The fifth SDG Global Festival of Action, powered by the UN SDG Action Campaign, finds new ways to inspire, mobilize and connect people and organizations to take action on the SDGs. In light of the pandemic, the Festival was held in a dynamic virtual space with six different stages, featuring plenary sessions, lightning talks, performances, interactive workshops, exhibitions and a space to connect with leaders, changemakers, activists, private sector and more.

This year also included the first regional spin-off edition – the SDGs Global Festival of Action from Japan, highlighting local SDG efforts by various stakeholders and experts. And last but not least, the SDG Action Awards Ceremony celebrated transformative projects that accelerate action towards the Goals and was held on 25 March. 

A community of thousands of other inspiring individuals, SDG stakeholders and policy makers, took the opportunity to network and share your vision. Have a look at the Festival highlights.

The Festival:

Bring together key partners and individuals to exchange knowledge, increase mutual understanding, develop solutions and mobilize ideas to take action toward the SDGs.

Provide a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, new ideas, tools, and approaches to SDG implementation.

Inspire decision-makers, civil-society, organizations, and activists to drive action for sustainable development now and in the future.

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We must make 2021 a turning point for people and the planet! COVID-19 has turned our life upside down, and it urges everyone to work together towards a better recovery, keeping the SDG’s as our ‘north star’ and blueprint for transformative action. 

The time has never been more critical to equip people with the tools needed to cope with the new reality and address our most pressing challenges. And we have the blueprint for transformative action: the Sustainable Development Goals.

Let’s seize the moment and show that transformation is possible and every individual action matters. These actions require bold approaches, bold ideas, and raising our collective ambition.

2021 will be the time for accelerated action that sets the world on the right course. We can write a new social contract, together, that is fair and just for everybody, and make bold, ambitious plans to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. However, this window will not be open forever so we must do all we can to move quickly and decisively and #TurnItAround for people and planet.


MOBILIZE Everyone, Everywhere

Advocates, campaigners, and changemakers at all levels by equipping them with the latest policy insights, cutting-edge research, and big ideas, along with the most creative and innovative tools that can inspire people to take action.

INSPIRE Action for the Goals

Leaders across sectors and individuals to “do things differently” and #TurnItAround for the Global Goals


Keep people involved. SDG actors from across the world build capacity, share knowledge, and form and strengthen networks during this time of physical distance, when community connections are most needed to deepen engagement and action together.

Who attended the Festival?

Each year the SDG Global Festival of Action brings together youth activists, social entrepreneurs, tech innovators, filmmakers, and cutting-edge creatives to interact with each other, as well as with mayors, civil society networks, private sector companies, media, government, and UN leaders. 

Our audience joined us from 200+ countries, and 24,499 participants with 53% women and with large civil society organizations, youth, activists, and academia engagement – from the global south in particular. Many participants were already taking action for the SDGs, and the Festival aims to inspire and connect people to learn from each other and scale up efforts around the world


On 25 and 26 March, the full Festival program took place on the virtual platform, including workshops, networking spaces, exhibits, and more.

Live and pre-recorded sessions featured on the Main Stage were in English. simultaneously translated into French and Spanish, and signed in International Sign Language for full accessibility and streamed live only in English on UN Web TV, UN Youtube, and SDG Action Campaign Social media. On the Japan Stage, sessions will be in English and Japanese and signed in International Sign Language.


We are at a turning point for people and the planet

If we act collectively, we can accelerate progress towards the Goals, particularly around inequalities, climate change and gender. These three issues, if not addressed, will further undermine our societies.

Transformative change is possible

As leaders across sectors are back at the drawing boards to define how to restart economies and redesign societies. There is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold action to achieve the Goals, counter the case to build back previous systems and work towards a more just, green and sustainable world.

Individual actions can unleash tremendous power for good

As COVID-19 demonstrates. Individual action has tremendous impacts in halting the pandemic, and in propelling required shifts in the ways we consume, produce and live. Each one of us can start a butterfly effect for the SDGs.

Global solidarity is an imperative gaining momentum

As reconfirmed by the results of the UN75 global conversation. Citizens value solidary and international cooperation. This kind of spontaneous solidarity movement lifts hopes and galvanizes momentum. It says we can turn in a new direction and stay the course – past the pandemic, all the way to 2030 and beyond, with the conviction that despite being physically distant, we are stronger together.


The Festival provoked debate and drove action around four cross cutting themes highlighting ideas, approaches and solutions, for climate action, poverty & inequality, gender equality, and inclusive systems and finance. We must make 2021 a turning point for people and planet!

#TurnItAround for

2021 is a critical year for nature and biodiversity, and climate action requires bold and transformative leaps forward as the world races to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, combat deforestation, protect biodiversity and achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

#TurnItAround for

A central tenet in moving the Agenda forward is gender equality, because gender discrimination is not only wrong, but harms us all by undercutting the intelligence and experience of over half of humanity.

#TurnItAround for

inclusive systems and sustainable finance:
We must rethink the global economy and power structures by adopting inclusive and sustainable finance systems that align with the SDGs, and stop perpetuating wide-scale discrimination and exclusion.

#TurnItAround for

& Inequality:
This past year, we have witnessed rising poverty and inequalities around the world. Through universal health coverage, safety nets, justice and human resilience, the world must never again be in a position of such acute vulnerability.

Media Advisory

Download the Media Advisory in English, French and Spanish



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