The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is a ground-breaking annual event powered by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Festival will bring together the global community taking action to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality. It will recognize and celebrate the innovators, conveners and breakthrough actors who are transforming lives, tackling trade-offs and generating practical solutions to some of the world’s most intractable development problems.

Taking place in Bonn each year, the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG implementation. The Festival will bring together a wide array of organizations and individuals – spanning multiple sectors and regions – to build synergies amongst different constituencies, increase mutual understanding, and approach problems and solutions from multiple angles.

There are many people, organizations and change-makers out there already taking on the challenge to achieve the SDGs. We want to celebrate some of the greatest innovators, mobilisers, connectors, storytellers, communicators, visualisers and includers from across the Globe, learn from them and help them thrive!

Therefore, being hosted in tandem with the Festival, members of the global SDG community will be invited to enter their projects, initiatives, networks and people for the chance win a UN SDG Action Challenge Award which will be showcased at the UN SDG Action Challenge Awards Ceremony on the first evening of the Festival, 21st March 2018. Where applicable, award winners will also be invited to offer practical, hands-on workshop sessions at the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development to share their skills and good practices with participants.

This awards program aims to find these change-makers and celebrate achievements being made in every corner of the earth, which all form a critical contribution to the international sustainable development movement.

On 25 September 2015, the 193 Member States of the United Nations agreed a global agenda, unprecedented in its scope and ambition. Agenda 2030 represents an unprecedented opportunity for humanity to create a better future for everyone. Building on the original three dimensions of sustainable development, Agenda 2030 introduces the idea of the 5 Ps—adding Peace and Partnerships to social inclusion (People), environmental protection (Planet) and economic growth (Prosperity).

While it is a huge achievement to have created Agenda 2030, the real challenge still lies ahead: delivering the change which the Agenda promises. Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 requires holistic and transformative thinking and ambitious actions now. We need to identify and overcome the barriers and obstacles, creating systematic change together. Governments, companies, civil society, cities and individuals all need to contribute if we are to achieve our shared goals.

The Festival is based on the premise that to achieve the SDGs by 2030, a revolution is required in the way we think about some of the world’s biggest problems. Protecting communities, individuals and social progress in an era of shocks and threats (including conflict and mass migration); addressing the growing crisis of disillusionment, exclusion and inequality experienced by so many; reconciling the twin necessities of economic growth and environmental sustainability: these challenges are huge but not insurmountable.

The Festival will focus on three core themes in 2018:

Innovation​ and ​Disruptive​ ​Change

To​ ​deliver​ ​Agenda​ ​2030​ ​we​ ​need​ ​transformative​ ​change.​ ​What​ ​are​ ​new​ ​technological​ ​innovations that​ ​can​ ​help?​ ​Which​ ​underlying​ ​social​ ​norms​ ​and​ ​value​ ​systems​ ​need​ ​to​ ​be​ ​disrupted?​ ​How​ ​can disruptive​ ​change​ ​globally,​ ​nationally​ ​and​ ​locally​ ​be​ ​fostered​ ​at​ ​high​ ​pace?

Citizen​ ​Engagement

Agenda​ ​2030​ ​was​ ​created​ ​with​ ​broader​ ​citizen​ ​consultation​ ​than​ ​any​ ​previous​ ​global​ ​political agenda.​ ​​ ​Why​ ​does​ ​it​ ​matter​ ​to​ ​include​ ​citizen​ ​voices​ ​in​ ​global​ ​political​ ​debates?​ ​How​ ​can​ ​people from​ ​around​ ​the​ ​globe​ ​be​ ​engaged​ ​in​ ​the​ ​implementation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​SDGs?​ ​How​ ​can​ ​the​ ​impact​ ​of citizen​ ​engagement​ ​be​ ​maximized?

Communicating​ ​the​ ​SDGs

Everyone​ ​can​ ​contribute​ ​to​ ​achieve​ ​the​ ​SDGs.​ ​To​ ​do​ ​that​ ​everyone​ ​has​ ​to​ ​know​ ​about​ ​the​ ​SDGs. How​ ​can​ ​we​ ​reach​ ​people​ ​who​ ​are​ ​not​ ​yet​ ​aware​ ​of​ ​Agenda​ ​2030?​ ​How​ ​can​ ​we​ ​reach​ ​those​ ​people we​ ​don’t​ ​usually​ ​reach​ ​outside​ ​“our​ ​bubble”?​ ​​ ​How​ ​can​ ​we​ ​make​ ​data​ ​and​ ​topics​ ​like​ ​governance​ ​be interesting​ ​-​ ​or​ ​“How​ ​to​ ​make​ ​data​ ​sexy”?​ ​How​ ​can​ ​national​ ​and​ ​local​ ​ways​ ​of​ ​communicating​ ​the SDGs​ ​be​ ​devised?

The Festival will bring together diverse individuals and organisations including from governments, civil society, the UN, business, cities, academia as well as youth representatives and interested citizens. If you are interested in the SDGs, you should come to the Festival. It’s that simple.

Specifically, you will:

  • Acquire knowledge, build skills and learn about new tools that can help you to act more efficiently for Agenda 2030 in your daily tasks.
  • Meet diverse individuals and organizations with whom to partner to create synergies and help you better reach your organizational goals.
  • Be inspired by the creativity, dynamism and innovation, including elements you can take home to use in your local context.
  • Present your latest projects, achievements and approaches and let your fellow participants learn from you.

Through a variety of interactive, innovative formats, Festival participants will have the opportunity to share and showcase their latest actions towards achieving Agenda 2030, while learning from and networking with fellow actors in Sustainable Development.

The Festival will feature:

  • High-level plenary sessions, presentations, discussions and debates to share critical ideas and hear from keynote speakers;
  • Deep-dive immersive sessions into specific topics
  • Innovation hubs, interactive small-group sessions and the SDG Studio to showcase and discuss the work of wide variety of organizations and individuals;
    Skill-sharing and hands-on learning sessions which enable participants to receive tools and practical tips in different areas from top experts and practitioners;
    Interactive Festival Experiences going on throughout the three days to meet, exchange, learn and collaborate amongst all participants including UN Virtual Reality, the Knowledge and Innovation Fair and artistic performances and displays.

See highlights from the last edition of the Festival.

Do you have a story to tell? A project to share? A network to showcase? Then we want to hear from you!

In order to create a diverse, dynamic and inclusive event for the international SDG community, the UN SDG Action Campaign are calling for sessions, innovations, participants and… we want to recognize and celebrate some of your greatest achievements through the UN SDG Action Challenge Awards!

If you are interested in hosting a workshop, convening a discussion with specific stakeholders, hosting a hackathon, sharing practical skills and experiences or fostering a substantive discussion or interactive panel discussion around a thorny issue then – apply to host a session!

If you are interested in showcasing an interactive, innovative, digital or a project which harnesses cutting-edge tech – apply to host a booth at the Knowledge and Innovation Fair!

If you have an exciting project to showcase which has achieved demonstrable impact towards SDG Action, you might qualify for the UN SDG Action Challenge Awards! We are calling for the world’s storytellers, communicators, innovators, visualisers, connectors, mobilizers and includers to make themselves known! To find out more about the UN SDG Action Challenge Awards process, criteria and prizes, please visit the Awards page.

The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is hosted by the UN SDG Action Campaign. The first edition in 2017 was implemented in partnership with a wide array of organizations.

Partners are now being sought for the 2018 edition. The UN SDG Action Campaign is committed to working with many organizations from different regions and sectors to produce an event that is dynamic and innovative, and built on the best knowledge and experience.

Interested in helping co-design this edition of the Festival? To find out more about partnership opportunities please the Partnerships page.

We’ve given ourselves a 15-year deadline to achieve the SDGs and it’s going to take all of us, working together, to get the job done. We have 12 years left! Please do join us in Bonn in order to co-create ambitious actions to make Agenda 2030 become reality.

To find out more or to get involved please check the website at or contact the conference team at

Credit for photographs featured throughout the website from the 2017 Festival: photothek/Ina Fassbender