The three-day Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is Bonn’s annual SDG event to connect the global community and drive action for the Sustainable Development Goals. The festival is organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign, with support rendered by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Federal Foreign Office. The event provides an interactive space to showcase innovation as well as the different approaches to SDG implementation. It offers a dynamic platform for exchange for organizations and individuals alike and an opportunity for building new partnerships to address the challenges of our time.

Mayor Sridharan opened the conference, welcoming over roughly 1,500 participants at the World Conference Center Bonn. The City of Bonn also took part by organizing a special workshop during the festival, in cooperation with four other cities of the EUROCITIES network: Malmö, Stuttgart, Ghent and Utrecht.

The Global Festival of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals
The Global Festival of Action brings together business leaders, activists, UN representatives, scholars, governments, innovators, global organizations, and the media to approach problems from different angles and to step up collective action at all levels. The UN SDG Action Campaign, as the host and organizer of the annual festival, has made an attempt to make the group of participants as eclectic as possible, while pushing for the Global South to be more represented during the event. At the same time, the ecological footprint of the international and interactive meeting is to be kept at a minimum.

While the first edition of the Festival that took place last March was entitled Global Festival of Ideas, this year’s second edition of the event focused on turning these ideas into action. The Festival brought together 1,500 participants from over a hundred 100 countries. More than 30,000 people watched the livestream in 158 countries and the Festival was a trending topic on Twitter in Germany. Most of all, it was the multiple voices and great solidarity that the Festival-goers were taking home from the event.

Workshop for cities: piloting the SDGs within the EUROCITIES network
Bonn, Malmö, Stuttgart, Ghent and Utrecht are members of EUROCITIES and form part of an informal working group promoting the SDGs within the EUROCITIES network. The workshop was organized under the headline ‘Cities and Citizens: Cooperating on the Global Goals’ and attracted a greater number of participants. The focus was on enhancing the scope and visibility of Agenda 2030 activities at the local level. Using the five member cities as an example of cities that have placed the SDGs prominently on their local agendas, the goal was to provide inspiration and send out an impulse to other cities around the globe. By facilitating a cross-sectoral dialogue between representatives from local government, civil society and the private sector, the workshop provided an opportunity to share achievements and challenges of local-level cooperation with various stakeholders. In rotating groups, ideas were discussed on how to improve dialogue between municipalities, civil society and businesses, for instance, or on how to promote action among citizens, businesses and municipal institutions. The main impulses were presented to the plenary.

Recognizing outstanding achievements and innovative efforts: UN SDG Action Awards
For the first time this year, individuals and organizations were recognized with the UN SDG Action Award for their extraordinary commitment for the implementation of the SDGs. The expert panel had received a total of seven hundred applications for the prizes, which were awarded in seven categories. Mayor Sridharan also attended the award ceremony and addressed the laureates. The only European awardee was the City of Ghent, which was recognized in the Communicator category for its SDG Voices campaign, challenging cities in Belgium to encourage and mobilize their citizens to implement the SDGs in their daily lives. This initiative involved 23 different Ghent city services and departments as well as 6,000 citizens in six cities and many others via the social media.

Kids learn about the SDGs: UN teaches ‘the largest class in the world’
Several schools in Bonn and the region took part in what is to become the ‘largest class in the world’. In the framework of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, this new UN action was tested for the first time in Germany. The special class on the Sustainable Development Goals is to become a lesson that will be taught all over the world, with the students becoming multipliers for sustainability worldwide.

Coming up in May and June: SDG Action Days in Bonn
Raising awareness for Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their implications for local action in Bonn will be in the focus of the SDG Action Days, which will be organized for the first time in the city this year in the larger framework of the German and European Sustainability Days. This new format in Bonn will present and bundle local SDG-related activities by making use of some traditional large spring events in Bonn that draw a large crowd. Moreover, there will be additional events and cultural offers highlighting the different aspects of the SDGs. A special emphasis will be placed on showing what every one of us can do to render a contribution in our daily life. The detailed program for the SDG Action Days (from 27 May to 10 June) will be available online in May. Stay tuned!

Save the date:
Global Day of Action on 25 September

Third round of the Festival from 6 to 8 March 2019
Let us jointly push for change! Help us create ambitious actions that will make Agenda 2030 a reality!

Learn more about the Festival: www.globalfestivalofaction.org
Learn more about the SDG Action Campaign in Bonn: www.sdgactioncampaign.org
Learn more about the SDG Action Days in Bonn: www.bonn-international.org