From May 30 to June 6, Singapore will be the host for UNLEASH 2018 and the second cohort of 1,000 young talents from all over the world, who will work on new, innovative and disruptive solutions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Applications are open from January 15 – February 15, 2018.
The first UNLEASH took place in Denmark in August 2017. In November 2017, the Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, handed over UNLEASH to the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during an official visit.
“Denmark kick-started this great initiative, and there is no better partner than Singapore to take over. The global SDGs carry the ambition to bring the world we live in closer to the world in which we wish to live. Singapore is known for its foresight, drive, and ability to take action. By passing on the host country torch to Singapore, I am sure that UNLEASH will take yet another important step forward,” said Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
The talents will learn from Singaporean private and public sector, who will inspire the talents for their process through the four-day innovation challenge. The talents are put in teams and will work on solutions within their field of expertise.
“We each have a valuable contribution to make to sustainable development. This gathering of young, creative and innovative minds will harness the power of human ingenuity, to create imaginative solutions that achieve the SDGs,” said Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
At the end of the innovation challenge, the solutions will be perfected and pitched in front of a panel of experts before UNLEASH culminates on June 6, when the final awards show takes place and thought leaders from all over the world will give keynotes to inspire the talents’ way forward. Here the best ideas are also awarded and given prizes to further support the implementation of their solutions.
Applications will be open from January 15 – February 15, 2018. For more information, please visit www.unleash.org.
Mitchell Toomey is the global director of the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General administered by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
How important are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Africa, in terms of achieving sustainable development in the region?
I think the Sustainable Development Goals are everyone’s responsibility and Africa deserves to achieve the SDGs just like other regions deserve to do so; we had the MDGs and countries like Nigeria were an incredible success in rallying people around some specific goals.
Moreover, the SDGs represent a much more ambitious agenda; they are not just about people’s survival but actually about ensuring people thrive. So, Nigeria is an obvious leader in Africa and with such a large youth population and potential we want to make sure the SDGs work here so that Nigeria can lead other countries in Africa.
We are already 2 years into the implementation of the SDGs, how has Africa fared in terms of achieving the goals?
Well, I think every country is different, every country has their own development plans and one thing we have learnt is that you can’t just bring something new and expect everyone to enforce it immediately; already there is the Africa Agenda 2063, which is a very important agenda that came before the SDGs. So, we have to be humble enough to understand that people already have their own plans.
Two years on, we are very happy to see how governments have taken them very seriously; they have set up departments and commissions to make sure there is some accountability in the implementation of the SDGs. Many countries have come to New York to talk about their action plans and what they want to do. However, two years on we can say the goals are still in their very early days.
The next few years will really determine how much progress we will see in terms of implementation of the goals. So, in 2019 the heads of state of all countries will gather again in New York to review the progress we have achieved in 4 years – it will be an incredibly important period. Therefore, we are confident that by then many countries would have achieved some of the progress necessary for the success of the goals.
Two key sectors of the world’s population i.e women and youth are very vital to the success of global development frameworks like the SDGs. How do you think given women and youth the opportunity to key into the implementation of the Global Goals will aid the successful realization of the goals?
Well, one reason the youth are such a focus of the goals is that the youth themselves helped designed the goals; when we were deciding what the goals would be we challenged young people from around the world to help us decide what the goals would be and they responded in amazing ways: by telling us what was happening in their communities and hence what the goals should be.
As such, most of the goals are youth-centered which means the youth can relate to them; we make sure that the icons are very friendly and easy to understand so that even children can understand these goals.
The reason is we are in a period of tremendous change in the world and young people are the future; the ability to access information, find networks of people, and learn new things using digital tools are what matters. It is a much different world than it used to be and young people are the ones who understand it best so we need to follow their lead in making these goals a reality.
And women have always played a very critical role in society even though sometimes such a role is marginalized outside of the traditional economies but we believe by giving everyone in the society the opportunity to participate we will achieve explosive growth which will lead to development in all countries.
Agenda 2030 is a very ambitious development framework that hopes to change the face of the world particularly here in Africa, around gender, education, governance, and public health. Where do you hope to see Africa by the year 2030 in terms of achieving these goals?
It is hard to generalize for Africa as different countries are at different starting points; different countries are progressing in different ways. We have to be very honest that different countries will progress in different ways.
Imagine how much the world has changed in the last 15 years, imagine all the things we never dreamed we could do like standing here and having this conversation with you and getting it out on the internet for everyone to see, we just would not even have thought it would be possible. So, I think if anything the goals aren’t ambitious enough to match the ambitions of young people around the world.
This article is culled from African Newspage – a digital newspaper for development reporting. View the original piece on their website.
Bold individuals are taking on the world’s most pressing challenges and changing the world, and their stories deserve to be told. That’s why we’re excited to join forces with the Global GoalsCast, a new podcast to inspire listeners to roll up their sleeves and make the world a better place!
As individuals, organizations and companies are contributing to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change and produce a more equitable world by 2030, we at the UN SDG Action Campaign are proud to be supporting a podcast that puts change-makers under the spotlight. By means of powerful storytelling supported by high-quality data, and offering different ways in which everyone can take action and personally contribute to progressive global efforts, we will assure that everyone can understand and engage with the SDGs.
Each of the 24 episodes of the first season, hosted by special advisor for Unicef Claudia González Romo and journalist Edie Lush, help make the SDGs more approachable.
In the first episode, titled “The World is on the Move”, listeners meet Brenda, a migrant from Mexico who as a fourth grader crossed the U.S. border at night with little but her parent’s dreams for her. Now, she works as a software engineer for Google. Her story shows that migration can be an economic powerhouse for the world and help drive global development.
“Episode Zero” and a new episode on “Girls and Education” have just come out. The episode on education introduces Jeanette Monosoff-Haley, a Mumbai-based organizer working to support the education of some of the poorest children in India. Her efforts focus on small steps, like finding textbooks, uniforms and even a girls toilet. Development experts have identified keeping girls in school as a top priority.
On the 24th of January, an episode on climate change will be live casted directly from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos featuring Robert and Barney Swan, a father-and-son duo who trekked 600-miles across Antarctica using only renewable energy sources.
Two new episodes will be released every month until the end of the year.
Additional episodes include audio from Will.i.am, Malala, William Lacy, Louise Arbor, and President Obama. The podcast will also introduce listeners to new, authentic voices such as Dali (16) and Fin (14), from the clothing company Nalu, who are creating alternative ways to provide education access to all.
We’re delighted to help sharing such incredible efforts in achieving a more sustainable world as a partner!
Exemplary businesses, municipalities and research projects who are at the forefront of sustainability were celebrated last Friday as the winners of the 10th German Sustainability Award in Düsseldorf, Germany. SDG Advocate, Queen Mathilde of Belgium received this years’ honorary prize in the event, which also offered participants a multitude of experiences to connect with the sustainable development goals in the “SDG Hub”.
The SDG Hub was created in partnership with the German service for development initiatives Engagement Global.
On the first day of the prize, the Next Economy Award was presented to start-ups whose business models are oriented towards a green economy and overcoming social challenges. The winners were the producer of wooden T-shirts wijld, the telemedical care company DITG, the solution for basic optic care EinDollarBrille and Enerthing, the developer of a solar film that can replace disposable batteries. Some of the winning initiatives and nominees, such as the developer of ecological toilets Goldeimer, were at the SDG Hub to share which SDGs are of most importance to them – in their case, “Clean Water and Sanitation” took the podium.
On the second day, the German Sustainability Award recognized top achievements in ecological and social commitment in different areas, celebrating stakeholders that are striving for the best sustainable solutions in line with the SDGs. Deutsche Telekom was awarded as Germany’s most sustainable large company, while Hanover won the prize for the most sustainable city.
In the Award Ceremony, Queen Mathilde was honoured for her commitment to the SDGs and her contribution to improving the situation of disadvantaged young people since 2000 with the Queen Mathilde Fund. Her Majesty also supports several organizations such as UNICEF, WHO and Child Focus.
Queen Mathilde underscored that businesses, governments, civil society and individuals must work together to achieve the SDGs. Photo: Dariusz Misztal
“To achieve sustainable development, governments, businesses, civil society and individuals must work together: each of us has a role to play at their own level towards realizing this ambitious, but achievable goals. Even small-scale projects and individual acts can contribute to changing lives for the better”, said Her Majesty.
She celebrated the fact that awareness of the need for sustainable development is growing in Belgium, Germany and all over the world. Yet, she reminded that there is no room for complacency, since there are areas in the planet where poverty is increasing and even affluent societies have not yet completely eradicated inequality.
British primatologist and campaigner for environmental and wildlife conservation Jane Goodall, who was present at the SDG Hub, encouraged particularly young people to take action and not to lose hope. “We have to fight to live sustainably before it’s too late”, she affirmed.
The founder of the German Sustainability Award Stefan Schulze-Hausmann and singer Annie Lennox. Photo: Ralf Rühmeier
Annie Lennox, activist and singer of the famous hit of the 80’s “Sweet Dreams”, performed on stage, where she also delivered a message of hope. “My sweet dream is a better world for all”, she said.
Experiencing the SDGs
By diving in immersive storytelling provided by United Nations Virtual Reality, visitors of the SDG Hub could see life through the eyes of a refugee or learn what it is like to be a survivor of Ebola. Many expressed the feeling that virtual reality can play an important role in connecting people emotionally to each other and foster cooperation to implement the SDGs.
Participants were also able to take the MY World 2030 survey, which allowed them to make their voices heard about which goals they consider more relevant for their lives and to explore their personal relationship with the SDGs.
All in all, entrepreneurs, government representatives and individuals had the opportunity to experience how the SDGs provide a framework to all sustainable development efforts worldwide, including those celebrated in the German Sustainability Award.
Watch Queen Mathilde’s speech:
Relevant personalities, government officials, business CEOs, activists and young entrepreneurs passed by the SDG Hub and shared a common vision of how we need to better communicate and engage everyone to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals. Take a look:
Minister President of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, visits the SDG Hub
British primatologist Jane Goodall delivered a message of hope to young people at the event
Members of the green businesses association UnternehmensGrün celebrate their partnership
The SDGs were a key focus for global education actors when they gathered at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation and one of seventeen United Nations Secretary-General SDG Advocates, hosted and attended the Summit where world leaders called for urgent action to help young refugees and internally displaced youths. With more than 260 million children and young people out of school today, and only one per cent of young refugees able to access higher education, there were warnings that the SDGs will not be achieved if young people are denied quality education.
The EAA Foundation signed several new partnerships at the event, part of its commitment to address the global education crisis and enroll 10 million out-of-school children.
During the high-level plenary (watch here), the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is Co-Chair of SDG Advocates, told the WISE audience: “The spectre of tens and tens of millions of young refugees growing up without the needed skills to create a meaningful life for themselves is a dangerous one. What do we expect them to do? What opportunities are available to them? How competitive can they be in this global economy? These are questions that must elicit a concerted and calculated response from the world’s leaders.”
Mr. Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said: “Tens of millions of children are deprived of education. We cannot afford lost generations. No single child should be left behind. It is our moral duty to do more.”
The SDGs were also visible at the UN SDG Action Campaign booth, located in the EAA Foundation exhibition space. Visitors could learn more about the Campaign’s work and could show their commitment to the SDGs by obtaining stickers and taking selfies with the goals. By taking the MY World 2030 survey, which polls top SDG priorities and citizen perceptions on implementation progress, they could consider the SDGs in relation to their own lives. Through the use of virtual reality, attendees of the Summit were also able to step into the shoes of children affected by emergencies, seeing first-hand the ways an interruption to education can stymie young people’s progress. The Campaign showed the 360’ films, Ground Beneath Her and Clouds Over Sidra, which showcase young girls affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and the Syrian Crisis respectively.
“MY World and UNVR are not only tools to use with young people in education settings to capture the realities of young people though data and storytelling, but also amazing tools for use in the classroom,” said Ms. Kristin Gutekunst, who represented the UN SDG Action Campaign at the forum. “MY World helps young people learn the language of the SDGs and understand how they manifest in their own lives. UNVR helps them understand the complex interaction of the SDGs in different settings, and also inspires a connection to people across the world, sponsoring a sense of global connection.”
“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.
Every step taken for Climate Action is a step further in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement provide a clear framework for action towards a better world for every person and for the planet.
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) will be a busy and exciting two weeks in the efforts to support UNFCCC and member states to raise public awareness about the interconnectedness of the SDGs and Climate Action and to bring in citizen voices to deliver the message of the importance of multiple stakeholders working together to achieve change.
Here’s the lineup of all the immersive experiences, events, exhibitions, and conversations ready for COP23. Interesting in attending any of these sessions? Register here
Friday 17th November Change-making through New media and Virtual Reality where: Bonn Zone, at the Talanoa Space when: 1.00 – 2.00pm
NOTE: This event is ONLY open to COP23-accredited participants. If you don’t have COP23 accreditation already, you cannot get accredited at the entrance and you will be turned away. For those who are not eligible to attend, we invite you to watch the livestream of the event on our Twitter account via Periscope at http://twitter.com/sdgaction
Join the UN SDG Action Campaign and Scenic VR for an interactive panel on the virtual reality film “Guardians of the Forest”, as well as the role of virtual reality in supporting indigeneous priorities in crafting a new climate reality.
Kristin Gutekunst – Executive Producer, UN Virtual Reality and New Media, UN SDG Action Campaign
Brittany Neff & Benjamin Ross – Co-directors, Guardians of the Forest – CoReality
Carol Gonzalez Aguilar – Coordinator of Women and Family – Organización de los Pueblos Indígenas de la Amazonía Colombiana (OPAIC)
Wednesday 8th November: Innovative leadership: Engaging everyone in driving local action for SDGs & Climate Change where: Talanoa Space at the Bonn Zone
time: 11.30am to 12.30pm
How can local and sub-national efforts to adapt and build resilience to climate change thrive? What examples can we see of new leaders taking innovative actions to engage everyone: governments, citizens, innovators, businesses, and organisations, in setting priorities and developing solutions to the SDGs & climate change? How can these local solutions be scaled to make more tangible change?
The purpose of this session is to share inspiring examples and insights of how multiple stakeholders across subnational governments, private sector, and civil society organisations are taking innovative approaches, exploring collaboration and engaging millions of people to make tangible change at the local and global level.
Wednesday 15 November: High-Level Event “Innovation for SDGs and Climate Action” where: Climate Planet, between the Bonn and Bula Zones. Find it here time: 1.30 to 2.30pm
Through an innovative and interactive format, this event will showcase selected transformative solutions tackling the biggest challenges for humanity and the planet. These innovative solutions will be presented by governments, private sector and civil society in a dynamic pitch session followed by targeted networking, Participants will wander freely to explore the solutions being presented, thereby enabling the speakers and participants to share insights, ideas and lessons learnt.
Moderator: Laura Hildebrandt, Policy Specialist, UN SDG Action Campaign
Mr. Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant Secretary General and Director Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UN Development Programme
Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Dr. Ifeolu Falegan, Senior Advisor, Office of the Senior Special Assistant on SDGs to the President of Nigeria
Screening of innovation video, UN SDG Action Campaign
Multistakeholder pitch session
Luca Bucken, Liter of Light
Isabel Naguib, Foodsharing Bonn
David Katz, The Plastic Bank
Carlos Eduardo Sturm, Brazilian Forest Service plus various other speakers
Sarah Teeter, TerraCycle
Nick Davis, GridMarket
Jane Madgwick, Wetlands International
Valeria Valotto, Progetto Quid
*No accreditation needed
6 – 17 November
SDG Virtual Reality Space
where: Bonn Zone, at UNFCCC/Momentum for Change stand
Curated by the UN SDG Action Campaign, this exhibition includes a multitude of immersive experiences and a participatory activation through the MY World 2030 survey. The United Nations VR series supports the UN system in communicating and advocating for the advancement of the SDGs and Climate Action. Bringing people’s voices to COP23, participants can have a peek into how the SDGs and Climate Change manifest in peoples daily lives and across the globe and discover and share citizen perceptions on progress through MY World 2030.
SDG Interactive Space at the Climate Planet where: Climate Planet between the Bonn and Bula Zones
The Climate Planet is a 20m globe, brought to Bonn by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Inside the large globe is a 4m globe, onto which a specifically produced movie about climate change will be projected – including live views of the earth taken by NASA. Around the Planet, we will showcase the SDGs in innovative and interactive ways, human stories behind the SDGs, citizen perception data and the MyWorld 2030 survey. See teaser and more information
*No accreditation needed
Humans of MY World Exhibition where: Bonn Zone, in the hallway on the way to meeting rooms 1-4
Millions of individuals have raised their voices on what matter most to them and how we are making progress on the SDGs through MY World, the United Nations survey for a better world. Each of them has a story to tell. This exhibition features content from the photo-narrative series Humans of MY World, shedding light on the human stories behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through this exhibition, you will have the chance to “meet” 17 individuals from around the world and learn why the SDGs are important to them. Take a look at the photo series
Sharing People’s commitment to SDGs and Climate Action at the #SDGStudio
The #SDGStudio is a mobile interactive space open to innovators, influencers, governments, businesses, activists and organisations to generate dialogue and share change-making actions and commitments from across the world to serve as an inspiration for everyone to engage in taking action for the Sustainable Development Goals.
During COP23 we will be at the Bonn Zone and the Bula Zone, asking leaders to share their commitments and efforts for Climate Action and the Sustainable Development Goals with the world. Come and speak up!
Will you not be there? You can be part of the #SDGStudio from wherever you are. Speak up, tag @SDGAction and #SDGStudio and be part of the conversation.
All stories are shared on the SDG Studio Youtube Channel and distributed through the SDG Action platforms – website and social media channels – as well as through our media partners and UN communications channels.
We will share live all sessions and behind the scenes unique content through our social media platforms. Follow @SDGAction in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss anything.
The UN SDG Action Campaign, UN Global Pulse, and Microsoft organised the fourth annual Data Playground, an interactive event showcasing data and technological innovations for the SDGs.
Data Playground and Breakout sessions
120+ innovators from both the public and private sector gathered at the event. After a word of welcome by Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of Global Pulse, and Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, the attendees participated in a total of six breakout sessions, including “AI for Earth” – by Microsoft and “MY World 2030”.
That is why ZUNA firstly engaged in giving an introduction to the project to school patrons and to more than 70 students at the beginning of the school year. Then the book “We should all be Feminists” was given to patrons and students.
The orientation and assessment workshop went further, involving two more schools and creating a wider understanding amongst students and increasing the scope of the project.
“Gender Equality is about empowering our young girls to explore their worlds without fear of breaking barriers to reach their full potential” Munesu Mushonga
The aim of the awareness campaign is to create a gender-aware generation that takes into consideration the concept of gender inclusiveness in leadership, community participation, policy and decision making. High school students have a tendency to flock to courses that bridge what they learn in the classroom to the outside world. Educators would make a difference. A social transformation will take a village of teachers, scholars, and activists and there is need to reach out to these groups.
Teachers and educators need to be capacitated, they need support with age appropriate and relevant content that speaks to their communities.
They need to do more global research on issues of gender and sexuality and bring that knowledge back to their schools. Organizations and schools need to engage in partnerships on how to bring more gender research into the curriculum design.
The “Different Gender Same Agenda” has assisted in changing mindsets and attitudes of young people in Zimbabwe.
On 25th September 2017, 2nd anniversary of the SDGs we are calling for actions across the world to tell people about the global goals and tell our leaders how we are performing. We the People #Act4SDGs.
Read stories from all over the world and be inspired …
High School students from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy joined together to have a session about the Sustainable Development Goals and set up a hub at the Cottonwood Festival in Flintridge, in which they aimed to raise awareness about the Global Goals.
They managed to spread the knowledge through the session and eventually filled in several MyWorld2030 surveys.
Most of the participants were new to the global goals. They found out SDGs are of crucial importance in their everyday lives, to the point that when filling the survey they could not even choose 6 out of 17 because they all mattered to them.
The hub was focusing on SDG13 Climate Action, which was the most related to the course the students are currently undertaking. They created pins of the SDGs by recycling plastic bottles caps, showing their engagement in climate action.
“I just learned about these goals today!”
One of the participants after visiting the student-made hub at the Festival.
There has been a lot of curiosity around the SDGs, people felt the need to know more, asked for further information and eventually engaged towards their achievement and evaluation through the MYWorld2030 survey.
On 25th September 2017, 2nd anniversary of the SDGs we are calling for actions across the world to tell people about the global goals and tell our leaders how we are performing. We the People #Act4SDGs.
Read more stories of Action for SDGs from all over the world and be inspired …