A Celebration of Global Sustainability Actions

UN SDG Action Campaign
5 min readApr 27, 2023

United Nations Initiative Calls for 2023 UN SDG Award Applicants

UN SDG Action Awards finalists gather for a group photo at the 2022 ceremony in Bonn, Germany / UN SDG Action Campaign / Benjamin Westhoff

The United Nations SDG Action Campaign, a unique initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General to galvanize global citizens around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is extending its call for applications and nominations for the 2023 UN SDG Action Awards in its latest bid to celebrate initiatives and individuals striving for the achievement of Agenda 2030.

“2022 was a seminal year for the UN SDG Action Campaign as we defied all expectations and mobilized nearly 150 million people around the world to take action for the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Marina Ponti, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign. “Now, we want to acknowledge and celebrate those very same people who made a difference on the ground flipping the script on the climate crisis, gender inequality, and food insecurity and laying the foundations for a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”

The UN SDG Action Awards mark transformative SDG initiatives that scale up sustainability and social justice efforts around the world. The 2022 edition of the Awards was held in Bonn, Germany, and received over 3,000 high quality applications from 150 countries covering the full breadth of Agenda 2030. For its part, the 2023 ceremony will be conducted in Rome, Italy, on 24 July on the margins of the UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment, which will be hosted by the Government of Italy, and in partnership with the three Rome-based UN agencies — the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub and the wider UN system. The Awards ceremony will also be broadcast live through UN WebTV and UN SDG Action Campaign platforms for a global audience.

Marina Ponti, Global Director of UN SDG Action Campaign, presents at the 2022 UN SDG Action Awards / UN SDG Action Campaign / Benjamin Westhoff

“We are calling on all activists, mobilizers, and changemakers to submit their application today for a chance to become an Awards finalist and to join us in Rome for a celebration of their global sustainability actions and ongoing efforts in confronting global challenges and holding decision-makers to account,” Ms. Ponti added.

The United Nations Secretary-General established the UN SDG Action Campaign to unite people from across the world to take action for the SDGs and to connect civil society, local governments, and people working in the arts and culture, media, and private sectors in championing the SDGs in homes, communities and beyond.

Hamzat B. Lawal, Founder of the Nigeria-based anti-corruption organisation Follow the Money, addresses the 2022 UN SDG Action Awards / UN SDG Action Campaign / Benjamin Westhoff

Past winners include Hamzat B. Lawal, Founder of the Nigeria-based anti-corruption organization Follow the Money which works to influence social change and disrupt the status quo by setting up social accountability models tracking government spending and international aid, exposing corruption, and revealing to the public how effective local social development projects are.

“Winning a UN SDG Action Award has been a life changing moment for the initiative and team,” Mr. Lawal explained. “Not only has it empowered us to strengthen our internal governance structure, but most importantly the Award has enhanced our credibility in holding governments to account and fostering transparency.”

Since winning the UN SDG Action Award in 2019, Follow the Money has grown its presence across the African continent, expanding from four countries to a total of nine while also attracting interest from the Americas and Asia. In Nigeria alone, the organization is now active in 36 States.

Other Awards finalists have also continued to leave their mark on local and global communities as they have scaled their SDG initiatives, including Srishti Bakshi, a marketer-turned-women’s-rights-activist, who embarked on an on-foot pilgrimage of 3,800 kilometres through 12 Indian states from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, to put a spotlight on the root causes of violence against women; SUPvivors say No More, an Ecuadorian campaign addressing the scourge of domestic violence and sexual abuse which reached 11 million people and inspired hundreds of thousands of survivors to speak up; and Signs TV Kenya, a broadcasting service that has been providing free content in sign language since 2017 with a central mission to build cultural bridges, remove barriers, eliminate stigma and create a society that allows free interaction between persons with disabilities (PWD) and non-PWDs.

“This year marks the half-way point for the SDGs and it is critical that humanity maintains momentum in achieving our sustainability agenda despite the many challenges that we continue to face,” continued Ms. Ponti. “We need to inspire and motivate global citizens to continue the charge towards our shared 2030 Goals. That is why we are encouraging activists, changemakers, and mobilizers from around the world to step up and apply to become a UN SDG Action Awards finalist for a chance to be recognized for their relentless work in delivering meaningful change.”

About the UN SDG Action Campaign

The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General hosted by the Executive Office of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The Campaign is mandated to MOBILIZE, INSPIRE, AND CONNECT people and organizations from all sectors and geographies to take actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. At a moment of poly-crisis, the UN SDG Action Campaign seizes opportunities to accelerate action towards a sustainable, just, and green world.

Photos and Video Assets:

1) PHOTO CAPTION: Marina Ponti, Global Director of UN SDG Action Campaign, presents at the 2022 UN SDG Action Awards Credit: UN SDG Action Campaign / Benjamin Westhoff

2) PHOTO CAPTION: Hamzat B. Lawal, Founder of the Nigeria-based anti-corruption organisation Follow the Money, addresses the 2022 UN SDG Action Awards Credit: UN SDG Action Campaign / Benjamin Westhoff

3) PHOTO CAPTION: UN SDG Action Awards finalists gather for a group photo at the 2022 ceremony in Bonn, Germany Credit: UN SDG Action Campaign / Benjamin Westhoff

4) VIDEO: The 2023 UN SDG Action Awards will be held in Rome, Italy, on the margins of the UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment. Credit: UN SDG Action Campaign

DOWNLOAD ASSETS

For more information and interview opportunities:
Andrew Zaganelli Giacalone
Lead, Communications & Outreach | andrew.giacalone@undp.org
UN SDG Action Campaign

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UN SDG Action Campaign

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