and underwater and climate action.

Youths for SDGs

Prima Pupornchai is the founder of Youths for SDGs when she realised that involving youths to learn about and work towards the SDGs is an important step in building a strong foundation for sustainable growth and development.

Youths for SDGs is an academic event that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and strives to be a part of this universal call to action. The event tries to inspire students to learn more about the SDGs and to create change in their communities.

Prima Pupornchai, Founder of Youths for SDGs

“I initiated an event empowering international high school students across Thailand to learn more about the SDGs and what they can do to to help achieve them, called Youths for SDGs”, Prima Pupornchai

The first event of Youths for SDGs took place on 3–4 November 2018, at Wells International School in Bangkok, Thailand, forming a network of 150 students, who shared the same passion for the SDGs. The event raised awareness about global issues, developed partnership across youth from different schools, and encouraged youth to be change makers.

In the event, students exercised their creativity in coming up with solutions to real-world issues that Thailand is currently facing. The activities included were breakout discussion sessions, SDG activity games, and a case challenge to solve. The event successfully brought together youth to learn and work together towards the SDGs.

Prima would like to contribute to this change providing quality education and creating partnership toward the global goals.

Greenhawks club

Since young, Ruby Song was tough and raised in the belief that climate change and global warming were not a big issue. However, everything changed when she joined an environmental club called Greenhawks.

Ruby Song joined an environmental club name Greenhawks not only to
minimize my ecological footprint but also to raise awareness of environmental issues. After five years, she became a leader of this amazing club and we have expanded since then.

Ruby Song, winner of the EARCOS Global
Citizenship Award

“I have encountered that climate change is a big issue that has to be dealt in an alarming point, and realised I was harming the Earth”

Greenhawks deals with all kinds of environmental problems such as recycling, gardening and even food waste. To raise a concern regards excessive consumption of plastics and papers in our society, they have participated in big events such as Trash HeroPaper Ranger, collaborated with Wells Thonglor and Wells primary school to educate future youths about 3Rs: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle! They have also collaborated with other groups of students acting toward reducing the use and disposal of single-use plastics.

School of Global Studies at Thammasat University

Chris Oestereich is a lecturer at the School of Global Studies at Thammasat University. Chris teaches courses related to social innovation, sustainability, and social enterprise.

He is also the co-founder of the Circular Design Lab, an organization running by volunteers that are developing a design framework that combines design processes with systems thinking in aiming to teach communities to develop solutions to the challenges they face.

On top of that, Chris is an example of a sustainable person: “I stopped driving over eight years ago. I still ride in cars but I use public transit, including the BTS, MRT, Airport Link, buses, and vans as much as possible. I have also made significant changes to my diet trying to be a lot more careful with what I buy, in looking to minimize food waste”

He’s also the publisher of the Wicked Problems Collaborative, a press that focuses on humanity’s biggest social and environmental challenge, and a zero-waste practitioner who helps organizations reduce their footprint as they evolve towards the circular economy.

By Katina Grigoraskos, MY World ASEAN Advocate in Thailand. Katina joined the ASEAN MY World 2030 Advocates Programme in November 2018. A native New Yorker, Katina is the the CAS/Events Coordinator and IB Theory of Knowledge Teacher teacher at Wells International School in Bangkok, Thailand.

Also published on Medium.

The biggest #SDGGlobaFest ever! Festival-goers commit to concrete action for the SDGs

“We cannot change where we came from but we can change where we’re going”
MARINA PONTI, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign

Looking beyond the promises of Agenda 2030, the third edition of the SDG Global Festival​ of Action ​saw more than 1,700 participants from over 150 countries come together to make the impossible possible and create a step-change in behaviour to catalyse collective action around the Goals.
THANK YOU for participating in the
SDG Global Festival of Action!

Were you at the Festival? We want to hear from you!

The Festival in numbers

Over 60 interactive sessions featured, focussing on 7 core thematic areas: Connections, Campaigning, Mobilization, Inclusion, Visualisation, Storytelling and the Creatives

Over 250 speakers

Over 1,700 participants in attendance – 60% of whom were female!

Over 145 countries represented

Over 30 innovations and exhibitions showcased, 20+ Film screenings and VR /AR experiences, 30+ SDG Studio Talks, 10+ Art and Musical Performances

4 Million people reached through social media channels and over 37M impressions generated over the days of the Festival

8 SDG Action Awards Winners, 21 SDG Action Awards Finalists, 4 Honourable mentions and 2,000 applications

Highlights of the Festival

“Governments can use the SDGs as a framework for political action” in words of Cristina Gallach, High Commissioner for Agenda 2030 for the Government of Spain. On the local level, the City of Milan made a commitment to prepare their first Voluntary Local Review taking into account citizens’ feedback. 

Augmented Reality, 360º media, and digital storytelling were experienced across the Festival. “We are on the brink of another moment, a climate moment. This is not a future projection – it is happening right now,” mobile journalist Yusuf Omar showed us how quick and impactful creative content can be: watch video

Climate was front and center, including discussions on deforestation, extreme weather, climate challenges and solutions. “Humans are like rivers: they get bigger and stronger when they get together” – Estevao Ciavatta, called for more collective action.  

“We are not just the beneficiaries of this Agenda, we are the leaders of this Agenda”

Eddie Ndopu, award winning, internationally acclaimed activist and humanitarian, UN Secretary-General Sustainable Development Goals Advocate



Best Festival reads

SDGs engagement reaches new heights at the largest ever Global Festival of Action

Meet the 8 Winners of the UN SDG Action Awards 2019!

How can we, together, #Act4SDGs? 10 key messages from the Opening Plenary

Read all the Festival stories and see the photo gallery!

Watch all videos of the Festival

Primavera Sound teams up with the UN SDG Action Campaign: 17 Goals for a better world and a better festival

Primavera Sound Festival

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015 by world leaders at a historic UN Summit as a plan of action for governments, the private sector and civil society to work together to eradicate poverty and inequalities, tackle climate change and ensure prosperity for all whilst protecting the planet.

The alliance between Primavera Sounds and the UN SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Action Campaign will serve as a framework for the social actions that the music Festival has been carrying out for several years, and drive new initiatives of climate action, sustainability and equality that will offer participants a more sustainable and meaningful experience.

In the words of the UN SDG Action Campaign, “To make the 17 Goals a reality we need all of us to take action, and all of us to ensure that we are making progress in achieving each one of them. Primavera Sound is a perfect platform to connect with young and creative people, who want to get active for the causes they care for, and make music Festivals a meaningful experience for all”.

The Sustainable Development Goals universally belong to all of us, and from today are officially adopted also by Primavera Sound. The 17 Goals include measures to promote gender equality, the promotion of responsible consumption and production, and the eradication of social and economic inequalities for all while protecting the planet and tackling climate change. The actions that will be implemented at this year Festival act on, amu all of these objectives.

  • Change single-use plastic cups for reusable polypropylene cups: An initiative that not only respects the environment but also makes a gesture to the most faithful festival fans: with 19 different models, one for every year and portraying the several Sustainable Development Goals, each one recalls the festival’s history line up by line up.
  • Introduce measures and actions designed to avoid, sexual harassment and discrimination and ensure women and girls safety.
  • Participate in the creation of the first music fund for children
  • Offer a plastic bottle recycling bank, bicycle parks, sustainable catering and donation of surplus food to avoid food waste.
  • Facilitate access to people with disabilities

Sustainable Development Goals engagement reaches new heights at largest ever SDG Global Festival of Action

Activists, development experts, changemakers and creatives come together in Bonn, Germany, to catalyze action on the SDGs, test and accelerate new ideas, while deepening the coalition for SDG Action


The global community gathered at the SDG Global Festival of Action in Bonn, Germany, to reiterate its commitment to accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals. Organized by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, the Festival stressed the need for advocacy, citizen engagement, behaviour change and political will to drive the action required to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality.

Held from 2–4 May, this year’s Festival brings together over 1,500 participants from over 150 countries, ranging from activists to high-level representatives, offering a dynamic space where they can share different perspectives, test and accelerate new ideas, and build an environment where the SDGs become a priority for political engagement and democratic participation.

Maria Flachsbarth, German Parliamentary Secretary of State, spoke about the upcoming SDG Summit and how it should bring renewed political commitments to the implementation of Agenda 2030. “These are turbulent times. Around the world, multilateralism is coming under pressure.” Tania Freiin Von Uslar-Gleichen, Director for Human Rights at the German Federal Foreign Office agreed, urging everyone to walk the road of action together, and highlighting the need for international cooperation and ambitious multilateralism in the face of global challenges. Addressing an audience of creatives, activists, youth leaders and business and government experts, she said: “You are a force of nature for the 2030 Agenda.”

“We need partnerships, public and private, for-profit and nonprofit. We need governmental and nongovernmental organizations. You have to take the Agenda to your local constituents to nationalise the SDGs and transform them into their national development plans. Change requires urgency and determination”, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Assistant Secretary General and Director for the Regional Bureau for Europe in the UN Development Programme

“Change requires urgency and determination”

Speaking on a panel on multi-stakeholder insights, leaders will underline the need for advocacy and citizen engagement. Linking sustainability and citizen action, Juan Somavia, Former Director-General of the International Labour Organisation said that ‘it is totally impossible for the SDGs to become a reality without the people.” This was an overarching theme with the other panellists. “We are agents of change, and if we don’t believe that, nothing is going to happen in our lives’, said Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Mexican Congresswoman and President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. “This is the moment when we have a lot of questions, but at the same time, we have a very clear consensus: This development Agenda. This is a clear roadmap. A strategy that we must follow.” She continued by saying that this change starts with the government, working hand in hand, heart by heart, with the people they represent. “If we really want to change the world in 11 years, it seems impossible, but of course it’s possible, and that’s why we are here.”

Leadership was one of three keywords Cristina Gallach, High Commissioner for Agenda 2030 for the Government of Spain highlighted when discussing how the Spanish government has used the Agenda as a framework for political action. “Top leadership is essential,” but so is organization and mobilization. She suggested building alliances with entrepreneurs, youth organizations, academia, and artists — “civil society is key”.

Bringing in the youth perspective, activist and co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories, Yusuf Omar, compared the political protests that have swept the world these past few years to the climate demonstrations we are seeing today: “We are on the brink of another moment, a climate moment. This is not a future projection of what could happen — it is happening right now. He encouraged the participants to use their digital devices to tell their stories online.

Eddie Ndopu, Special Advisor for Impact and Corporate Sustainability to RTW Investments and soon to be appointed SDG Advocate, delivered a powerful message on defying the odds. Being diagnosed with spinal muscular dystrophy as a child, he outlived his expectations and became the first African with a degenerative disability to graduate from the University of Oxford. “I am in the process of putting the words disability and possibility in the same sentence.” Next year, he is planning to be the first disabled person to travel into space to deliver a televised address to the United Nations on greater SDG implementation. “Regardless of who you are, where you come from, how you identify, you matter, your humanity matters. And this is what it means to leave nobody behind, It means that we need to give way for the most vulnerable segments of society to move from the back of the line to the front so that they can lead”.

SDG Action Awards — Winners

The UN SDG Action Campaign runs the SDG Action Awards to celebrate individuals, civil society organizations, subnational governments, foundations, networks, and private sector leaders who are advancing the sustainable development movement in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way. Today, the winners of the 2019 UN SDG Action Awards were recognised at the SDG Global Festival of Action.

The innovative projects included: A crowdmap for sexual violence from Mumbai, India; an immersive multimedia form of storytelling following twelve families lives around the globe over the next ten years, a data-platform tracking over USD 10 million meant for social development impacting over two million rural lives across African communities; a project that uses creativity and participatory arts to tackle sexual and reproductive health and HIV in Malawi; a campaign showcasing the employment legacy of the London 2012 Paralympics; a nation-wide campaign that led to the repeal of the infamous rape-marriage law in Lebanon and finally a blockchain-based token rewards project mobilizing recycling entrepreneurs and tackling ocean plastic and global poverty in Haiti, Philippines and the USA.

The United Nations climate action campaign Act Now was recognised with an honourable mention for taking advantage of innovative artificial intelligence, creating a chatbot that helped connect people’s voices with the United Nations.

SDG Studio

In addition to the High-level plenary, the live-streamed SDG Studio provided a dynamic stage where Ted-style talks, interactive discussions and performances. Speakers included Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Also published on Medium

Meet the 8 Winners of the UN SDG Action Awards 2019

Campaigners, Storytellers, Mobilizers, Connectors, Campaigners, Visualizers, Includers, Creatives, these are the most transformative and impactful SDG initiatives of the year.

Every year, the UN SDG Action Awards, organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign, celebrate individuals, civil society organizations, local governments, and changemakers who are taking transformative action to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across a range of categories.

On May 2, we announced and awarded this year’s leading mobilizer, connector, campaigner, visualizer, includer, creative and storyteller, who together send a clear message to the world — that advocates are translating the Global Goals into local action, and are making an impact through innovation, dedication and collaboration.

Meet the #SDGAwards 2019 Winners

Visualizer category:
Safecity: Crowdmap for sexual violence — Mumbai, India

“There are millions of women and girls who experience sexual violence on a daily basis. They can’t be here but each one of you can make a difference.” — Elsa Marie D’Silva

Elsa Marie D’Silva, Founder and CEO, receiving the Award (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Storyteller category:
Humans & Climate Change Stories — Lausanne, Switzerland

“As a journalist, we spent 5 weeks in privacy with the families and there is a very solid contract between the journalist and these families — they are in the front line of climate change,” — Samuel Turpin

Samuel Turpin receiving the Award (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Creative category:
Make Art / Stop AIDS: Youth — Zomba, Malawi

“The impact that this project has brought to the students has left a print in my heart. Art is a powerful language.” — Sharon Kalima

Sharon Kalima, Youth Programme Officer, after the announcement of the SGD Action Awards. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Connector category:
Tacking Ocean Plastic and Global Poverty with IBM Blockchain Technology — Haiti, Philippines and USA

All of us should systematically embrace good tech, and collectively advance sustainability. — Andrés Rodriguez

Andres Rodriguez, Alexandra Hiniker, and Ottavia Ortolani before the announcement of the Award. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Campaigner category:
A White Dress Doesn’t Cover the Rape #Undress522 — Beirut, Lebanon

“Dedicated to my country, my family, my team, to every women survivor of sexual assault. They can’t be here but each one of you can make a difference.” —Ghida Anani

Ghida Anani, Founder and Director, receiving the Award. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Includer category:
Transforming Lives Make Senses for Everyone — United Kingdom

“I’d like to thank the 4.237 parathletes who went to the London 2012, who changed attitudes towards disabilities. Their amazing performance has inspired the world and its thanks to them that one million more persons with disabilities are in employment in the UK.” Craig Spence

Craig Spence, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, with his team. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

Mobilizer category:
Follow the Money — Abuja, Nigeria

“In 2018, we were able to track over 10 million dollars in Nigeria and reached directly 2 million lives. Mobilizing citizens, engaging governments, using data and telling stories brings change. Achieving the SDG’s is about connecting the dots.” Hamzat Lawal

Hamzat Lawal, Founder, receiving the Award. (Photo: Filippo Fortis)

People’s Choice Award:

2030 Youth Force Philippines — Philippines

“We go beyond our network and get to the grassroots and make them aware that they also contribute to the Global Goals.” — Jules Guiang

Jules Guiang, Co-Founder receiving the Award. (Photo: Yaroslav Senchuk)

Honourable mentions

WFP Storytellers Project
United Nations World Food Programme Communications Team
Rome, Italy

Empowering Marginalized Young Women &Youth Through Volunteerism and Community Radio
A project by UN Volunteers and UN Women Community Radio Project Team
Quetta, Pakistan

The People’s Seat Initiative
A project by UN Climate Change and the UN’s Department of Global Communications
Bonn, Germany

The most important countdown of the year
An initiative by Newlink group, RTVE & High Commissioner 2030 Agenda
Madrid, Spain

I am a force to be reckoned with!
A project by UNDP Nordic Office in Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

Also published on Medium.