“SDGs is about people, this is about leaving no one behind, about creating a world for our current generations, for our future generations.”It has to be about having a new vision, a new paradigm with implementation from all sectors. We want Europe to be leading from the front and Belgium is in a strong position to be a champion of change.” Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, United Nations Representative in Belgium urged to innovative thinking, stronger partnerships and more ambition in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Combating inequality matters and our lifestyles matter to meeting the sustainable development goals. We need a whole of society approach and the center of gravity for political innovation lies within cities and people. We have an impressive set of initiatives run by associations in Belgium that provide civic platforms between people and the government.” Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, highlighted that we must all start changing the way we live.
On 23 November, representatives from private sector, local governments, civil society organisations and students took part in a one-day inter-ministerial conference to tackle how Belgium can implement the Agenda 2030 and oversee a truly transformative multi-stakeholder approach.
The UN SDG Action Campaign, along with the UN and UNDP in Brussels, organized an SDG Action Zone, occupying a central space to engage visitors on the Sustainable Development Goals, bring the voices of children, men a women from around the world and their needs to the center of the discussions.
(Top image: UN colleagues & Young Leaders with Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians / UNRIC)
Organised 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. This year’s edition took place on 6-8 June, 2017 in Brussels.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals stand at the European Development Days included a wide range of exciting and innovative features such as the #SDGstudio, virtual reality films, touch-screens showcasing data visualizations and polling mechanisms on the SDGs, and a selfie photobooth to invite visitors to show their commitment and take action on the Goals.
The UN stand is organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign, the UN in Brussels (25 UN entities), UNECE and the World Bank. Occupying a central space at the European Development Days global village, the UN SDG stand is a convening space to engage thousands of visitors on the Sustainable Development Goals and showcase the efforts of the United Nations and its partners around the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
During the European Development Days:
Thousands of people visited the United Nations stand, with active participation of several hundreds per day (in total there were 8000 participants attending EDDs)
There were 35 #SDGStudio dialogues! 16 on Day 1 and 19 on Day 2.
The United Nations was involved in more than 50 out of the 120 EDD sessions
More than 90 UN colleagues were hosts at the UN Stand, inviting delegates and showcasing SDG innovation
Around 350 people took a selfie at the photobooth
The #SDGStudio was a new and exciting feature of the United Nations stand, which is a unique platform to generate informal and insightful inter-generational dialogues between young leaders and high-level officials from the United Nations, the European Commission and a wide range of other institutions present at the EDDs. The #SDGstudio was proud to host the following dialogues:
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations & Suman Kumar, EDD Young Leader, Nepal
Role of Youth for the SDGs: Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium & Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services, Belgium & Esenam Amuzu, EDD Young Leader
Health and SDGs: Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General elect, WHO & Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety & Kalaba Nkonde, EDD Young Leader
Discussion on SDG Advocates and promoting the SDGs: Thomas Gass, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) & Laura Hildebrandt, Programme Specialist, UN SDG Action Campaign
Partnerships and the SDGs: Thomas Gass, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) & Leonardo Parraga, EDD Young Leader
In May each year, the European Institutions celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the European Union. Entertaining, informative activities are organised throughout Europe and beyond. This is an opportunity for citizens to learn about the day-to-day work of the institutions, as well as the broader issues, challenges and benefits of the European Union for its 508 million citizens. This year the European institutions opened to the public on Saturday May 6th in Brussels and Sunday May 14th in Strasbourg.
The EU Humanitarian Aid stand welcomed visitors to immerse themselves in the world of humanitarian aid and civil protection. The stand was a replica of the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, a state of the art hub where duty officers follow potentially emerging crises 24/7 with satellite images. Visitors got a chance to talk to a real duty officer. Over 12.000 visitors came to the Berlaymont building and many of them came to the stand.
The stand featured a virtual reality classroom, featuring some United Nations Virtual Reality films showing the warzone in Gaza in 2014 (My Mother’s Wing), or the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan where Sidra, a 12-year-old girl, will be your guide (Clouds Over Sidra). Children took part in a giant world map game, where they found out about where in the world EU Humanitarian Aid operates.
People were watching the films in their entirety, from beginning to end. “Awesome”, “Impressive”, “Powerful” were the adjectives used by visitors to describe the experience. Some of them, after having watched one movie came back to view the others films. The response was so high that a queue started to snake around the stand.
Images: European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations