The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development just kicked off today at the World Conference Centre Bonn – and it’s not the usual (boring) kind of conference you’d expect. In the words of Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Director of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Festival is “colourful” and “unconventional” which is “exactly what we need [to achieve the SDGs].”

If you are not in town for the Festival, or missed out the webcast earlier, here are the best moments at the opening plenary for you to get a taste of the Festival:

1/ Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, opened the Plenary with an overview of what the Festival is like: it’s action-oriented, co-created by participants on-site and behind the screen.

2/ We received a lot of love from Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of United Nations! In the video message, she invited all “doers and drivers” at the Festival “to overcome barriers and create systemic change – together.”

3/ Climate change is related to all 17 SDGs, which is why we had Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to encourage every one to get on board for Agenda 2030.

4/ H.E. Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire from Nigeria also called for more collaboration and inclusive action. This concluded the high-level speeches – read on to learn the fun stuff at the Plenary!

5/ The mobile phone is not only a tool to share our stories, but also a powerful agent of change. Yusuf Omar, Co-Founder of Hashtag Our Stories, gave us a quick tutorial on how to create impactful mobile stories, while actually demonstrating it on stage – it’s just that easy!

6/ How can we take a global agenda like the SDGs, translate it to a local policy, and make real impact on people’s lives?  María Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, General Director of Youth Institute INJUVE, shared the success story of the MYWorld Mexico project:

7/ Youth leaders are rocking the stage! Aya Chebbi, Founder and Chair of Afrika Youth Movement shared with us that “our voice, our power, and our solidarity” are the secrets to the success of any global action!

8/ Need to get focused before a long day of talks and workshops? The Plenary had you covered – with Renata Faria, Coordinator of Medita Na Rua leading a group meditation to kick start the day.

9/ Who would have expected the Plenary was “rapped-up” with a beatboxing performance by Y? and Kaila Mullady from BEATGlobal?! Turn on the audio to rap along!

10/ Think the Plenary would end with the conventional, everyone-waving-at-the-camera group photo? Think again! The main goal of the Festival is to foster partnerships and networks to accelerate action for the SDGs – that’s why we were given ribbons to pass around – and formed a colourful network that connected us all!

Follow #SDGglobalFest for more live-updates of the Festival!


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