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.

The PEACE BOAT sails from Yokohama to take the Sustainable Development Goals around the globe.

On Saturday 1 September, hundreds of people gathered at the port of Yokohama to say goodbye to the Peace Boat’s 99th Global Voyage, the first to sail in collaboration with the UN SDG Action Campaign. Departing from Yokohama, Japan, on September 1 and returning on December 17, 2018, Peace Boat will visit to 24 ports in 23 countries in 4 months, to mobilize people to take action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In collaboration with the UN SDG Action Campaign, Peace Boat’s Global Voyages will conduct education, advocacy, capacity building and awareness raising for the SDGs.

“Inspiring and engaging everyone to take action is the only way the SDGs will be achieved. Combining the expertise, tools, and creativity of the UN SDG Action Campaign with the reach and the innovative approach of the Peace Boat, will allow us to mobilize more individuals to step forward and join the global movement taking action for the SDGs.” said the Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, Mitchell Toomey. Peace Boat Director and Founder, Yoshioka Tatsuya said “Peace Boat and the UN SDG Action Campaign share common goals. Working together, we will be able to engage more people to achieve the 2030 Agenda“.

Various related events will be held during the voyage, including an event together with the UNDP in Male, the capital of the Maldives, on September 17 and actions as part of the mass mobilization day on the SDGs anniversary o 25 September, the Global Day to #Act4SDGs.
Hundreds of people gathered to say goodbye to the Peace Boat in Yokohama, Japan, sailing to take the SDGs around the globe.

Both entities will join forces in the development of Peace Boat’s educational programming, including Global University and SDG Youth Programmes, through guest educators from the Campaign and partner networks, the global citizen platform MY World and the MY World photo and video stories.

Furthermore, the UN SDG Action Campaign and Peace Boat will collaborate to develop SDG educational and visual content, events and exhibitions to make the SDGs part of the Peace Boat’s Ecoship which will sail as the Flagship for the SDGs and be the platform for Peace Boat’s future voyages.
In an effort to strengthen the inclusivity and reach of their respective activities, Peace Boat and the UN SDG Action Campaign will continue to work together around the UN SDG Action Campaign flagship initiatives such as the Global day to Act for SDGs on September 25th, the SDG Action Awards, and the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, and onboard Peace Boat’s ship and in ports visited on the voyages.
The United Nations SDG Action Campaign and Peace Boat announced their collaboration through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA, in July.
Full itinerary and to follow the 99th Voyage
or learn more about the Peace Boat

SDGs take center stage at the NOS Alive Music Festival in Lisbon July 12-14, 2018

The Portuguese Desk of the UN Regional Information Center (UNRIC) partnered with the NOS Alive Festival, one of the main cultural events in Portugal, to promote the SDGs and raise awareness and visibility of the 2030 Agenda.

Pearl Jam, Artic Monkeys, The National, The Queens of the Stone Age, Franz Ferdinand were some of the bands that performed at the Festival which attracts more than 165,000 people over three days.

In the SDG Action Zone, Festival-goers could take a picture with a frame or a cube of their favourite SDG and post it on social media. The Secretary of State for Tourism and several digital influencers visited the stand!

The SDG video “We the people” was screened at all the stages, during all concert breaks, impacting thousands of people.

Ten thousand reusable bags with the SDGs were distributed to promote the #FightPlasticPollution Campaign.

The United Nations presence at the Festival was the subject of much interest in the media, and was covered on prime time national TV. The SDG Action Zone at NOS Alive was inspired by the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Photos & Videos: UNRIC Portugal

18 April: LET’S CEE Film Festival brings VR cinema to Vienna – and the UN SDG Action Campaign is aboard as one of its programme supporters.

From Let’s CEE Film Festival

Get faced with the human made threat of nature in the Arctic or in the rainforest; learn what it’s like to be homeless or to live in a refugee camp; make a trip back to your first year of life or to the old age – LET’S CEE Film Festival makes it possible. Under the motto “Let’s Open Your Mind”, the organisers are bringing virtual reality films from all over the world to Vienna for the first time. Thanks to the support of renowned partners such as United Nations, Greenpeace International, Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, USC Shoah Foundation, WIDE and The Guardian, a high-quality as well as visually strong offer of socio-politically engaged cinema will be shown. Sitting on a swivel chair with a VR headset and headphones, VR Cinema makes you, so to speak, the focal point and part of the film thanks to 360-degree images.

LET’S CEE will set up two VR lounges: one at 4GAMECHANGERS, a festival for influencers and visionaries (18-20 April) and the second at Village Cinema Wien Mitte (21-22 April) with support of the presenting partner Cineplexx International. Admission is free, as is the whole short film programme at LET’S CEE.

The hardly publicly funded Austrian festival, which tries to make a significant positive contribution to a modern and exemplary understanding of intercultural dialogue year by year, runs from 13 to 22 April in Vienna, Graz, Salzburg and Villach, the VR films can be seen from18 to 22 April in Vienna.

More about LET’S CEE:


Films shown with the support of United Nations | UN SDG Action Campaign

Clouds Over Sidra | USA 2015 | 9 min. | English | Chris Milk, Gabo Arora / UN SDG Action Campaign

Twelve-year-old Sidra walks us through her “home”, the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. It houses 130,000 Syrian war refugees, half of them children.

Guardians of the Forest | BRA 2018 | 20 min. | English | Benjamin Ross, Brittany Neff / UN SDG Action Campaign

Activist Sônia takes the spectators to the Amazon’s rainforest, where their Guajajara people are fighting desperately against the destruction of their habitat.

Sea Prayer | UK 2017 | 7 min. | English | Khaled Hosseini / UN SDG Action Campaign On the second anniversary of the death of a three-year-old Syrian boy on the Greek coast, Khaled Hosseini wrote an imaginary letter of a Syrian father to his son.

Complete VR Programme:

Arctic 360 | UK 2016 | 3 min. | English | Francesca Panetta, Nicole Jackson / The Guardian A virtual reality trip to the Arctic, which was filmed under environmentally-friendly conditions, shows the terrible consequences of human behavior.

Becoming Homeless: A Human Experience | USA 2017 | 8 min. | English | Elise Ogle, Tobin Asher / Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab

You can experience what it’s like to be homeless, protect yourself and try to save your home while living on the street.

First Impressions | UK 2017 | 6 min. | English | Francesca Panetta, Nicole Jackson / The Guardian One experiences the first year of life from the viewpoint of a baby, interacting with the environment like a baby. A time span that none of us can remember.

Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon | BRA/UK 2017 | 15 min. | English | James Manisty, Grace Boyle / Greenpeace International

An exceptional VR experience: We find ourselves amidst the indigenous Munduruku in Amazonia who, due to a dam project, have to struggle for existence.

 Notes to My Father | UK/USA 2017 | 12 min. | English | Javisha Patel / WIDE

Her father married her off when she was 13, but like many Indian girls, Ramadevi was then sold to a brothel. Now she fights against the sexual slave trade.

The Last Chair | NLD 2017 | 2 x 15 min. | Jessie van Vreden, Anke Teunissen / WIDE

A VR experience about the last phase of existence. You can immerse yourself in the lives of two old men preparing for their final days.

The Last Goodbye | USA 2017 | 20 min. | English | Gabo Arora, Ari Palitz / USC Shoah Foundation

In July 2016, Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter visits the Majdanek concentration camp. The Last Goodbye is a testimony of love, compassion and the human spirit.

Press Contact:

Magdalena Żelasko
Festival Director LET’S CEE Film Festival

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!



Empowering advocates to implement SDG projects in their communities

Empowering advocates to implement SDG projects in their communities

The “SDGchallenge” is a global citizenship education project, which aims to raise awareness of the SDGs primarily in Ireland but also globally. The project equips people to take informed action on the goals and to contribute to sustainable change in communities. The SDGchallenge focuses on the non-formal learning sector, with many entry points in order to ensure easy and diverse levels of participation.

There are monthly workshops and discussions, monthly resource and information packs, and mentoring and coaching to SDG challenge participants to build national capacity through the advocate program. The project also utilizes creative methodologies such as music and film to engage the public more generally. The SDG Advocate program brings together 26 individuals from 26 communities in Ireland and then puts them through an intense 8-month program. Each of these advocates implement SDG projects in their communities.

For example, the Cork Advocate, Maria Dempsey is a true example of an active citizen who contributed hugely to the project and as a result has created change across Ireland in raising awareness of SDG 5 and SDG 16. Maria has dedicated her time to raising awareness of victims of homicide globally “Since taking part in the SDG Advocate Program I now have direction, coherence, motivation and feel positive that bringing together families of homicide and working towards positive change” (Dempsey, 2017).

They are currently recruiting the 2018 cohort of SDG Advocate participants in order to create change in communities across Ireland / Vietnam and Tanzania. They also have a national showcase event in Ireland in late February which brings together 300 people to raise awareness of the project and results. Future plans include expanding efforts in Ireland, then plans to expand to Vietnam and Tanzania. There is also an interest to replicate the project with likeminded organizations in other countries globally.

Who is behind this?

Stephanie Kirwan

For more information:


SDG Voices Campaign in 6 cities

The SDG Voices campaign, led by the City of Ghent, challenged cities in Belgium to encourage and mobilize Belgians to implement the SDGs in their daily lives. The campaign involved 23 different Ghent city services and departments. Nearly 6,000 citizens in 6 cities participated physically and many others took part via social media.

The SDG Voices campaign, led by the City of Ghent, challenged cities in Belgium to encourage and mobilize Belgians to implement the SDGs in their daily lives. The campaign involved 23 different Ghent city services and departments. Nearly 6,000 citizens in 6 cities participated physically and many others took part via social media.

The Ghent City Board designed a series of five concrete and competitive challenges for Ghent and 5 other cities, which each focused on SDGs 1-5: “Eat massively social” (SDG1.4), “Days without meat” (SDG2.4), “Everyone on the bike” (SDG3.9), “Class marathon” (SDG4a) and “Everybody feminist” (SDG5.5).

Nearly 6,000 citizens in 6 cities participated physically, many other people supported the challenges via social media (communicated through short movies, web-posts and campaign images) The campaign brought together stakeholders such as Ghent knowledge institutions, various NGOs, The Shift, Gent en Garde, Football Club KAA Gent. The campaign paved the way for new partnerships with organizations such as the Flemish Association of Cities and Municipalities, University and Academy Ghent, CSR Europe, etc and initiatives such as healthy cooking workshops, debates on sustainability at school, theatre performance on gender equality, summer cycling course for immigrant children, etc.

The campaign also resonated throughout networks, such as Eurocities, ESDN, ICLEI. The campaign is having a multiplier effect on more citizens’ and organizations’ familiarity with the SDGs. For example, the cooperation between businesses and schools will be continued. NGO Globelink started a project to implement the SDGs in Ghent with youngsters. The city administration integrated the SDGs in the preparation of the long-term city planning. Ghent University and Ghent Academy embraced the SDGs in their new policy strategy.

Who is behind this?

City of Ghent

For more information:


Our Life 21

When real people share the changes they are adopting in their lifestyles to be more sustainable (and you can help imitating them!)

When real people share the changes they are adopting in their lifestyles to become more sustainable (and you can help by imitating them!)

Despite commitments to fight climate change, actions do not match those required to limit global temperature increases to below 2°C. We need to convince people that adopting more sustainable lifestyles is the key to increase well-being. People are in search of an inspirational vision. The SDGs provide such a vision: by covering issues as diverse as urban planning, inequalities, agriculture, transports, which are all important aspects of sustainable development and climate policies. The 17 SDGs and their specific targets offer a path to a shared desirable future.

The project Our Life 21 (OL21) aims at allowing individuals to develop a positive perspective within this framework. It captures the prospective stories of 40 hypothetical families in 9 different countries (France, Germany, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, China, India, Peru, and Senegal) for a sustainable future in 2030. Most of these stories have been developed during specific workshops. The shadow activity of the families, with different sociodemographic backgrounds and lifestyle patterns, are further analyzed on the basis of quantified energy scenarios.

Stéphanie was a participant of OL21. The team allowed her to reflect upon her own lifestyles patterns and identify the changes through which she could take action to reach the future she desires. She has reduced the impacts of transports in her life (short circuit for food, holidays…). As she was so conscious of the need for transformation, she quit her job: now, she wants to take part in the development of alternative solutions. Personal, sincere and empathic narratives foster SDG’s ownership, as each person is considered an essential part of the collective journey towards sustainability.

Since 1993, 4D Association has created meaningful connections and learning processes on sustainable development and associated transformative actions. Few civil society organisations work on such cross-cutting issues, from the very local to the global level. To further mobilize civil society, the initiative will launch the platform We are the SDGs (March 2018) to facilitate the networking of changemakers and to collect data on local experimentations. The platform uses an SDG criteria to match individuals and projects: the more cross-cutting a project, the more collaboration opportunities. Thus, the platform fosters peer-to-peer learning and partnerships. During the SDG week, this initiative will promote frontrunner projects, selected according to different criteria (impact, transversality, replicability…), in articles and public events. In addition, they will take this opportunity to strengthen coordination between civil society organizations for an effective SDG implementation in France and in Europe.

The impact of the program will continue to grow as households are empowered by giving them the information they need to take action to accelerate adoption of cleaner energy solutions and better nutrition. Reaching people at scale with evidence based, informative, yet also entertaining and motivating content, can have a transformational impact in making progress toward the SDGs across the globe.

Who is behind this?

Vaia Tuuhia


Tired of non-sense conversations with your colleagues at work? This is how the SDGs sneak in businesses

Tired of nonsense conversations with your colleagues at work? This is how the SDGs sneak into businesses

SDGs have introduced a new paradigm, overcoming the traditional North/South dichotomy and understanding the interrelation between economic, social and environmental issues. Today, for the first time, everyone is asked to contribute to SDGs, including civil society. Private sector has been reached and is already aligning its strategies with SDGs.

The first step to undertake is to spread awareness of the SDGs, their meaning and implications. #COMPANIES4SDGs copes with this challenge providing businesses with a campaign to involve and engage their employees in the SDGs. The new idea underlying this project is to reach people through companies’ regular internal communication channels. The campaign #COMPANIES4SDGs consists of three parts:

  1. An internal communication kit about SDGs to implement over 12 months;
  2. The promotion of volunteering activities aligned with the SDG of the month;
  3. An ambitious external communication strategy.

Until today, the project has been subscribed by 34 companies in Spain, representing approximately 500.000 employees. Globally, it has already been included in routine monthly communications, reaching 310.410 employees in 18 countries. Furthermore, some companies are sharing the project with more than 3.5 million clients and other stakeholders increasing the project’s potential impact. Moreover, one of the companies involved is from the mass media and is broadcasting a spot on radio and television.

From October 2017 to January 2018, a 20-second TV spot has already been seen by more than 25,000,000 people (59.9% of Spanish population). The radio add has reached more than 5,700,000 individuals; 14.42% of the Spanish population has listened to it 4.1 times on average. Up to 8,618 volunteers have been engaged in the achievement of SDGs number 1, 2, 3 and 4. They have invested more than 503,122 hours in 583 activities.

The team is currently working on expanding the project in two ways. On one hand, by engaging more companies and opening the project to academic and public institutions in order to dramatically increase the volume of population reached. For instance, the team has just presented #COMPANIES4SDGs to Barcelona and Madrid public transportation companies and they are submitting it to the Spanish public companies SDG task force. In addition the project plans to present a “year 2” package for its partners with new materials to increase awareness and promote further action to achieve the goals.

Who is behind this?

Benedetta Falletti di Villafalletto

For more information:


SDGs and Digital Realities

Recreating a school in a virtual world using the online game Minecraft? Let´s play!

Recreating a school in a virtual world using the online game Minecraft? Let’s play!

The SDGs will only be reached if the goals and their targets can be meaningfully brought to life in a school community and not only at the tables of policymakers. Yet how often are young people invited to act on the SDGs?

Accepting the challenge, this team sought to achieve sustainable development in a school in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, by recreating that school in a virtual world and redesigning it to align with the SDGs using the online game Minecraft. As a partnership project with secondary school Presentation College Bray and human rights charity 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World, the aim was to produce an open-world thinking platform to enable the whole school community to be involved in mapping environmental and social footprints with the potential of the SDGs.

Inverting the often top-down dissemination of education, the project began with this unique context and analyzed it using the goals; enabling participants to become active producers and engineers empowered with visualizing how these changes might look as a planning project led by young people. The challenge was on the languages. Textual language is often the typical vehicle for policy development. Visualization, however, can be empowering, lasting and bridges words with imagined realities. This initiative galvanized students to lead on visual design-based thinking linked to sustainable development, gradually involving 37 students (ages 13-17), 11 teachers and staff from 80:20.

The ‘sustainable school’ model was created by the community and for the community; each modification reflected one of the 169 targets and underpinned by the 5 P’s of the SDGs (people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership) in what kind of school they would like to see by 2030. Students drove new ideas in transforming the school into an SDG-friendly community and acted as spokespeople and champions of the visual design experiment, such as:

  1. field visits and peer-exchanges with other social justice student groups and peer-platforms such as the Let’s Talk project;
  2. presentations with national and SDG platforms, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Sustainability Research Coordination Group; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland;
  3. used social media: 20,000 project video views, and findings published in a research portfolio.

The project’s next steps are 1) to use a sustainable development open-world design model to test priority action ideas to bring about changes in the wider school community and accelerate other schools in getting started with their important role in implementing the SDGs; and 2) to share ideas and methodologies with schools and SDG stakeholders locally, nationally and globally to empower all educational institutions to nurture whole-community involvement in sustainable planning and visualisation.

Who is behind this?

Clifton Rooney, Tony Daly, Shane McInerney and Stuart Hannon.

For more information:

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