The SDG Global Festival of Action is designed by and for the international SDG action community to meet and connect, to share, experience and learn from the latest thinking, ideas, approaches and practices to be better equipped to advance the Goals together.

With this in mind, the 2020 edition of the Festival will feature new formats tailored to make available to participants tangible learning, take-aways and opportunities to strengthen the impact of their work, and build new alliances and networks with like-minded individuals and organisations.

The Big Picture

A selection of high level plenaries, held across the course of the Festival, will bring together all participants with leaders from the UN, national and local governments, progressive thinkers, activists and well known change-makers, to discuss the political landscape, the importance of collaboration, how local solutions can lead to global transformation, and on how to harness the power of the ‘SDG Generation’ for the Decade of Action.

Location: Plenary Hall, World Conference Centre
Format: High-level plenary sessions

Knowledge building

Sharing transformative action insights

These multi-stakeholders panels will feature SDG partners from all sectors and disciplines to share tangible actions, key learnings and project insights. These conversations will take place through 60-minute, high level multi-sectoral panels –hosted in the Plenary Hall across the course of the Festival. These fireside chats will convene a range of C-suite and senior officials to share the latest thinking and approaches from a range of sectors, taking important action to achieve the SDGs.

Location: Plenary Hall, World Conference Centre

Catalysing the Decade of Action

This dedicated track of substantive sessions will make available the latest research, policy insights, campaigning opportunities and political framing of the core priorities of the Decade of Action: Climate action, Gender Equality and Fighting Inequalities by expert and change-makers from across sectors.

Location: Bonn Hall, World Conference Centre
Format: Substantive deep dives

Inspiring a new normal

The ‘inspire’ track will provide the space for stakeholders to share the latest ideas that can trigger transformative shifts, whether through art and creativity; technology advancements from one sector to another, or business models that measure success on business for good as much as business for profit. The goal of these new track of sessions is to explore tide-turning methodologies for SDG action that will inspire others to adopt revolutions in thinking, acting and doing, beyond business as usual.

Location: Berlin Hall, World Conference Centre
Format: Project insights and knowledge sharing

Ideation and up-skilling

Innovation incubation labs

These new track with a focus on transforming local action into global impact, is making available the latest innovations with the potential to go to scale from UN agencies, partner-led in-country based teams and labs, private sector, tech and social entrepreneurs.

These design-thinking workshops will be dedicated to incubating ideas and approaches, whilst providing the opportunity for participants from across the SDG action spectrum to learn from the latest ideas, and approaches at a local level, and share their inputs to support the incubation of novel approaches.

Location: INNOVATION INCUBATION LAB, World Conference Centre
Format: Hands-on workshops

"How to" sessions

Back by popular demand, the ‘How to’ track of sessions will equip participants with tangible skills. These workshops will be led by industry’s experts in the subject matter. These hands-on skill building sessions will teach participants how to conduct a voluntary local review, how to create an augmented reality campaign, how to develop a project pitch, how to tell a story, build a narrative, reach beyond the usual suspects in your campaigns – a whole range of practical skills that each contribute to building, expanding and sustaining momentum of SDG Action as we enter the Decade of Action.

Location: HOW TO HALL, World Conference Centre
Format: Specialist skill building workshops

Connections and meetings

Uniting SDG actors and innovations

Each year the SDG Global Festival of Action unites stakeholders from around the world, from across sectors and disciplines with a range of experiences and insights. Every festival participant is looking to meet new people, build new partnerships, generate new ideas, foster new collaborations, learn new skills and expand their networks in the SDG world! The 2020 Festival will host dedicated spaces and sessions designed to foster meaningful networking, connections and partnerships.

Location: NETWORKING ZONE, World Conference Centre
Format: Facilitated networking sessions

Demo Spaces

Within a Festival that is designed for and by the SDG action community, the central ethos is that all participants are active engagers in the content and discussions. This is not a conference for the casual observer! To provide the opportunity for spontaneous programming, pop-up presentations, pitches, knowledge sharing and un-conference style interventions, three demo spaces will be positioned throughout the venue where participants book 15-minute time slots.

Format: Pop-up presentations and pitches

Strategy sit-downs

This year’s Festival programme will offer networks and alliances the opportunity to host their own strategy meetings on the fringe of programme.Networks and alliances are invited to mobilize their own teams, constituencies, stakeholders and partners and host dedicated meetings on the fringes of the Festival programme, leveraging the SDG convening event of the year!

Location: SIT DOWN MEETING ROOM, World Conference Centre
Format: Closed door network and alliance meetings

Broadcasting and disseminating

SDG Live Studio

Every year, this unique stage brings the speakers and the most innovative and creative ideas coming out of the Festival to the wider world. Positioned in the lobby area, the SDG Studio features various formats, from Action Talks, to influencer interviews, and strategic launches and announcements from the SDG action community. Broadcast live on UN Web TV, the SDG Studio provides a platform for participants, inspiring speakers and key stakeholders to bring their SDG actions, commitments and stories to a global audience.


  • Action talks
    10-minute TED-style talks that deliver human, storytelling style presentations that challenge the audience’s understanding of key issues
  • Influencer interviews
    High level, influential and expert speakers will be interviewed by a range of activists, YouTubers, storytellers and journalists to draw out the unseen insights and untold stories behind the figure, and the experience or the message shared through their engagement in other sessions across the festival.
  • Launches and announcements
    15–30 minute segments, shaped through flexible format styles designed to announce or launch the latest commitments, projects, funding grants, awards programmes, and partnerships which will be of interest to Festival goers and online audiences
Location: Main Lobby, World Conference Centre

Media Zone

At the epicentre of new and novel SDG content, inspiration, ideas, influencers, change-makers and announcements, a dedicated zone will be featured for media outlets, partners, leaders and practitioners to harness the rich and diverse stories and news coming out of the Festival experience. The media zone will feature interview spaces, studio set-ups and the Festival’s team of SDG content creators to identify, and disseminate key messages and insights. This dynamic space will provide media partners with unparalleled access to the Festival programme and content, enabling them to draw out meaningful, newsworthy content from all that the Festival has to offer.

Location: Second floor viewing platform + Birds nest, World Conference Centre

Experiencing and exploring

Immersive and interactive exhibitions

Each year, the SDG Global of Festival of Action showcases the latest interactive and immersive experiences as part of the dedicated Exhibition Zone. For the 2020 edition, the Exhibition Zone will provide hands-on experiences aligned with the Festival theme. Featuring art showcases, live performances, live demonstrations, installations, VR and AR experiences, this dedicated space will provide a feast for the eyes, the ears and the mind to delve into the future we need to build across the Decade of Action!

Location: Exhibition Zone, World Conference Centre

Evening Celebrations

SDGs Alive: Networking reception and innovation showcase

To welcome 2020 Festival participants in style, all attendees will be invited to join a networking reception in the main lobby at the World Conference Centre, where the exhibition zone will come alive! With live demonstrations, performances, immersive experiences and art exhibitions, the networking reception and innovation showcase will kick-start the much anticipated connections between participants and exploration with SDG innovations.

Date & Time: Wednesday 1 April 18:00–20:00
Location: Main Lobby, World Conference Centre

SDG Spectacular: Signature social and cultural event

Back by popular demand, the second evening of the Festival will see the SDG Global Festival of Action’s signature social and cultural event along the Rhine river! This memorable evening of art, music, performance, food and refreshments along the Rhine river will allow Festival goers to continue their networking and conversations with new and old friends while enjoying this amazing cultural experience.

Date & Time: Thursday 2 April 18:00–22:00
Location: Boat Celebration, Depart and return at the back of the World Conference Centre, River Rhine