2018, a year of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals — Best of the #Act4SDGs global movement

UN SDG Action Campaign
6 min readDec 19, 2018


2018 has been a year of powerful actions, inspiring moments, and more and more people and organizations getting engaged and joining the #Act4SDGs movement. We want to cheer those on who are taking action👏! So, here are some of our favourite highlights of the year:

1. When I say GLOBAL you say… ACTION!

The annual Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany focused on innovative communication around the SDGs, multi- stakeholder engagement, mass mobilization and SDG actions. The three-day event attracted over 250 speakers: 1,500 participants from over 120 countries, and more than 30,000 online viewers from 158 countries… It was incredible to see so many people in one place from all over the world making a difference! Relive one of everyone’s favourite moments…

☝️The next Festival will be held on 2–4 May 2019. Become an Action Partner and co-design the Festival!

2. The top 8 SDG change-makers helped us tell the world “WE are READY”

An innovative anti-corruption campaign from Nigeria; a short-film documentary series made by the daughters of garment workers in Bangladesh to call for supply chain transparency; and a young man who provided comprehensive sexuality education to over 1,000 teenagers and mothers in Ghana were some of this year’s UN SDG Action Awards winners. The best eight were selected among more than 700 inspiring examples from 125 countries of how people and organisations are making the SDGs happen and helping inspire others to take action. The awards ceremony was the most vibrant moments at the Festival, have a look to relive the moment and get inspired!

☝️By the way, the next call for applications is open until 30 January 2019!

3. Mali, Colombia, Lebanon, Romania… citizens are getting engaged in the 2030 Agenda

In 2018, over 60,000 responses were collected for MY World 2030, the global survey collecting people’s views and perspectives on the Sustainable Development Goals to make them part of the official review processes and political discussions. Mali, Colombia and Morocco where some of the countries with the highest number of citizens mobilized.

In close coordination with the Mali’s UN Country Team and central government over 33,000 responses were collected in Mali in June 2018. Both data sets from Mali and Mexico were included in both countries’ Voluntary National Reports during the 2018 High Level Political Forum.

And we won an award! In preparation for the 2018 High Level Political Forum, MY World scientific surveys were conducted in Lebanon, Romania and Sri Lanka in partnership with Paragon resulting in the prestigious Market Research Society (MRS) President’s award for using research to positively impact society.

A group of young people in Bamako, Mali, cast their vote on MYWorld on their priorities to be accommodated in Mali’s national development planning.

4. Data and human stories go together: Sharing people’s views and real concerns on the SDGs

Through data or collaborative photo and video stories we give the spot light to people from across the world to share their views and perspectives on the issues that affect them. Thousands of stories from people across the world, including Yemen, Nigeria, Sweden and Germany were shared with the world, and presented at more than 15 SDG Action Hubs in over 5 countries, from Germany to China in several public events such as the Global Media Forum, the UN Day in Germany, the NOS Festival in Portugal, the European Development Days in Belgium, and at the European Parliament.

The SDGs take center stage at Festivals and public events around Europe

5. A million people in 1,242 cities from 142 countries joined the Global Day to #Act4SDGs on 25 September

To mark the anniversary of the adoption of the Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development and the SDGs, wether marching for the SDGs in Ireland, restoring mangroves in Brasil, cleaning up a beach in the Philippines or launching a campaign to communicate the Goals,the world took Action for the SDGs and leaders listened. We connected local actions with decision makers at the UN General Assembly and supported the SDG Leaders Reception hosted by the UN SDG Advocates, featuring addresses from UN Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General, high-level representatives from governments, private sector, academia, foundations and civil society to make new pledges in support to the SDG.

Here is the beautiful gallery of the most powerful actions from all corners of the world YOU created:

Read the whole story and find actions in your country or region on the SDG Action map:

6. Zero tolerance for violence against women and girls!

We returned to the European Development Days in Brussels to bring the Spotlight Initiative and put women and girls at the center of Sustainable Development together with the UN family. Hear the powerful discussion on how this is happening directly from Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General and Queen Mathilde of Belgium

We also heard from other friends dedicated to the SDGs… like how young people can earn the right to real political participation with Youtube Creator for Change Miles and Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary — General’s Envoy on Youth and Myles Dyer, UK ambassador of Youtube Creators for Change.

7. Some of the most inspiring SDG 360 experiences of the year were created by young students across the world

Brazilian activist Francisca’s community, students from a super-neighborhood in Houston, and Myrtle the sea turtle took the delegates at the UN General Assembly on an immersive trip to call for urgent action on food security, access to education or ocean preservation. Films were created by students from across the world who are learning about the SDGs and how to use Virtual Reality (VR) and 360 media to document stories from their communities and participate in generating solutions for the issues they care about.

8. “I never thought they would listen to us” Young people bringing their SDGs — photo & video documentaries to decision-makers

Photographing mountains of waste waiting to be recycled, portraying the life of a young men living on the streets of Germany, or what safety for young women and girls in Iraq or Belgium means… we’ve collected some of the most powerful SDG local stories and brought them to government representatives, international photography fairs, public events, and open exhibitions in Germany, Poland and Belgium. The amazing imagery was featured by several media outlets in Germany, Spain and Italy. AND our favourite thing is: the creators are young students between 13 and 17 years old, who, through a series of workshops led by Canon Ambassadors in 15 countries, learned about the SDGs and received training in photo and video production… probably becoming the next generation of SDG journalists!

Left: The group creating this image chose to depict SDG 3 Health and Well-beign as the reality of living in an ‘always-on’ society as they visually portray insomnia. Photographers: Maria, Camille, Anees, Shaun, Reece and Ruben, United Kingdom. Right: “I took photos of my sister who was celebrating her birthday and she wanted to bring joy to other children. Photographer: Maryam Raheem Jassem, Iraq

And this is only the beginning! We are looking forward already to another year of working with you to continue making the #act4SDGs movement grow.

Tell us, what were your #Act4SDGs highlights?



UN SDG Action Campaign

Official account of the UN SDG Action Campaign, aiming to mobilize, inspire & connect a movement to #FlipTheScript for the #GlobalGoals