This year, the selection process has been harder than ever with more than 2000 excellent applications from 142 countries. The 3 finalists for each of the 7 categories representing initiatives are based in all world regions: Arab States (Lebanon), Africa (Malawi, Nigeria (2) South Africa (3)), the Americas (Peru, Brazil, Haiti and USA), Asia (India (2), Malaysia, and the Philippines) and Europe (Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland).
The 21 Finalists’ initiatives show how innovation, creativity and commitment can lead to impactful SDG actions around the world. These initiatives serve as an inspiration to the growing community of SDG change-makers and influencers taking action for the Goals.
The 3 finalists in each of the 7 categories - Mobilizers, Storytellers, Campaigners, Connectors, Visualizers, Includers and Creatives - will present their achievements at the SDG Global Festival of Action. Now a judging panel of over 20 experts will select one winner per category and everyone can support their favourites for the People's Choice Award. The winner of each category, along with the People’s Choice Award, will be announced at the SDG Action Awards Ceremony.
The awards ceremony will take place on the first day of the SDG Global Festival of Action, 2 May at 18:00 CET, and broadcast live on UN WebTV: http://webtv.un.org/
Storytellers - Capturing powerful human stories to help communicate the interconnectedness of the SDGs in people’s lives through different mediums.
Mobilizers - Mobilizing individuals organizations or networks for collective action for the SDGs
Creatives - Harnessing artistic expression to spur SDG Action and awareness through creativity, empowering and connecting people
Includers - Ensuring that excluded groups become part of the SDG dialogue and decision making in their community or at international levels. Leave No One Behind!
Connectors - Engaging multiple stakeholders or build networks to generate the transformational change needed to make the SDGs a reality.
Campaigners Communications campaign (local/national/international) to raise public awareness about the SDGs and/or people’s role in SDG action.
The selection process
This year the competition was more extreme than ever: over 2,000 organisations and individuals took up the challenge to be among the SDG Action Awards winners. From Samoa to Kyrgyzstan, applications came from over 143 countries, covering all world regions. The focus on inequalities, advancing gender equality and education were high in the priorities among this year’s entries, being tackled by over 700 of the applications, as well as a strong focus on climate action and including different voices, minorities and perspectives. Once again the mobilizers, connectors, and campaigners were the most active, accounting for over half of the projects and initiatives presented.
To recognize the levels of effort and quality of these initiatives, all entries were made public on the Awards and SDG Action Campaign channels. The UN SDG Action Campaign team carefully reviewed each one of the entries based on the three criteria: innovative, transformative and impactful ways to promote the SDGs, and has now passed them on to a judging panel of over 20 experts.
All finalists will present their work at the SDG Global Festival of Action, 2-4 May in Bonn. At a breathtaking Awards Ceremony on 2 May at 18:00 the winner of each category will be announced, and celebrated. Their initiatives and projects will be highlighted throughout the year as an inspiration and role model to the growing global community of SDG leaders, decision-makers and influencers.
People’s Choice Award - People now have the chance to vote for the project or initiative that they think should be recognized by supporting their favourite entry on social media. The People’s Choice Award winner will also be announced at the UN SDG Action Awards ceremony.
The Awards Ceremony, held 18:00-19:30 on 2 May, is an exciting evening of recognition featuring inspiring presenters and showcasing the incredible initiatives being led by awards finalists and winners. It provides a platform for the latest SDG changemakers to take the stage and celebrate the incredible effort and achievement that has led them here. The event is broadcast live on UN webTV to invite Festival-goers and virtual audiences connected from wherever they are unite in this unique celebration of real action for the Sustainable Development Goals.
To meet the SDGs we need everyone to take action. Every year the UN SDG Action Campaign calls for the top individuals, civil society organizations, subnational governments, foundations, networks, private sector leaders who are advancing the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way.
Unequal Scenes - Cape Town, South Africa
A drone-based art project alerting people to radical divisions that inequality engenders around the world.
A project by Unequal Scenes
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/835
The idea came as a way to quickly communicate the radical divisions that inequality engenders, through a defining aesthetic that is easily shared and understood. Unequal Scenes has had great impact on civil society organizations, governments, academics, and other parties interested in communicating the problem of inequality. Organizations such as the UN, OECD, WEF, SA Government, Oxfam, Greenpeace (and more) have used the images to illustrate inequality successfully for their various policy positions. Academic institutions such as the London School of Economics, the University of Cape Town, the University of Richmond (and more) have used the images as course material, marketing for inequality study programs, and even as inspiration for student projects.
The project began in 2016 by photographer Johnny Miller, with financial and logistic support from Code For Africa and the Atlantic Fellowship for Social and Economic Equity. has since spread to 5 other countries (Kenya, Tanzania, India, USA, and Mexico) where inequality is the starkest. Johnny Miller is a photographer, storyteller, producer and journalist based in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a News Fellow at Code For Africa, which provides support for Unequal Scenes, and an Atlantic Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Fellowship for Social and Economic. Equity based at the London School of Economics.
Facebook: @unequalscenes/ - Twitter: @unequalscenes - Instagram: @millefotosa/
Safecity : Crowdmap for sexual violence - Mumbai, India
A platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/219
Safecity is a platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces providing this data help generate insights on sexual violence at the neighbourhood level. The data, which may be anonymous, gets aggregated as hot spots on a map indicating trends at a local level. Since their launch in 2012, Safecity has collected over 11,500 stories from over 50 cities in India, Kenya, Cameroon, Nepal, Nigeria and Trinidad & Tobago and directly reached over 400,000 people. Safecity partners with grassroot organisations to encourage their communities to report sexual violence and facilitate discussions using the data to engage institutional providers like police, civic bodies and educational authorities to find local solutions.
A project by Red Dot Foundation that wants to identify factors that causes behaviour that leads to violence and works on strategies for solutions. Red Dot Foundation is registered as a not-for-profit in the United States as Red Dot Foundation Global and in India as Red Dot Foundation. ElsaMarie D’Silva is the Founder and CEO. She is an experienced aviation professional who made a career switch in 2012 to the social sector to work on gender rights
Facebook: @safecity.in Twitter: @pinthecreep Instagram: @pinthecreep
SDG Portal for Municipalities - Gütersloh, Germany
The SDG-Portal visualises the progress on SDGs illustrated by indicator-based data for municipalities.
A project by: Bertelsmann Stiftung, Association of German Cities and others
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1236
More and more municipalities are realizing that the path towards the future cannot be tread without paying attention to sustainability. Only few know about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their 169 sub objectives and there are no reference points for benchmarking. The SDG-Portal visualises the municipalities’ progress on their way towards sustainability illustrated by indicator-based data (for municipalities larger than 5000 residents). The portal facilitates a databased approach towards the SDGs, not only for interested citizens, but also for mayors and local politicians who are now enabled to monitor their work progress. It serves as a common ground and is a helpful tool for policymakers who are responsible for future sustainability strategies. It endows municipalities with the necessary tools to approach a sustainable future.
The working group consists of representatives from the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Association of German Cities, the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development, the German County Association, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, the German Institute of Urban Affairs and Engagement Global. The cooperation roots in the development of indicators for municipalities, which was terminated in 2018, and has been carried on since in the ensuing set-up of the website, pursuing a complex but common goal while bringing together many stakeholders: Putting sustainability on the municipalities’ agendas.
The owners of water - Lima, Peru
An investigative series that reveals the privileged access to water and the inequality in their distribution in indigenous communities.
A project by Ojo Público
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/2326
This research reveals, for the first time, the main users of water in Peru and the inequality in their distribution in indigenous communities. The owners of water is an investigative series that –after a year of research, data analysis, field trips, visual editing and online development– managed to reveal the privileged access to water that a group of companies has in areas of high water risk. The research includes reports, a web application and a short documentary on an interactive platform in three languages: Spanish, English and Quechua. The Owners of Water also shows that many authorizations were given without previous studies and violating the rights of indigenous communities, reflecting inefficiency in public spending and the loss of communal property.
Ojo Público is an innovation laboratory of investigative journalism and new narratives, that makes reports with the use of databases and new digital technologies. It is the winner of the Inter-American Press Association (SIP) 2017 y 2016, Data Journalism Award 2015, National Human Rights Award 2014 y Latin American Studies Association - LASA 2019.
Facebook: @OjoPublico Twitter: @Ojo_Publico
The backway: from Africa to Europe - Barcelona, Spain
A visual transmedia project made by Ruido Photo that covers the main African migratory routes from its origins in West and East Africa to its destination in Europe.
A project by Ruido Foto
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1747
“The Backway” takes you to follow the steps of African migrants to understand why they engage in such a dangerous journey to Europe.“The Backway” is a visual transmedia project that covers the main African migratory routes from its origins in West and East Africa to its destination in Europe. It aims to focus on all the people who are affected by migration and escape the usual media treatment that portrays it merely as a movement phenomenon. Because African migration is not numbers, routes or deaths; it is the people. Through the voices of those who characterize this key phenomenon of the 21st century, the project aims to denounce the violation of human rights along the route and the effect of EU migration policies, as well as to bring empathy and increase the understanding of migrant communities in the receiving countries.
RUIDO Photo is an organization based in Barcelona dedicated to highlighting human rights abuses and social issues through documentary photography. The team is now formed by three photographers (Pau Coll, Edu Ponces, Toni Arnau), a designer (Roger P. Girones), a social educator (Laia Gómez), a communication manager and journalist (Clara Roig) and the accountant (Pablo Nandin). In the project we also collaborated with Xavier Aldekoa (expert journalist covering Africa) and Agus Morales (expert on journalistic coverage of the human migrations).
Facebook: @Ruido-Photo-142069922505944 Twitter: @ruidophoto
Humans&Climate change Stories - Lausanne, Switzerland
An immersive multimedia form of storytelling following 12 families’ lives around the globe over the next 10 years
A project by Media Active for Change
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1973
“Humans&Climate Change Stories” provides a documentary approach to the effects of climate change on our lives. The project offers an immersive multimedia form of storytelling that creates strong identification with 12 families’ life around the globe. The project started in 2017, and is supported by the International Organization for Migrations (IOM) and the Swiss Cooperation for development, contribute to climate change awareness and action by documenting the climate change effects on 12 families' life around the globe, over the next 10 years. During 10 years, their objective is to follow 12 families scattered around the globe, who are subject to different types of climate change phenomena. The project offers an immersive multimedia form of storytelling that creates strong identification with the characters.
Media Active for Change is a non profit organization, gathering professionals writers, photographers and video & audio producers who have acquired sound experience in media producing and project management in partnership with international cooperation bodies. They aim to address complex and cross-cutting issues by placing humans at the center of the story, such as Climate Change and Migrations.
Facebook: @humansclimatechangestories Twitter: @humansclimate Instagram: @humansclimatechangestories
My Earth Songs : Songs for Children on Sustainability - Bangalore, Karnataka, India
A set of 27 songs for Children aged 5 to 11 based on the SDGs created by the Grammy Award Winner Ricky Kej.
A project by Grammy® Award Winner Ricky Kej
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1740
“My Earth Songs” is a set of 27 songs for Children based on the Sustainable Development Goals created by the Grammy Award Winner Ricky Kej. These songs are written for children aged 5 to 11 and the lyrics are simple to learn. The goal of the project is to translate them into other languages for schools. “My Earth Songs” has already impacted over 3.5 Million children. UNICEF India has associated with us and ‘My Earth Songs’ was officially launched on World Children’s Day in November 2018. The initiative has already partnered with MacMillan publishers in India, to print the English versions of these songs in over 1.4 million textbooks, starting the 2019 academic year and over 3 million textbooks in the Kannada Language for the state of Karnataka in India.
Grammy® Award Winner, US Billboard #1 artist, Ricky Kej is an internationally renowned Indian Music Composer, Environmentalist and Professor. Ricky has dedicated his life and Music to the sole purpose of creating Social awareness and has performed at prestigious venues globally including thrice at the UN General Assembly, NY and the UN Headquarters Geneva. Ricky has been awarded "United Nations Global Humanitarian Artist" & "Youth Icon of India".
Facebook: @rickykejmusic Twitter: @rickykej Instagram: @rickykej
Our Sustainability : A Reminder Through Interactive Experience - Subang Jaya, Malaysia
An interactive experience created by multimedia students to bring SDG awareness to mall visitors
A project by The One Academy, Sunway Malls
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/2496
“Our Sustainability” is a project to bring SDG awareness to mall visitors through Interactive Experience. The project has been created by the multimedia school The One Academy, and Sunway Malls, a major mall owner-operator in Malaysia currently running 5 malls within the country. The One Academy’s students developed “Beyond The Garden Wall”, “SAW (Sexist Arm Wrestling)”, “Mao”, and “Lights Out” to shed light onto real-world situations through interactive installations, reminding people of experiences that are otherwise taken for granted.
Facebook: @toa.edu.my Twitter: @theoneacademy
Make Art / Stop AIDS: Youth - Zomba, Malawi
A project that uses creativity and participatory arts, such as theatre and poetry, to share messages about sexual and reproductive health, particularity VHI.
A project by Art & Global Health Center Africa (ArtGlo)
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/786
“Make Art / Stop AIDS” project uses creativity and participatory arts, such as theatre and poetry, to share messages about sexual and reproductive health, particularity VHI, in Malawi.
A project lead by Art & Global Health Center Africa (ArtGlo) that aims to harnesses the power of the arts to nurture creative leadership of university students and engage with stakeholders in order to draft a community action plan that would address the issues brought up in the performances.
Facebook: @artgloafrica Twitter: @artgloafrica Instagram: @artgloafrica
The plastic bank - Haiti and the Philippines and USA
The plastic bank tackles ocean plastic and global poverty with blockchain-based token rewards mobilizing recycling entrepreneurs from amongst the world’s poorest communities.
A project by IBM
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1294
The plastic banks is an initiative that tackles ocean plastic and global poverty with blockchain-based token rewards. Working with IBM and service provider Cognition Foundry, The Plastic Bank is mobilizing recycling entrepreneurs from amongst the world’s poorest communities to clean up plastic waste in return for life-changing goods.
Since 2014, over 2,000 collectors have returned more than 3 million kilograms of plastic waste to the recycling loop through this platform. Under this initiative, IBM played the Connector role in work with The Plastic Bank which mobilizes recycling entrepreneurs from amongst the world’s poorest communities to clean up plastic waste in exchange for digital currency which they can use for life-changing goods and services; and advance circular economy – all backed by IBM Blockchain technology.
The initiative piloted in 2014 in Haiti. Today, it has 32 operating locations in Haiti and 27 locations in the Philippines, with additional locations being planned to open in Indonesia during 2019. The Philippines and Indonesia are ranked among the 3 top plastic polluting nations by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation , and Haiti ranks 168th on the UNDP Human Poverty Index . Through its technology IBM connects the private sector, communities, government institutions and NGOs to collaborate for a global cause.
Facebook: @IBM Twitter: @IBM Instagram: @ibm
NYC Voluntary Local Review of the Sustainable Development Goals - New York, USA
The report directly to the United Nations on local progress in achieving the SDGs by developing a Voluntary Local Review (VLR).
A project by NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/2305
The NYC Voluntary Local Review is the first report directly to the United Nations (UN) on local progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by developing a Voluntary Local Review (VLR). A project by NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs that identified the connections between the SDGs and OneNYC, our city’s sustainable development strategy. NYC is now discussing with cities around the world how we can work together using the VLR to concretely engage in discussions both locally and globally to achieve the SDGs.
Facebook: @NYCMayorsInternationalAffairs Twitter: @globalnyc Instagram: @nycinternationalaffairs
Italian Sustainable Development Festival 2018 - Rome, Italy
The Sustainable Development Festival is a nation-wide initiative to mobilize all sectors of Italian society spreading a culture of sustainability.
A project by Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS)
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1974
The Sustainable Development Festival is a nation-wide initiative which mobilises all sectors of Italian society, launched by the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development every year since 2017 to promote and spread a culture of sustainability.
A project by Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) that allows a variety of initiatives to engage different segments of society with the achievement of the SDGs.
African Monitor : Citizen’s Report - Cape Town, South Africa
Youth activists producing new data that helps them to coordinate and lead citizen monitoring activities.
A project by African Monitor
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/2011
The citizen report initiative activates youth to produce new data that helps them to coordinate and lead citizen monitoring activities, leveraging on the existing networks. The objective of this project, leading by Africa Report, is to reinstate governance systems where leaders serve their communities and prioritise their needs in an open society.
Currently, the same exercise is being replicated in 3 East African countries, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, with the support of the UN Women.
Facebook: @AfricanMonitor Twitter: @AfricanMonitor Instagram: @africanmonitor
ALMAJIRI Child Education and Social Inclusion - Abuja, Nigeria
Breaking religious and cultural barriers, and holding Government accountable for educational inclusion of street children
A project by ALMAJIRI Child Rights Initiative
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1640
The Almajiri Child Education and Social Inclusion project work to increase public awareness about the highest number of Nigerian children who are victims of the Almajiri system — a currently unregulated, Islamic scholarship practice of sending children to other states and nations for Islamic studies.
The project aims to inspire policy change through evidence-based advocacy and the team has made a presentation to the Nigerian parliament on a legislative bill. Last year they won the Negotiation and Conflict Management Group (NCMG) International Peace Builder award.
Facebook: @Almajirichildrightinitiative Twitter: @AlmajiriLife Instagram: @almajirichild
Transforming Lives Make Senses for Everyone - Bonn, Germany
Showcasing the employment legacy of the London 2012 Paralympics leading to 28.5 million video views within two months.
A project by International Paralympic Committee
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/869
“Transforming Lives Make Senses for Everyone” campaign showcased the long-term legacies the Paralympic Games have for persons with disabilities through education, employment, inclusive cities, parasport and political leadership. The series highlighted the Games’ positive impact while underlining that much work still needs to be done.
By the end of December, the films had been viewed 14.7 million times, generated more than 315,000 engagements and secured global media coverage.
Facebook: @paralympics Twitter: @Paralympics Instagram: @Paralympics
A White Dress Doesn’t Cover the Rape #Undress522 - Beirut, Lebanon
A nation-wide campaign by ABAAD that led to the repeal of Article 522, the infamous rape-marriage law, in Lebanon!
A project by ABAAD – Resource Center for Gender Equality
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1225
“A White Dress Does Not Cover the Rape” was a national campaign launched by ABAAD that aimed to abolish Article 522 of the Lebanese Penal code, which enables perpetrators of rape to avoid prosecution if they marry their victims. The campaign aimed at mobilizing public awareness to strengthen legislation that protect women and girls from sexual violence and exploitation in Lebanon, and to spur change in social norms to adequately respond to sexual violations.
The campaign’s key messages were drafted based on a series of 11 workshops with women survivors.
Facebook: @abaadmena Twitter: @abaadmena Instagram: @abaadmena
The #RunningDry movement - Cape Town, South Africa
A project by Thirst
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1443
The #RunningDry movement is a campaign to fight the global water crisis. “100 marathons in 100 days for 1 reason” is the aim of Mina Guli, water advocate and ultra-runner leading the campaign. #RunningDry, a project by Thirst, has created a global community of water-conscious citizens who are willing to act to avert the global water crisis.
Since its launch in 2012, #RunningDry has created a global community of water-conscious citizens, educating more than 2 million students in China and with more than 600,000 participants in its innovation competitions.
Facebook: @MinaGuliWater Twitter: @minaguli Instagram: @minaguli
Integrity Idol: “Naming and Faming” Honest Government Officials - Islamabad, Pakistan
A bottom-up, people driven and positive campaign, “naming and faming” the heroes working to ensure accountability for the SDGs.
A project by Accountability Lab
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/140
“Integrity Idol” is a global campaign run by citizens in search of honest government officials. It aims to generate debate around the idea of integrity and demonstrate the importance of honesty and personal responsibility. Local teams of volunteers travel across their countries gathering nominations from citizens, generating a national discourse on the need for public officials with integrity. The campaign, organized by The Accountability Lab, provides an outlet for a national conversation in positive terms about the change we’d like to see and the people we would like to be working in government on our behalf.
Twitter: @integrityidol Instagram: @integrityidol
Follow the Money - Abuja, Nigeria
Tracking over USD 10 million meant for social development across African communities, impacting over 2,000,000 rural lives
A project by Connected Development
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1400
Follow The Money is an initiative of Connected Development [CODE] that since 2012 has advocated, visualized and tracked Nigerian government spending and international aid, and let Nigerian citizens know how effective it has been in our rural communities. Follow The Money has impacted over 2,000,000 rural lives through tracking over USD 10 million meant for social development across African communities.
Connected Development is headquartered in Abuja with a decentralised structure enabling easy community mobilisation and coordination.
Facebook: @followthemoneyng Twitter: @4lowthemoney
2030 Youth Force in the Philippines - Philippines
Engaging the youth and other sectors through education, activation, mobilization and collaborations for the SDGs
A project by 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines Inc.
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1981
With the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, the 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines Inc. (YFPH) engages the youth to help achieve the SDGs. YFPH was formed through the initiative of the 17 young leaders from across Asia Pacific who participated in a workshop conducted by UNDP and UN Volunteers in 2016. To date, it is composed of over 2,000 young Filipinos, age 15 to 30, who ensure grassroots campaigns and implement the principle of “Leave No One Behind”.
Facebook: @YouthForcePH Twitter: @youthforceph
Sustainable Turn (Virada Sustentavel) - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Hundreds of attractions and free activities, distributed in regions of cities, occupying varied occupying varied public spaces, cultural facilities, schools
A project by Virada Sustentável Institute
Read more: https://sdgactionawards.org/initiative/1280
The Virada Sustentável (Sustainable Turn) is a mobilization movement for sustainability that organizes the largest festival on the theme in Brazil. It began in 2011 in São Paulo and has already had editions in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Salvador and Manaus, among others.
It involves the articulation and direct participation of civil society organizations, public agencies, cultural collectives, social movements, cultural teams, companies, schools and universities, among others, with the objective of presenting a positive and inspiring vision on sustainability and its different themes for the population, in addition to strengthening the networks of transformation and social impact that exist in the different cities.
The thematic design of the Sustainable Turn is currently backed by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are also the guiding principles for festival programming in all cities.
The project is led by Virada Sustentável Institute whose objective is to present a positive and inspiring vision on sustainability and its different themes for the population, in addition to strengthening the networks of transformation and social impact that exist in the different cities.
Facebook: @viradasustentavel Twitter: @virasustentavel
@SGAction on FB, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin
Social Media Assets: https://trello.com/b/PXi0v4a2/sdgglobalfest-2019
Media & Comms Lead UN SDG Action Campaign
Marta Rojas - firstname.lastname@example.org