By Jutta Wolf
BERLIN | BONN (IDN) – The UN SDG Action Campaign, an Initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, is launching the first Global Festival of Ideas March 1-3 in Bonn with a view to ensuring the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Bonn, former West German capital in divided post-World War II Germany, hosts 22 UN secretariats, including those of the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and UN Volunteers (UNV).
2017 is the second year of the implementation of 17 SDGs and 169 targets endorsed by 193 member states of the United Nations on September 25, 2015, who thus agreed a global agenda, unprecedented in its scope and ambition.
"If successful, the attainment of the SDGs by 2030 will represent a leap forward in the fight against poverty and inequality, as well as the struggle for environmental sustainability," says a concept note circulated by the UN SDG Action Campaign..
SDG goals and targets were agreed after a worldwide consultation between the UN, governments, civil society, youth groups, business, academia and millions of citizens. Taken together, they represent a holistic agenda, which can only succeed if policy areas often deemed to be in opposition can be reconciled.
The Global Festival is co-ordinated by the UN SDG Action campaign and the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) - one of the world’s leading international think-tanks – and supported by the Federal Government of Germany.
A live simulation game will lie at the heart of the festival, engaging participants in the trade-offs at the heart of SDG implementation. It will foster practical collaboration, provide a safe space to trial ideas and offer an opportunity to reveal assumptions.
Participants will be asked to work together to make decisions on critical areas of resource allocation, with the implications of these decisions (on progress towards the goals) transmitted to others through data, audio-visual installations and the festival plenaries. The game will interact with the conference sessions and be available for all delegates to play.
The forthcoming Global Festival of Ideas is the first in a series of annual forums. It brings together leading thinkers, policy-makers and civil society, together with gaming experts and policy simulators, to deliver the world’s first playable policy conference.
Too often, policy-makers focus on one development objective, at the expense of others. "But in the SDG era, a radically different approach must be found: we must be able to promote economic growth and prosperity with environmental sustainability; we must challenge inequality and exclusion in a rapidly globalising world; and we must find ways of protecting individuals and communities caught up in conflict or affected by mass migration; we must deliver effective health services, even though resources are limited," the concept note states.
By transforming participants from passive delegates to active players, the Festival will provoke new thinking on these global challenges, involving policy-makers, the private sector, investors and civil society. The interactive event will feature:
- High Level plenary sessions, presentations, discussion and debates to share critical ideas, showcase success and hear from keynote speakers.
- Real time problem-solving through policy simulations and participatory games based on interactive technology, built by expert game designers.
- Innovation hubs that showcase the work of wide variety of organisations.
Each of the three days will focus on a particular development challenge. These are:
Disruptors to progress: movement of people, conflict, disasters
Poverty, inequality and exclusion: income distribution, access to employment, services and political representation
Economic growth and environmental sustainability: food, water, and energy
This Festival will be the inaugural annual event to convene these actors and advocates, to ensure they have the innovative tools and approaches to accomplish their missions. Each year the event will be designed to meet the needs of this dynamic global community of change-makers. [IDN-InDepthNews – 18 January 2017]
Image credit: UN
IDN is flagship of the International Press Syndicate.