Thank you for making the Festival possible!

We would like to thank every single person and organization that made the success of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development possible!

A huge thanks to all our partners, speakers, exhibitors and supporters for their time, effort and support – together we have this important moment firmly embedded in the calendar of all SDG stakeholders year on year.

The Festival was supported by

  • German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • German Federal Foreign Office
  • BMW Foundation

Host: UN SDG Action Campaign

Organizing partner: Engagement Global

Host City partner: City of Bonn

The festival was made possible by the UNDP Global Platform

Action Partners

  • JCI
  • EEAC
  • Econsense
  • United Nations Climate Change
  • Simpleshow foundation
  • Alumniportal
  • Canon
  • MY World 360
  • Transparency International
  • La Caixa Foundation
  • Oxfam
  • Global Call to Action Against Poverty
  • FIA Foundation
  • The Stockholm Act
  • Climate Neutral Now
  • International Labor Organization
  • African Youth SDGs Summit
  • Sustained Impact
  • Our Cause
  • Generation Why
  • The Sustainable Development’s Youth Association
  • Craddes
  • National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations
  • Child Health Initiative
  • GreenGo Web
  • Events Industry Council
  • GIZ
  • Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation
  • United Smart Cities
  • Action for Sustainable Development
  • The World We Want
  • FriEnt
  • Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding
  • COP23 Fiji Secretariat
  • MY World Mexico
  • Stiftung Mercator
  • Polis 180
  • Foraus
  • Mweva
  • German NGO Forum on Environment and Development
  • WECF Deutschland
  • AWO International
  • BEATGlobal
  • The Millennials Movement
  • Global Diplomacy Lab
  • German Council for Sustainable Development
  • Climate Alliance
  • Linkando
  • BBE
  • UNDP
  • World’s Largest Lesson
  • Believe Earth
  • European Union Agency for Fundamental Human Rights
  • DIE
  • Generation Initiative for Women and Youth Network (GIWYN)
  • ODI
  • United Nations Department of Public Information
  • OECD
  • UNIC Bogota
  • Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung
  • SDSN
  • The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on SDGs
  • Government of Catalonia
  • DW Akademie
  • UN Bonn
  • University of Leeds
  • UNV
  • World’s Best News
  • EDU Sim
  • Let’s Do It! World
  • German Development Institute
  • Bonn Fiji Youth Network
  • Global Benchmarking Alliance
  • Climate Planet
  • Energypedia
  • Peace Boat
  • Sustainable Development Youth Morocco
  • YouThink Center China
  • Sustainable Ideas Game (SIG) Team
  • United Nations Haiti (Jose Ignacio Martin Galan)

Film Festival Contributors

  • Peaceboat
  • BMW Foundation
  • Lensational
  • UN Kosovo
  • Sophie A Kanza Foundation
  • UNIC Bogota
  • Yoshimoto Co
  • UNDP Japan
  • Ocean Film Tour

Media Partners

  • Planeta Futuro
  • Deutsche Welle
  • Spark News
  • Weischer Media
  • Global Goalscast
  • Global Media Forum

Plenary Speakers

  • Mitchell Toomey, Director, UN SDG Action Campaign
  • Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • H.E. Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Government of Nigeria
  • Ashok Sridharan, Lord Mayor, City of Bonn
  • Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary UNFCCC
  • Yusuf Omar, Founder, Hashtag Our Stories
  • Y?, BEAT Instructor, BEATGlobal
  • Kaila Mullady, Instructor, BEATGlobal
  • María Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, General Director, Youth Institute, INJUVE
  • Hatim Aznague, Youth SDG Action, Morocco
  • Aya Chebbi, Founder and Chair, Afrika Youth Movement
  • Albert Askeljung, Project Officer, UNDP Nordic Office – Sweden
  • Parisa Zagat, Head of Policy Programmes, Oculus
  • Renata Faria, Founder, Medita Na Rua
  • Mohammed Badran, Founder and Director, Syrian Volunteers in the Netherlands
  • Lukas Berredo, Transrespect Officer, Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT)
  • Novia Sagita, Country Director, Yayasan Planet Indonesia
  • Shyama V. Ramani, Professorial Fellow, UNU-MERIT
  • Alejandra Agudo Lazareno, Planeta Futuro-El Pais
  • Kristin Gutekunst, Executive Producer, New Media, UN SDG Action Campaign
  • Juan Pablo Larenas, Co-Founder, System
  • Ambassador Ingrid Jung, German Federal Foreign Office
  • Alison Bellwood, Director, World’s Largest Lesson
  • Dina Buchbinder, Founder, Education 4 Sharing
  • Dave Smith, Unreasonable Goals
  • Foluke Michael, Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption
  • Richard Dzikunu, Youth Power Advocates Ghana
  • Lucile Stengel, Daughters of Bangladesh
  • Benjamin Charagu, Global Goals for Local Impact
  • Ashan Perera,  Road to Rights
  • Oli Henman, Global Coordinator, Action for Sustainable Development

UN SDG Action Awards Finalists

  • Nigeria in maps
  • Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption
  • The People’s Summit/Night Trek for the SDGs
  • NDC-SDG Connections
  • #SDGChallenge
  • The Stockholm Act
  • Unreasonable Goals
  • Casa de la Mujer Indígena “Mak Ujhani”
  • Youth 4 Global Goals
  • Social Cops
  • Together 2017
  • Circular Economy Club
  • Our Life 21
  • The Chef’s Manifesto
  • Daughters of Bangladesh
  • Translation of SDGs into local languages
  • Youth Power Accountability Advocates Ghana
  • Our Home Fiji
  • SDG Youth Action Morocco
  • #Companies4SDGs
  • Global Goals for Local Impact
  • Afrika Youth Movement
  • Shamba Chef
  • Zamisli 2030/Imagine 2030
  • Road to Rights
  • SDG Voices
  • Africa Youth SDG Summit
  • BEAT Global
  • 1 Million Impact Campaign
  • La Caixa Foundation: MY WORLD: Challenges for a better world
  • SDGs and digital realities
  • Global Business Coalition for Education
  • Accountability Advocates Zambia
  • AwazCDS/Pakistan Development Alliance
  • Sindh Community Foundation
  • SDG Youth Training Canada
  • Project Vayati
  • “Home” the movie
  • Goals On Wheels

UN SDG Action Awards Judging Panel and Presenters of Awards

  • Andre Damien, Director, The Collective Foundation
  • John Patrick Ngoyi, Life Fellow, Nigerian Conservation Foundation
  • Eva Murray, Head of Business Intelligence, Exasol
  • Tammy Lynne Gilmore, Senior Programmer for the social impact conferencing track, SXSW
  • Felix Zimmerman, OECD DevComm Coordinator
  • Francyne Harrigan, Chief, Development Section, Strategic Communications Division, Department of Public Information, United Nations
  • Bukhosi Moyo Sgabade, Project Director, Building Bridges Foundation
  • Markus Hipp, Director, BMW Foundation
  • Ulla Lohman, Photojournalist and Documentary Filmmaker
  • Marcelo Furtado, Co-Founder, Believe Earth
  • Karol Arambula, National Operations Coordinator, MYWorld Mexico
  • Cheryl Wannell, Chief Executive Officer, SAWA, Global Cinema Advertising Association
  • H.E. Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Government of Nigeria
  • Markus Braun, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany (BMZ)
  • Pradeep Monga, UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary
  • Olivier Adam, Executive Coordinator, UNV

Schools that participated in the World’s Largest Lesson: Bonn activation

  • Independent Bonn International School
  • Carl-von-Ossietzky-Gymnasium
  • Nicolaus-Cuanus-Gymnasium
  • Gesamtschule Euskirchen
  • Kardinal-Frings-Gymnasium
  • LVR-Christophorusschule Förderschule, Förderschwerpunkt Körperliche und Motorische Entwicklung

Honorable mentions

Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations (video message)

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Former Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Government of Germany

Ambassador Mobolaji Sakirat Ogundero, Deputy Head of Mission at the Nigerian Embassy in Berlin

H.E. Imitaz Ahmed, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Federal Republic of Germany

Special Contributors

UNFCCC for supporting communications outreach, supporting the Festival comms team on-site, providing registration services and event security.

The UN Bonn Common Information Unit and UNRIC for supporting the media outreach

The News and Media Division, UN TV and the Strategic Communications Division from the UN Department of Public Information for coverage, social media outreach, livestream and supporting on the SDG Studio.

Stadtwerke-Bonn and the Cologne-Bonn Airport for event publicity.

The amazing Festival volunteers

The creative & committed Story Scouters for supporting the comms team in capturing the festival stories.

All the participants who made the Festival an enriching experience, we hope to see you next year!

Festival MC

Nadira Hira

Musical Director

Jeremy Goddard



BEAT Global – Y? and Kaila Mullady

Pedro Greene, Tambores de Alma

Renata Faria



Neil Baynes


World Conference Center, Bonn


Broich Catering

The UN SDG Action Campaign Team

#SDGglobalFest: 6 Messages from Young Leaders Driving SDG Action

“Young people are the leaders of tomorrow” is a cliche that is so often used, yet so disconnected with the real world. What’s actually happening around the globe is that young people are no longer just sitting and waiting to be leaders. They are already driving change for the better, today, or as Aya Chebbi, Founder and Chair of Afrika Youth Movement, reminded us at the Opening Plenary, “Youths are drivers, not subjects, of development.”

On the second day of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, 6 young advocates who are leading SDG campaigns and platforms came together to share their experience in driving youth action, participation and engagement for the goals. Here are their messages to their fellow (and older) peers:

“We’re half the world’s population – half of the world’s population is under 30. When we start moving, we will move the world,” said Henrietta Flodell, Swedish UN Youth Delegate. She also made a call-to-action for young people, “to look beyond what we think of as the SDGs. I know we talk about them in all these international meetings, but to me it’s really about taking action at a local level.”

The importance of bottom-up action was echoed throughout the session. In the words of Ashan Perera, Founder of Road to Rights and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the #SDGAwards Ceremony, “As young people we need to understand and share what we do at a global level. But it’s also about truly making an impact to the ground, bringing the result to the policy- and decision-makers at their tables. Then we can actually get the commitment of our leaders today. Otherwise we would work hard, but at the end of the day, the situation is still the same.”

Karol Arambula, Founder and Director of MY World Mexico, also called for more local action – as well as conversation about how to do so: “We often talk about creating impact and taking action…But we barely talk about the mechanisms of how we knock the doors of our governors, our municipalities, our president.”

Taking action at the local level also means that people working for the SDGs – young and old alike – have to step out of their own “bubble,” because “…everyone here [at the Festival] are already passionate about the SDGs. We need to make sure we have impact on the people outside. We need to make sure we are using interesting ways to approach these people,” said Alex Wang, Director of Youthink Center China.

Breaking down silos can be a daunting task, but more and more young people are ready to shoulder the leading role in bringing together different stakeholders of all ages, as Chaimae Bourjij, Vice President of the Sustainable Development Youth’s Association, put it, “We are ready to share our concept notes, we are ready to share our ideas, we are ready to share our contacts to make the world a better place, to make the world a place where we can achieve the Agenda 2030, by building partnerships, by breaking the barriers between youth and international institutions, governmental institutions and NGOs.”

Changing the world sounds too intimidating? Yi Jun Mock, Project Leader Networks of SDSN Youth quoted a saying which goes “it only takes a spark to get the fire going.”

“None of us are going to change the world individually, but as long as each of us starts a spark somewhere in the world, we can change the world together,” he concluded.

Catch up on the full conversation if you haven’t already!




Canon Launches 2018 Young People Programme at UN’s Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development

London, UK – 22 March 2018 – Canon Europe, leader in imaging solutions, is officially launching this year’s Young People Programme for 2018 at this year’s Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development with the help of two of its student storytellers and the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Participants from the programme have appeared alongside Stuart Poore, EMEA Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs, Canon Europe, and Photojournalist and Canon ambassador Ulla Lohmann, on UN Web TV to share plans for the year ahead with Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign (Sustainable Development Goals).

Now in its fourth year, Canon’s Young People Programme seeks to contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs by giving young people a voice through harnessing the power of positive visual storytelling to drive change. The programme uses the SDGs as a framework to give young people the opportunity to talk about the global issues that affect their futures and by providing the right tools and coaching, it aims to bring participants’ stories to life. Canon Europe has been delivering visual storytelling workshops for young people since 2015, and to date, 14 countries across Europe have run events, reaching more than 3,000 students.

“The Young People Programme is a good example of how Canon Europe is seeking to make meaningful social investments across the EMEA region, demonstrating our commitment to our corporate philosophy of Kyosei: living and working together for the common good,” says Stuart Poore, EMEA Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs, Canon Europe.

“The Global Festival of Action is a great opportunity to give young people a voice about the need for positive change. We at Canon are incredibly proud to support the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, and are very excited to celebrate the inspiring work of our own Young People Programme student storytellers during the event.”

The Canon´s commitment with the SDGs through the Young People Program is a perfect example there are many organisations, companies and people truly engaged in creating real solutions to bring the SDGs forward. We cannot do this alone, we need the young people and we need to hear their voices, and include them in the action needed to achieve the Goals. I feel inspired by the amazing visual stories created by the Young People and look forward to finding what we will create together in the next chapters of this program. ” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by the UNDP to create awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empower and inspire people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will, and help make the Goals attainable by 2030.

From the 21st to the 23rd March, the UN SDG Action Campaign hosts the Global Festival of Action,  bringing together business leaders, activists, UN representatives, academics, government, global organisations and media from across the globe. This year Canon joins them and is supporting the event in several ways including hosting “how to” sessions, using Canon technology to print exhibition photography, promotional photo books, floor graphics, and banners;

The Power of the Visual Voice
Canon Ambassador, Ulla Lohmann held a ‘how to’ session, showing attendees all the ways they can use storytelling portraits to add strength to their SDG successes, get them heard, inspire others and drive continued support for their work. She’ll share how to build a story, make a personal connection with a subject and share the results with the wider world.

Humans of MY World
Canon’s exceptional printing technology brings a powerful exhibition of photography to life that shines a light on the real human stories behind the SDGs. Photography from the Young People Programme will sit alongside that of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Further information about Canon Europe’s Young People Programme is available at:

About the United Nations SDG Action Campaign
The United Nations SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in the SDG implementation. Building on innovative and impactful engagement techniques deployed since 2002, the UN SDG Action Campaign creates awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empowering and inspiring people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will to make them attainable by 2030.

About Canon Europe
Canon Europe is the EMEA strategic headquarters of Canon Inc., a global provider of imaging technologies and services. Canon Europe has operations in roughly 120 countries, with approximately 18,000 employees and contributes to around a quarter of Canon’s global revenues annually.

Founded in 1937, the desire to continuously innovate has kept Canon at the forefront of imaging excellence throughout its 80-year history and has commitments to invest in the right areas and capture growth opportunities. From cameras to commercial printers, and business consultancy to healthcare technologies, Canon enriches lives and businesses through imaging innovation.

Canon’s corporate philosophy is Kyosei – ‘living and working together for the common good’. In EMEA, Canon Europe pursues sustainable business growth, focusing on reducing its own environmental impact and supporting customers to reduce theirs using Canon’s products, solutions and services.

Further information about Canon Europe is available at:

MY World 360° – Empowering the next generation of SDG journalists through virtual reality

BONN, GERMANY (March 22, 2018) – At the Global Festival of Action, the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, Digital Promise Global, and Oculus announced a new partnership and the launch of the MY World 360° project. (View video of the announcement here.)

The partnership reflects a shared commitment to the idea that immersive technologies like virtual reality hold potential for experiential storytelling that spurs learning and action. MY World 360° invites young people worldwide to develop digital skills and create 360° media as a way to share their perspectives and advance positive action toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

MY World 360° ultimately aims to increase participation through a new expressive and immersive medium by young people and marginalized groups, and promote awareness and understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Engaging young people through a powerful learning experience to help them build new digital skills for a purpose, the program is open to global submissions, with additional activity planned in Germany, India, and the United States.

“The Sustainable Development Goals are an open call for all people to join together to create a more sustainable and equitable world,” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the United Nations SDG Action Campaign. “MY World 360° will empower young people with the language to describe challenges, the skills to document the SDGs in a local context and the knowledge to influence and make change. This will equip young people with the tools to have open dialogue with decision makers in their communities, hopefully inspiring the collaborative action needed to achieve the goals.”


Oculus, Digital Promise Global, and the UN SDG Action Campaign also announced today that MY World 360° will launch national pilot programs in Germany and India. A limited number of German and Indian schools and youth organizations will receive 360° video production equipment from Oculus, as well as targeted support from local media mentors.

In Germany, implementing partners for the national pilot include schools and youth organizations affiliated with the UNESCO Associated Schools Network and UNICEF. The implementing partner for the national pilot in India will be UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace.


Since 2016, Oculus, the virtual reality company, has partnered with Digital Promise Global, a non-profit organization working to spur innovation in education, through the 360 Filmmakers Challenge. Bringing virtual reality production tools to classrooms and youth organizations across the United States, the program has engaged more than two thousand students and over 20 awarded youth-produced films.

From 2012 through 2015, the UN SDG Action Campaign coordinated the MY World 2015, the UN Global survey that ensured 9.7 million people’s sustainable development priorities were included in the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The MY World 2030 project will continue to shine a light on people’s personal experiences around the world, ensuring they have a platform to have their say. MY World 360° will join a suite of storytelling projects which include the Humans of MY World, as well as immersive films promoted through UNVR.

The MY World campaign, the success of UNVR, and the youth-produced media from the 360 Filmmakers Challenge caused Oculus, Digital Promise Global, and the UN SDG Action Campaign to develop the idea for a global campaign for youth-produced 360° media for SDG awareness and action.

“Giving people the resources they need to highlight the issues they care about has been a goal of our partnership with Digital Promise Global, and we’re thrilled to be working with the UN SDG Action Campaign this year,” said Parisa Zagat, Head of Oculus Policy Programs. “By expanding this work internationally through this new initiative we hope to encourage even more young people to think about how technology can help them raise awareness for causes they believe in.”

“We are excited to partner with Oculus and the UN SDG Action Campaign to help young people around the world develop their digital skills,” said Karen Cator, President and CEO of Digital Promise Global. “By using emerging technology, more learners can bring their ideas and experiences to life in new and powerful ways.”


MY World 360° offers tools and resources to help participants learn about the SDGs, and to develop the skills needed to capture, edit, and share 360° media to represent their perspectives and their communities in an immersive and compelling way. Youth participants from around the world are eligible to contribute immersive media, including photography and film, to the open call for submissions to MY World 360°. Further details about tools, methods, and submission guidelines are available on the MY World 360° program page.

Notes to editors:

Digital Promise Global Press Contact:

Erica Lawton Weinschenk

Digital Promise



UN SDG Action Campaign Press Contact:

Marta Rojas

UN SDG Action Campaign


Oculus Contact:

Sinead Purcell

Oculus Communications





About the United Nations SDG Action Campaign

The United Nations SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, mandated to support the UN system-wide and the Member States on advocacy and public engagement in the SDG implementation. Building on innovative and impactful engagement techniques deployed since 2002, the UN SDG Action Campaign creates awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empowering and inspiring people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will to make them attainable by 2030.


About Digital Promise Global

Digital Promise Global is a nonprofit organization working to spur innovation in education. By working with educators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and leading thinkers, Digital Promise Global leverages technology, taps into research, and shares powerful stories to improve the opportunity to learn around the world. This work supports people’s development of learner agency, and their ability to operate in a global context. For more information, visit the Digital Promise Global website and follow @Global_DP for updates.

Winners of the first United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Awards announced

The Awards Ceremony honored winners in seven categories during the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany, highlighting transformative action for the SDGs around the world

March 21, 2018 (Bonn) – The winners of the first United Nations SDG Action Awards have been announced this Wednesday by the UN SDG Action Campaign, demonstrating the extraordinary momentum towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in different corners of the earth.

See photos of the Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony was held in tandem with the second edition of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany, and honored initiatives in the categories of communicator, connector, includer, innovator, mobilizer, storyteller, and visualizer.

“These are ‘Action’ Awards because we need more than words: our winners dared to believe and act for change. They are perfect examples of the wonderful work that’s happening around the world led by thousands, if not millions, of people”, said Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

The winning initiatives are fighting corruption in Nigeria, mobilizing Belgians to implement the SDGs in their daily lives, empowering children through photography and digital skills in Bangladesh, promoting human rights education in Sri Lanka and much more. Evidencing the multi-sectoral engagement to achieve the SDGs, the winners span over private and public sectors, as well as civil society and grassroots movements.

Over 700 nominations from 125 countries in 7 continents were submitted. An expert judging panel evaluated submissions against the degree to which actions were deemed to be transformative, inclusive and impactful.

In addition, an open vote was held on the website of the UN SDG Action Campaign where visitors could rate their favorite among the 38 finalists to win the People’s Choice Award.

“Great solutions for the world’s challenges can come from anywhere. We hope everyone is inspired by these stories and consider submitting their nominations for future Awards. These are the first winners of a community that will continue to grow”, said Toomey.


The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by the UNDP to create awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empower and inspire people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will, and help make the Goals attainable by 2030. For more information, please visit


The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is the world´s annual event to celebrate, empower, and connect the global community driving Action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Organised by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Festival connects an inspiring mix of business leaders, activists, UN representatives, academia, governments, innovators, global organisations, and the media from across the globe. Taking place in Bonn each year, the Festival provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools, and approaches to SDG action and connect organizations and individuals from different sectors and regions to exchange, build partnerships, and make the impact of their solutions scale.

#SDGglobalFest: 10 Best Moments of the Opening Plenary

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!


Why not Cryptocurrencies to fund the SDGs?

This week I am speaking at the Festival of Ideas about financing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the city level. Given the planets changing demographics, 54% of the world’s population live in the urban space, with expectations rising to 70% by 2030. What does this mean? It equates to cities bring the driving force to deliver the SDGs. This will inevitably put increasing pressure on cities: which are suffering globally from a decrease in financial resources and budget cuts. Thus, my thesis discussed here: cities need to become smarter and more innovative in finding ways to fund SDG projects.

I have always fretted about sustainability, impact or whatever the next name might be, where they employ financial tools that are staid, traditional and predicable. Indeed, sustainable finance has lagged behind mainstream financial innovation, focusing only on the equities market and market capitalisation via equities, until recently.

As the first Managing Director of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, I too, was focused on equities and measuring the level of Sustainable Development inherent in the value proposition of companies.

The development of new types of sustainable or green investment instruments has grown and received some well needed attention, specifically in the debt market, via recent social impact bonds and green bonds. MFIs and IFIs and charities, via balanced funds, all participating in getting into the act of looking at innovative ways of financing sustainable development activities. Indeed, I am of the opinion that environmental investment, SDG funding, sustainable funding and social impact funding would use every financial tool in the arsenal, including crowdfunding, to fund solution based projects: projects that will address and solve critical issues.

Although I am not an expert, I am going to propose something I consider very edgy, something that may not be even in the periphery of your traditional sustainable development professional: about harnessing the popularity of cryptocurrencies to fund SDG projects, whether at the local or international level. Taking the fervour further to create financial freedom and tap into new investors and financial participants. A IMPACTCoin, BitSDG, BlockChainSDG, SDGCoin, BitIMPACT… I’ve got more.

The raising of funds via cryptocurrencies can be used to support the SDGs, Environmental conservation and social impact.

Yes, I know what you are thinking, cryptocurrencies are complicated, challenging, are filled with kinks that still need to be sorted out, and at times are misaligned with what they were setup to fulfil. I posit to you, that sustainable finance needs to start looking beyond traditional financial tools and taking a page from the start-up playbook to explore innovative finance to move SDG financing forward.

The cryptocurrency for the SDGs should not be seen as different than other cryptocurrencies: open source, based on block chain technology, and support financial freedom, the only difference is that the funds raised will be used exclusively for SDG based projects – from supporting sustainable cities [SDG #11] to gender equality [SDG #5]. These projects to be supported by the UN via the United Smart City initiative [@unitedsmartcities].

What is the main complaint for cryptocurrency? What is the value of the currency? What is the value of anything. Fortunately, there are many ways that the inherent value of the environment, solution for social issues and justice is much clearer then the value of the currently traded cryptocurrency.

Also, every cryptocurrency is built on innovative block-chain technology which uniquely provides full transparency. Is that not what every environmentalist around the world, as well as social activist, is seeking? Building and maintaining a decentralised ledger? Why not use this, in some cases decades of databases, to establish a cryptocurrency? Think of the speed, security and amazing trust of the records; establishing value, value that one can visit and see positive solutions?

This IMPACTCoin can be traded on exchanges using the inherent value of the environment, as long as all agreed that the environment has value [which many, many, many do]. What is to stop active environmental and social investors legitimately speculate on the value of the environment/society/SDGs via a well-established cryptocurrency?

The cities need to raise funds, alternative to issuing municipal bonds. In some cities [most notably in France] there are many cities that have their own currency or value vouchers, easily exchanged for goods and services. Perhaps a cryptocurrency token could be used to pay for city level essential goods?

Cryptocurrency present a viable way for cities to fund SDG projects, especially those infrastructure and energy projects that do not have access to traditional funding avenues.

Bonn transport strike tomorrow but here are alternatives!

Please note – we have been informed that due to a strike there will be very limited public transport in Cologne and Bonn on Wednesday 21st and possibly also Thursday 22nd March. The operators KVB and SWB will have a strike from 3 am in the morning until Thursday morning. There will be no buses and trams on Wednesday.

We have pulled together some information on alternative transport options for these days below so that you will be able to make it to the venue: World Conference Center Bonn – Platz der Vereinten Nationen 2 – 53113 Bonn.

Regional trains to Bonn UN Campus Station
Deutsche Bahn (RB, RE, S-Bahn) and other trains are not affected and will run according to the timetable. The closest train station to the Festival site is Bonn UN campus (distance: 750 m). You can walk from there via Genscherallee and Heussallee. Please note that the station Bonn UN Campus is only serviced by regional trains. If you arrive at Frankfurt Airport the best connection is via Koblenz. You can change to regional trains to Bonn UN Campus there.

The following regional trains arrive at Bonn UN Campus:

  • From Cologne Central Station departing every 30 minutes
  • From Bonn Central Station – departing every 30 minutes

Please check the Deutsche Bahn website for further information. They also provide a great app helping to find the right train.

Regional buses:

The current status is that buses won’t be running within the Bonn/Cologne Area.

However, regional buses are running within the Rhein-Sieg Area (Siegburg, Troisdorf, etc.). Please check their website for bus times from there.

Taxi service:

MyTaxi app

You can also take a taxi to the venue. From Bonn Central Station to Platz der Vereinten Nationen it costs approx. 10 Euro.

Taxi Bonn:

+49(0)228 55 55 55
+49(0)228 19410

A+S Taxi: +49(0)228 2893493
ANM Taxibetrieb:
+49(0)228 243 77 92
Mietwagen Mönch: +4916096723458
Premium Drive:
+49(0)228 60884772

Bike rental:

You can rent a bike at the Bonn Central Station from Radstation Bonn for 10 Euro/day

It takes approx. 10 min cycling from Bonn Central Station to the venue.  

If the weather is nice you can also take a nice walk along the Rhine to the Festival site. From Bonn Central Station it will take about 40 minutes.

From Thursday on the public transportation will run normally again.

Tram line 16, 63 or 66 stop at Heussallee/Museumsmeile (distance: 250 m) and bus line no. 610 or 611 stop at Deutsche Welle/Heussallee (distance: 100 m).

Please check the Festival logistics page for detailed informations about the connections and times.

We really regret this situation and hope that this information will help you find your best alternative to come to the Festival site.

Please note – we will be starting the opening plenary at 9am sharp, please plan your routes accordingly.

We look forward to meeting you!

Eine UN Konferenz wie keine andere: Leaders aus der ganzen Welt zeigen beim zweiten Global Festival of Action wie man Nachhaltigkeit umsetzt

Als ganz neues Format einer Konferenz der Vereinten Nationen wird das Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development die neuesten Innovationen, Werkzeuge und Herangehensweisen vorstellen, die zur Erreichung der Nachhaltigen Entwicklungsziele beitragen können. Vom 21. bis 23. März 2018 wird es in Bonn Schlüsselakteure für nachhaltige Entwicklung zusammenführen.

Ausgerichtet wird diese zweite Ausgabe des Globalen Festivals erneut von der Kampagne der Vereinten Nationen für die Nachhaltigen Entwicklungsziele, unterstützt vom Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung. Das Festival ist nicht nur zahlenmäßig größer geworden, sondern auch mit Blick auf geographische und inklusive Teilhabe. Über 3.300 Anmeldungen aus 150 Ländern liegen vor. Über 1.000 Teilnehmende werden in Bonn dabei sein.

„Die Welt steht vor unglaublichen Herausforderungen. Doch zum ersten Mal gibt es auch einen innovativen Plan zu ihrer Bewältigung. Allerdings können wir als Vereinte Nationen das nicht alleine schaffen, sondern nur mit der Teilhabe und dem Engagement aller. Deshalb sind wir so froh darüber, dass es uns erneut gelingt, sehr unterschiedliche Schlüsselakteure aus Regierungen, Zivilgesellschaften, Organisationen der Vereinten Nationen, Städten, der Wirtschaft und der Wissenschaft in diesem dynamischen, inklusiven und innovativen Festival zusammenzubringen“, sagte der Weltdirektor der Kampagne zu den Nachhaltigen Entwicklungszielen, Mitchell Toomey.

„Weite Teile der Nachhaltigkeitsbewegung haben uns dabei unterstützt, diese zweite Ausgabe des Festivals auf die Beine zu stellen. In einem offenen Bewerbungsprozess flossen die Stimmen einer großen Vielfalt von Mitwirkenden in eine Plattform ein, in der sie sich in die Gestaltung der Veranstaltung einbringen konnten“, sagte Toomey. Weiterhin fügte er an, dass über 140 Programmbeteiligte ihre Erkenntnisse in rund 50 inhaltsstarke Programmpunkte und Workshops einbringen.

UN SDG Action Awards/Verleihung der Auszeichnung für Engagement für die SDGs

Eine weitere Neuerung im Festival 2018 ist die Auszeichnungszeremonie zur Verleihung der SDG-Preise. Zum ersten Mal werden hier Einzelpersonen, Organisationen, Gestalter des Wandels in ihrem Engagement gewürdigt, die sich erfolgreich der Herausforderung der SDGs stellen.

Eingebettet in das Festival, wird die Zeremonie zur Bühne für herausragende Innovatoren, Menschen, die andere mobilisieren, Netzwerker, Geschichtenerzähler, Bildschaffende und Einbeziehende aus aller Welt. Diese Menschen und Organisationen zu würdigen, von ihnen zu lernen und sie in ihrer Arbeit zu unterstützen, ist Sinn der Auszeichnung. Mehr als 700 Bewerbungen aus allen Kontinenten gingen ein und wurden von einer Expertenjury sorgfältig gesichtet.

Das Programm

Das in diesem Jahr neu konzipierte Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development greift viele Formate des vorausgegangenen Global Festival of Ideas auf, setzt aber weitaus stärkere Akzente auf konkretes Handeln und den Aufbau von Partnerschaften zur Umsetzung der Nachhaltigen Entwicklungsziele.

Das Hauptprogramm umfasst fünf Schlüsselthemen: innovative Herangehensweisen, Engagement von Bürgerinnen und Bürgern, Kommunikation der SDGs, Mobilisierung zum Handeln und gemeinschaftliches Handeln vieler Akteure.

Erlebnisorientierte Angebote wie virtuelle Realitäten, Workshops, Mitmachaktionen und eine bahnbrechende Auswahl von Filmen runden das Programm ab. Über das eigentliche Programm hinaus bietet das sogenannte SDG-Studio eine Reihe von kurzen, pointierten Talkrunden, Mehrgenerationeninterviews und Diskussionen während des gesamten Festivals.

An die Redaktionen:

Registrierung und mehr Informationen

Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf der Internetseite des Festivals, bei Facebook, Twitter und Instagram. Der offizielle Hashtag ist #SDGglobalfest.

Wenn Sie über das Event berichten möchten, geht es hier zur  Presseakkreditierung. Sollten Sie nicht persönlich teilnehmen können, finden Sie Live-Streams bei UN Web TV.

Über das Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development

Das Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Devevlopment ist das jährliche, weltweite Event, das die globale Nachhaltigkeitsbewegung zusammenbringt, feiert, stärkt und verbindet.

Organisiert von der Kampagne der Vereinten Nationen zur Umsetzung der SDGs und unterstützt vom Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, bringt das Festival eine inspirierende Mischung von Führungskräften aus der Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Regierung mit Aktivistinnen und Aktivisten, Innovationsvorreitern, globalen Organisationen und Medien aus aller Welt zusammen.
Jedes Jahr auf’s Neue schafft das Festival in Bonn einen dynamischen und interaktiven Raum für neueste Innovationen, Werkzeuge und Herangehensweisen zur Umsetzung der SDGs. Es baut Brücken zwischen Organisationen und Einzelpersonen aus verschiedensten Fachbereichen und Weltregionen und fördert Austausch, den Aufbau von Partnerschaften und die Verbreitung wirksamer Lösungsansätze.

Über die Kampagne der Vereinten Nationen für die Nachhaltigen Entwicklungsziele

Die Kampagne der Vereinten Nationen für die Nachhaltigen Entwicklungsziele (UN SDG Action Campaign) ist eine besondere Initiative des Generalsekretärs der Vereinten Nationen. Sie ist der Abteilung für Öffentlichkeitsarbeit der Vereinten Nationen zugeordnet und soll zum einen Bewusstsein für die Agenda 2030 schaffen, zum anderen Menschen in aller Welt inspirieren und bestärken in ihren Bemühungen zur Umsetzung der SDGs. Die Kampagne wirbt auch für eine Politikgestaltung, die eine Umsetzung der Ziele bis 2030 zu ermöglichen hilft.

Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter

Join the Festival via live-stream

If you’re not able to attend this year, no worries! You can still get inspired by our incredible speakers and participants.

  • All plenary sessions and contributions to the SDG Studio will be live streamed by UN Web TV. The live-stream will also be available on this website.
  • Follow the hashtag #SDGglobalFest and our accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for live material and behind-the-scenes coverage.
  • A team of content creators will be in the hunt for exciting stories to share with our digital audience.

We hope to meet you in person at the next Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development!