Now entering its fifth edition, the UN SDG Global Festival of Action is the SDG global community’s annual meeting place, powered by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Government and partners from all sectors and regions. Its overall aim: find new ways to inspire, mobilize and connect people and organisations to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Previous in-person editions brought together more than 10,000 SDG change-makers resulting in accelerated solutions, tools and networks coupled with renewed enthusiasm and ambition to achieve the Goals.

The 2020 Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19, but in 2021, the UN SDG Action Campaign will turn around the challenges posed by the pandemic. Building on the success of the virtual SDG Action Zone at the UN General Assembly in September, we will boost the reach, engagement and impact of this flagship initiative, designed by and for the SDG global community. We will leverage technology, digital opportunities and partnerships, and take the event forward in a virtual home. The Festival will bring together a range of partners and initiatives, including the SDG Action Awards Ceremony – shining a spotlight on the class of 2020, and a dedicated track of sessions will be curated by our Japanese partners – the SDG Global Festival of Action from Japan. This new feature will broaden geographic engagement and participation and test a new mode of partnership.

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The world now faces the deepest global health, social and economic crises in a century, coupled with the growing destruction of biodiversity, the worsening impacts of the climate crisis, increasing and intersecting inequalities, and threats to fundamental rights. Hard-won development gains are at serious risk of reversal.

All this means we are at a turning point for people and our planet. This is a moment where transformation is possible, and every individual action matters. The choice is ours to make, in our own lives and collectively.

Fortunately, we have a clear roadmap and vision for a better recovery  – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda is a comprehensive, ambitious, global vision for progress centred on human rights, and the notion that development should be inclusive and sustainable over time. 

Organizations and leaders have started to join the collective call to #TurnItAround for a just, green and equitable recovery from the pandemic, and towards realizing the SDGs. Specific calls have been made to #TurnItAround for key issues such as access to health and education; addressing poverty, inequality, hunger and climate change; rethinking the global economy; and putting an end to gender-based violence and violations of human rights. Over 1 million people want the United Nations and world leaders to tackle these concerns, according to the global UN75 consultation.

Less than a year ago, when the UN Secretary-General launched the Decade of Action, the transformative change required to achieve the SDGs may have been seen as too costly or difficult. Now it is understood as indispensable. Bold action requires bold approaches, and bold ideas. At a time when communities across the world are more isolated than ever before, when traditional campaigning, mobilizing and convening are held at bay by the pandemic response, the time has never been more critical to equip people with the tools needed to push harder and further to reinvent failing systems, following the blueprint of the SDGs.

Our Theory of Change

We are at a turning point for people and the planet

and 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.
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.

The SDG Global Festival of Action brings together traditional UN constituencies with change-makers from every field, every sector and every corner of the earth.

Speakers are experts in their field, leading figures and effective activists representing a wide range of perspectives in society including diversity across sectors, geography, gender, race, religion, cultures and more.

These voices are inspirational leaders, national and local government representatives, young people, business, academia, multilateral organisations, civil society, activists, advocates, media, journalists, entrepreneurs, sports organisations, creatives, UN agencies, faith leaders, voluntary networks – movers, shakers, doers, connectors and multipliers!


your interest now to join the SDG Global Festival of Action

You will be notified when registration opens in early 2021 and for different ways to engage!