5 Takeaways From The SDG Global Festival of Action 2019


3 min 🕐

The SDG Global Festival of Action (the GFA) is an annual event organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign devoted to the SDGs attainment. It took place in Bonn, Germany on May 2–4th and brought together governments, local authorities, international organizations, activists, creatives and private sector from all over the world to share ideas and experiences, to inspire and get inspired, and, moreover, to coordinate joint efforts towards the SDGs attainment.

5 main takeaways from the Festival:

Meeting people and hearing their stories about the violence they’ve witnessed or experienced, deforestation in their area, poverty in their community, devastating corruption in their country is awakening. The numbers turn into impactful stories which highlight the urgency of the SDGs action. For example, the Amazon deforestation shown in the documentary by Estevao Ciavatta, Amazon Inc is indeed frightening.

We are on the brink of another moment, a climate moment. This is not a future projection — it is happening right now,” mobile journalist Yusuf Omar.

Discussing the urgency of addressing the SDGs during the Panel Discussions

To achieve the SDGs by 2030, we all have to work together — governments, companies, individuals, non-profits, universities, organizations. Without collaboration, it is close to impossible to make the Goals a reality. Estevao Ciavatta, Brazilian film director, outlined it best: “Humans are like rivers: they get bigger and stronger when they get together”.

“Humans are like rivers: they get bigger and stronger when they get together”

Citizens and civic organizations are the main drivers of change and progress on the SDGs. The SDG Action Awards, aimed at recognizing the efforts towards the SDGs attainment, this year received more than 2000 applications. It means more than 2000 action-driven solutions and initiatives from all over the world, out of which only 8 became the winners. Among those eight, there is Red Dot Foundation (India) which offers Safecity — a platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. It aims to make cities safer through the use of crowdsourced data, community engagement and institutional accountability. Another winner was Follow The Money (Nigeria) which offers the solution to trace the money allocated for social development and has already impacted more than 2 million African people and tracked over 10 million dollars.

Hamzat Lawal, Follow The Money Founder, receiving the Award.

To get to know all the SDG Action Awards winners, read here.

There is a gap between ignorance and awareness as well as between awareness and action. For example, did you know that only 10% of the world population know about the SDGs?

Good news is that it is easily fixable with the help of modern technologies. Each of us can make use of social media and applications to convey the message and spread awareness more quickly and efficiently. It just requires a bit of creativity. For example, the United Nations climate campaign Act Now uses AI to encourage individuals to take and register their climate actions.

Another example of an online campaign is Augmented Reality #IAmSDG Campaign

Eddie Ndopu is an inspiring example of how anyone has a part to play in bringing change. Eddie is the first African with a degenerative disability to graduate from Oxford University and next year, he is planning to be the first disabled person to travel to space. Nowadays, Eddie is a prominent speaker and UN Secretary-General Sustainable Development Goals Advocate. “We are not just the beneficiaries of this Agenda, we are the leaders of this Agenda” — said Eddie Ndopu at SDG Studio.

Eddie Ndopu giving his speech at Global Festival of Action Closing Session