The United Nations on Thursday announced the winners of its 2020 SDG Awards at a ceremony in Bonn, Germany, which highlighted nine inspiring finalist initiatives, a press release from the global agency said.
The Awards, a signature programme of the UN SDG Action Campaign, seeks to highlight initiatives that Mobilize, Inspire and Connect, three categories that can help spur citizen engagement and affect positive change.
Marina Ponti, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, noted in her welcoming speech that not even the current health crisis could hold these initiatives back.
“They show how they’ve turned things around using creativity, data, communication and accountability,” Ponti said. “And – more importantly – through pride, passion and perseverance.”
The Awards recognize individuals and organizations who take action while building coalitions across communities, as well as those who shift behaviours and policies towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and those who increase progress on the Goals whilst strengthening dialogue and trust between people and institutions at all levels.
The open call for submission received over 2,000 initiatives submitted to the three application categories from 140+ countries. Leading up to the live ceremony, 21 judges from across sectors and countries reviewed the entries submitted, assessing overall impact and approach, and gauging the potential for the initiatives to be replicated and scaled up.
Lysa John, Secretary General of CIVICUS, presented the award in the Mobilize category to The Sexual Harassment Project represented by Funmi Ayeni. By targeting policy makers and mobilizing students, the project empowers students – the most vulnerable group impacted by campus sexual harassment in Nigeria – to take action. Having lobbied legislators to push a sexual harassment bill, the initiative has the potential for broader, sustainable and long-lasting impact.
Immersive Production Specialist and MY World 360° Creator, Charles Muchiri presented the Inspire Award to Signs TV, an initiative which advocates for inclusive communication while building cultural bridges and removing barriers. Not only is Signs TV on the forefront of supplying sign interpretation, but 60% of their staff consists of persons with disabilities, which ensures that everything they do is inclusive.
Ambassador Giorgio Marrapodi, Director General for Development and Cooperation with Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, handed out the Connect award to Dune Ives of NextWave Plastics. By creating the first ever global network targeting multinational supply chains to keep plastic out of the ocean, the initiative’s members have prevented 1,300+ metric tons of plastic from entering the ocean in just two years.
Award finalists were also given special attention, having demonstrated their innovative approach to scale up action for the Sustainable Development Goals.
– El Avispero – a digital platform that has brought 2 million people together through a digital citizen action and crowdsourcing platform, to build a more peaceful, active, diverse and sustainable Colombia
– From Syria, EntrePioneers 2030 connects and mentor young Syrians in their home country and abroad to rebuild better
– Rap2Rep, harnesses the power of music as a tool for social change in Liberia
– Targeting SDG5, Equal Measures 2030 provides data and evidence in connecting feminist organizations to end systematic discrimination against women and girls
– Organized by the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS), The Sustainable Development Festival brings together millions of people to connect, discuss and contribute to the Goals
– The Fight Forever Chemicals Campaign converges an impact campaign with a narrative feature film to unveil an unseen health crisis and aims to enact policy change and mobilize the conscious consumer.
Efforts that were driven by – or related to – UN agencies were not eligible to compete for the Awards but were given Honourable mentions. They included: Youth Climate Report, Samsung Global Goals App, Be The One Campaign, and Change the Sequence.
In his closing remarks Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), stated that “looking ahead we need a new paradigm to recover forward better.
Guided by the 2030 Agenda, this paradigm recognizes the current situation as an opportunity to kick-start a transition from crisis to sustainable transformation.”
The UN SDG Action Awards highlight the inspiring and transformative initiatives which do just that.
About the SDG Action Campaign
The United Nations Secretary-General established the UN SDG Action Campaign to bring people together from every part of the world to act on the SDGs and to hold decision-makers to account for progress. Through compelling and creative SDG outreach and communications, the Campaign serves UN Member States and the United Nations whilst bridging thinkers and doers from civil society, local governments, think tanks, the arts and culture, the media and the business world. It mobilizes individuals to champion the SDGs in homes, communities and beyond. Through tailored advocacy and communications, they build powerful networks that reach millions worldwide, urge decision-makers to act and impel momentum.