#Act4SDGs mobilizes millions for the SDGs and the Decade of Action ahead

UN SDG Action Campaign
11 min readNov 8, 2019


In all corners of the world, schools, local governments, libraries, scouts, citizen science networks, church groups, service clubs, civil society organizations, private companies, United Nations offices, and many more are joining the global movement to #Act4SDGs.

From 20–30 September 2019, while world leaders gathered at UN Summits in New York, the Global Week to #Act4SDGs mobilized more than 21 Million people in 180 countries joining a collective mobilization and leading their communities in cleanups, demonstrations, campaigns, exhibits, conferences, innovation labs, parades, art installations, tree planting, pageants, radio talk shows, and Twitter chats to take an active role in supporting the SDGs and call for accelerated implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a better future #forpeopleforplanet. Over 50 million people joined the movement online, reaching more than 260 million people with their stories of how we each of them is taking action to make the SDGs a reality for 2030.

Actions taken around the world during the Global Week to #Act4SDGs sent a loud message to world leaders at the UN that people everywhere stand behind the SDGs. This message was delivered when at the closing of the SDG Summit world leaders watched highlights of the Act4SDGs movement and issued a Political Declaration to launch a Decade of Action for the SDGs, in recognition of the urgent need to accelerate action on all levels and by all stakeholders, in order to fulfill the vision and Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Young people leading the mobilizations everywhere or the increasing role of municipalities and local communities were some of the highlights of the growing #Act4SDGs movement. Here are some key trends of how people and organisations are taking Action for the Sustainable Development Goals across the world:

1. Plogging Is the New Jogging — Cleaning Up Over and Underwater Everywhere

Plogging, the new activity on the rise consisting in picking up litter while jogging, was one of the highlights on this year’s World Cleanup Day. On this day, over 20 million people in 179 countries and territories joined cleanups at beaches, streets, forests and parks to pick up waste from public spaces. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also joined. UNDP Libya, along with Zintan’s #Youth4Peace poetry competition, engaged over 70 volunteers in an environmental cleanup effort along Tripoli’s coastline.

Hejaz Ploggers inspired community members to take action and promote a waste-free environment by participating in plogging, an activity which involves picking up litter while jogging. On September 21st, they went plogging along the coastline of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Their actions combine Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) with Goal 13 (Climate Action).

Along with organising youth SDG conferences and seminars throughout the country, the 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines initiated a mass coastal cleanup in the areas surrounding Tacloban City to protect life on land and underseas. This organisation also brightened up the streets of Manila by painting SDG inspired street art along city walls.

Project AWARE mobilised the PADI diving communities to remove debris from the seafloor and submit the statistics gathered during their dives to the Dive Against Debris database, mapping ocean waste to influence policy makers.

KPMG Australia, a global network of private sector firms, launched its inaugural firmwide volunteering day to #Act4SDGs on September 25th. Over 3,500 volunteers in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney engaged in building solar-powered lights, conducting neighbourhood cleanups, providing educational workshops for children, planting trees and volunteering in soup kitchens in their communities.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) committed to cleaning 125 streams around the world for their 125th anniversary during our planet’s Global Week to #Act4SDGs. The campaign was televised to inspire communities around the world and spread the word about responsible corporate citizenship and the #SDGs.

Volunteers in Yaoundé, Cameroon worked together to eliminate mismanaged waste in their neighbourhoods.

2. Performing and Visual Arts Inspire Passion for the Goals

Groups across the world used creative arts to engage citizens and students and inspire them to get involved in tackling issues of climate protection, peace, health, gender equality, access to water and more.

In London, Peace One Day marked the 20th anniversary of the International Day of Peace, 21 September, with a star-studded celebration of peace at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. The UN SDG Action Campaign joined the event to capture commitments for the #SDGButterflyEffect for SDG 16.

The Arts and Global Health Centre Africa (ArtGlo) in Malawi ventured out on a performing arts tour across the country to tackle issues concerning climate action, gender-based violence, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. The tour ended at the Lake of Stars Festival, Malawi’s largest arts festival, to spread awareness about the SDGs.

In Paris, France, along the banks of the Seine, 5,000 people took part in Project Empreintes, a participatory art installation where the handprints of thousands of individuals brought to life the 17 SDGs, thanks to the work of local street artists.

In India, Kamla Nehru Public School, celebrated the 4th anniversary of our SDGs with a full month of activities addressing sustainable development, including a neighbourhood cleanup, a multilingual event to call for world peace , planting 1,000 saplings to restore nature to public areas, and using upcycled materials to create a peace dove and a peace pole monument.

In Somalia, the Fathi Initiative hosted an SDG Art exhibit in the Hargeisa Cultural Centre on 23 September featuring arts inspired by all 17 SDGs, local community discussions, and a painting created by a young female artist in the local Hargeisa community.

Matto Group 1, a division of the Scout Association of Japan, played an active role in the Hakusan City Welfare and Health Festival. Young scouts learned about sustainable development and created art projects which align with the themes of the goals.

UNDP Turkey’s Accelerator Lab participated in #FestTogether, a zero waste music festival in Ankara. #FestTogether raised ecological awareness about sustainable development using the power of music.

3. Building and Creating Practical Items Inspired by the SDGs

Riley Kerehoma, a 13-year-old from Gisborne, New Zealand, designed and launched a series of handmade bowties which align to each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Riley sold the unique bowties during the Global Week to #ACT4SDGs and donated the proceeds to local charities.

In Brazil the Associação Encosta de Sol constructed a sky crossing to assist wild animals in crossing a road in Itatiba. The sky crossing was created out of recycled materials.

A Associação Encosta de Sol constructed a sky crossing to assist wild animals in crossing a road in Itatiba, Brazil. The sky

In Central Cameroon, the United Nations mobilised volunteers to participate in eco-jogging, tree planting and an activity which used recycled plastic waste and tires to create furniture.

4. Sports for the SDGs

All Together in Dignity (ATD) Ireland established the first European #Cycle4SDGs, cycling from Dublin’s Human Rights and Poverty Stone to the one in Paris. Throughout the journey, cyclists met with city mayors and presented the 2030 Agenda and engaging in discussions with the general public about the role sustainable transportation in the realisation of the 2030 Agenda.

Along with participating in the Global Climate Strike, Germany’s Welthungerhilfe took action by hosting the #ZeroHungerRun. The event, which occurred in Bonn, brought thousands of runners together to take action and work towards ending hunger around the world.

5. Civil Society Standing Together in (Performative) Marches

Civil society organizations around the world joined the #StandTogetherNow mobilization to stand in solidarity with the growing global youth climate movements and others calling on world leaders to accelerate action on equality, civic space and environmental and climate justice.

In Kathmandu, the NGO Federation of Nepal hosted community educational workshops targeting Goal 13 (Climate Action) in 77 of Nepal’s districts.

Kahirapan Wakasan (GCAP Philippines) youth marched around the Quezon Memorial Circle, calling for government action to reduce inequalities, increase civic space, and achieve climate justice. The event, called ‘Run for Equality, Run for Life’, had students demanding that their governments address climate change or their generation will perish. Students and volunteers from KOICA staged a die-in as a result of climate-induced disasters.

6. Reaching Broad Audiences through Radio Broadcasts

In Nigeria, Follow the Money’s chapters across the country took action by reaching out to the public through radio programmes concerning the SDGs and government accountability.

The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation hosted a week-long radio series on the SDGs to inform the public about the goals in the country.

7. Transitioning to a Circular Economy

An innovative group in Brisbane, Australia launched the World’s Biggest Garage Sale to promote and commercialise the circular economy, hosting a massive community garage sale in their Circular Economy Pop-Up Shop. Donated items were recycled, repurposed and resold, with proceeds being invested back into Brisbane’s local community and community and their charity partner Good360.

In France, the Lablaco Circular Fashion Summit held on September 28th during Paris Fashion Week, provided concrete, easy to achieve actions to industry leaders, challenging them to take measurable actions to address environmental sustainability within a 1-year time frame.

The Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development’s (AsVis) Saturday’s for Future campaign launched during the Global Week to Act4SDGs to tackle responsible consumption across Italy on the biggest shopping day of the week.

In a Warsaw, Poland press conference on measuring impacts of business actions for the SDGs, CSR Consulting presented the Polish Plastics Act and the Sustainable Packing Centre, aimed at accelerating Poland’s progress towards SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).

8. Young People Getting More and More Engaged for the SDGs

Every year youth groups take a leading role in the global mobilization to Act4SDGs, inspiring their peers, their parents, their school and their communities to get involved and step up for people and the environment.

MYWorld Mexico alone initiated over 600 actions including teaching, art workshops and clean ups, and engaging over 20,000 participants in a series of actions through out the week.

In Sierra Leone, the Western Rural District School Green Clubs mobilised schools and youth groups to raise awareness about the local effects of climate change and deforestation. Participants engaged in a peaceful protest commencing at Waterloo Rural District Council.

The 3% Project, which aims to empower and mobilise 1 million youth for the SDGs , or 3% of Canada’s total population, visited secondary schools in northern Alberta encouraging students to find solutions for local climate change issues.

In India, the Rotaract Club of Presidency College visited the Farooqia Girls High School in Mysuru to address local taboos concerning menstruation and empower students to create an open dialogue about menstrual hygiene.

The Zimbabwe National Youth SDG Summit and Roundtable mobilised over 1,500 youth in promoting awareness and facilitating meaningful participation to move our planet closer to achieving the SDGs, focusing on Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

Pacific Island youth united at the UN Climate Youth Summit to share their experiences of how climate change has resulted in the loss of two pacific islands. By drawing attention to the severity of the climate crisis, Fijian youth strive to engage our planet’s inhabitants to #Act4SDGs.

In Peru and throughout the Latin American region the Millennials Movement hosted a series SDG youth conferences during the Global Week to #Act4SDGs.

9. Municipalities Stepping Up Action

The Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) organised the ‘Week of the Sustainable Municipality’. More than 90 Flemish municipalities proudly displayed the SDG-flag at their city Halls and put their ‘sustainable heroes’ in the spotlight. The heroes are citizens, schools, companies and organisations who have contributed to the Sustainable Development Goals in their own daily lives and work. They become the local faces of the 17 Global Goals.

Right across France 1,600 libraries introduced exhibits to explain the SDGs as part of a nationwide campaign on September 25th by the French chapter of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

Although the 2019 Global Week to #Act4SDGs has come to an end, the global mobilisation for the 2030 Agenda continues to grow. With only 10 years remaining until 2030, your participation is needed more than ever for the Decade of Action to come.

As the #Act4SDGs movement continues to grow, join and support local mobilizations or add your own individual and collective action to the map 👉https://act4sdgs.org/ and tell the world how together, we are making a difference.



UN SDG Action Campaign

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