Ready to get your hands dirty? Our innovations and exhibits list are out!

As every year we’ve selected the most transformative and inspiring games, artistic exhibitions, innovations and more led by the SDG community to let participants watch, see and learn about SDG Action. See what amazing experiences await you and secure your place at the Festival.

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Finally… the SDG Global Festival of Action program is out!

We are only 6 weeks ahead of one of the most inspiring and energising SDG moments of the year! And thanks to the SDG community we’ve got a packed program full of workshops and interactive sessions with everything needed from learning new skills to connecting with partners and build the much-needed coalitions to advance action on the SDGs. Here’s a sample of the diversity of interactive sessions that awaits you each day…

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The UN SDG Action Campaign calls to SDG advocates, creators, influencers & stakeholders to co-design the 2019 Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development

The UN SDG Action Campaign launches its call to SDG advocates, creators, influencers & stakeholders to co-design the program of its annual Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, taking place in Bonn, 2-4 May 2019.

The Festival will bring together leaders from governments, local authorities, international organizations, civil society, activists, young advocates, the creative industry and the private sector to scale up the impact of their work and strategize joint actions, whilst motivating new organizations and individuals to join the movement and take action for the SDGs.

A crowdsourced Festival to scale up SDG Action

Within the overall aim to mobilize, inspire and connect key stakeholders to further SDG action, the 2019 Festival will be curated around 7 interconnected themes: mobilization, storytelling, campaigning, harnessing the power of data, engaging and building networks, leaving no-one behind and creativity.

The Sustainable Development Goals will only be achieved if everyone takes action.” says Marina Ponti, Director a.i. of the UN SDG Action Campaign, “The 2019 edition of the Festival comes at a time where critical SDG milestones are on the horizon at the international level. As the global community approaches the ’10 years to go mark’, now is the time for actors at every level to renew their commitment towards achieving the goals together.”

The Global Festival of Action is co-designed, co-curated and co-owned by the SDG Action community for the SDG Action Community. Plenaries, thematic sessions, immersive experiences, performances and more: the 2019 Festival will feature a variety of formats to further understanding and awareness, build practical skills and networks and become inspired by SDG Leaders. Each active stakeholder in the event will become a much needed and much appreciated Action Partner of the Festival.

How to be part of the program

To create a diverse, dynamic and inclusive event, sessions, new projects, the latest creative endeavours, innovations, immersive experiences, films and art exhibits and performances can be submitted through an online application until 14 Jan 2019. General registration for Festival-goers will open on 15 January 2019.

Stay tuned for exciting announcements, the open call for the UN SDG Action Awards and some of the most inspiring Festival stories. Follow @SDGAction and #SDGglobalFest to stay up to date and help us bring the Festival to a broader audience or go to

Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development  2018 – In Numbers

  • Over 1500 diverse participants from over the world – representing government, youth, activists, the private sector, artists, cities and more – join us each year.
  • More than 30,000 people from 158 countries join digitally through the livestream
  • Over 66 million interactions on social media made the Festival and SDGs trend
  • Over 100 sessions, workshops, experiences, innovations and exhibitions showcased

More information & media enquiries:

Festival Video

Festival Photos

Communications Package

Go to and follow #SDGglobalFest and @SDGAction

Media Contact
Marta Rojas,  Communications Lead UN SDG Action Campaign /  T: +49 228 815 2682

#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.

#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!


Finalists announced for first-ever United Nations SDG Action Awards

Bonn, Germany, 22 March  – The finalists of the first-ever United Nations SDG Action Awards have been announced today, in recognition of the most outstanding efforts to inspire action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For a complete list of finalists go to

Organized by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, the Awards acknowledge initiatives in seven categories: mobilizer, includer, communicator, visualizer, innovator, storyteller and connector. The winners will be announced at the SDG Action Awards Ceremony on 21 March during the second edition of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development. The festival is the world’s annual gathering to catalyze action for the SDGs and happens in Bonn, Germany, from 21-23 March 2018.

“The challenges we are facing are huge, but in this first edition it became clear that there are people, businesses, organizations and governments creating positive change and having an exceptional impact in their communities”, said Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

“We need to celebrate these bold and creative change-makers, learn from them and connect them to ensure they can scale and inspire others. In this first year of the UN SDG Action Awards, we have had tight competition. All nominees should be immensely proud of what they have achieved,” added Toomey.

The Awards recognize the need to learn from change-makers from across the globe and celebrate the most impactful and innovative achievements contributing to the global sustainable development movement.

The first edition of the UN SDG Action Awards received over 740 nominations from 7 continents and 125 countries, ranging from Zambia to Fiji, from Benin to Norway. Members of different sectors of society have competed, including civil society and grassroots initiatives, public sector and municipal government projects, as well as private sector engagements. Finalists are being carefully reviewed by 12 prominent figures within the global SDG community.

See the full list of finalists

Images of all the finalists