The People’s Summit / The Night Trek for The SDGs

Reaching the SDGs is literally a hike at night (and you have to light up the way to the summit!)

This project looked inside Norway’s national hiking culture to reach the peak. It is thanks to this hiking culture -“turkultur”- that even shy Norwegians opened up to help each other. That is why the team decided to create the world’s first true SDG summit on top of two of Norway’s most popular hiking mountains. And in order to put our “turkultur” to the test, participants would climb to the summits in the dark. This idea was born by wanting to show that collaboration and fellowship are key to achieving the SDGs and believing that these qualities are inherent in all of us.

The team created a Facebook invitation and used targeted marketing, bloggers, local and national media to attract people from all across the country. Together with local municipalities, the Red Cross, the Norwegian Trekking Association and hundreds of volunteers they erected 17 light stops along the trails: Each one inviting the passing hikers to learn more about the goals. In 2016 and 2017, 20,000 hikers joined the treks up Gaustatoppen and Keiservarden. The participants lit up the trail for each other and learned about some of the most important messages of our time. Together they created spectacular human light chains that became powerful symbols of what we can achieve together. The starting point was that in 2016, only 35% of Norwegians knew that the SDGs existed, so the target was to increase awareness of the SDGs in the entire population of Norway by 10 percent in 2017.

From the summit, the message was spread through social media: using bloggers, musicians, UN agencies and even the Prime Minister as the project’s ambassadors. The campaign generated over 100 media stories including coverage in all major national media outlets. The films from the events have been viewed over 5.5 million times in social media.

But most importantly: awareness of the SDGs increased by 15%. Today, 50% of Norwegians know that the SDGs exist. This campaign started in 2016 and the idea is to continue the initiative throughout 2018 and 2019, initiating SDG events all over Norway. The People’s Summit will be expanded with seminars, outdoor activities, school activities and continue with night treks for the SDGs. All of it bound together with a social media campaign with films and pictures to tell the great stories of new communities and cities that has started their transformation towards 2030. The new goal now is that by 2020 65% of the Norwegian population is aware of the SDGs.