Curated Initiatives

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SDG Action Zone - Bringing the UN to the world and the world to the UN

Since its first edition in 2019, the SDG Action Zone has become an annual feature of the High-level Week of the UN General Assembly, as the collaborative space dedicated to accelerating action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Powered by the UN SDG Strategy Hub, the SDG Action Zone is an opportunity for a renewed dimension of multilateral collaboration. 

With the fierce urgency of the now, we have no choice but to all step up to the most ambitious of global agendas.

During the UN General Assembly, the SDG Action Zone brings together the highest levels of UN leadership, activists, government officials, business leaders, changemakers and disruptors in a collaborative space to highlight the ecosystem-wide solutions, plans, and investments needed to positively impact people’s lives and the future of our planet.

By amplifying voices, convening thought leaders, connecting changemakers, and calling on all participants to leverage their own sphere of influence, the SDG Action Zone provides everyone with the opportunity to cultivate the community and momentum needed to transform this moment of global upheaval into one of movement-building for people and for the planet.

The three-day program features:
•    Big picture plenaries
•    Authentic conversations
•    Lightning talks
•    Panel discussions
•    Creative performances 
•    Interactive Q&A

Everyone, everywhere is encouraged to join and participate. 

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Women Rise for All


The COVID-19 crisis shined a spotlight on the need for collaboration among all sectors and the importance of strategic leadership. On 27 April 2020, the Deputy Secretary-General, supported by the UN Office for Partnerships (UN Partnerships), launched the “Women Rise for All” initiative. The initiative  recognizes women as drivers for an inclusive and resilient recovery beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and into the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Deputy Secretary-General engaged world leaders who advocate for gender equality such as the President of Ethiopia, the President of Switzerland, the Prime Minister of Denmark, the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Prime Minister of Norway, SDG Advocates Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and Graça Machel, philanthropist Melinda Gates and other stakeholders, including Episcopalian Minister Betsee Parker and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo.

The most recent Women Rise for All activation took place in November 2021 during the Fourth Annual Reykjavik Global Forum.  The Forum, opened by the Deputy Secretary-General,  brought together global women leaders from different sectors to share best practices and solutions on issues such as climate, economic progress, smart investments and innovative corporate leadership. In June 2021, the Deputy Secretary-General also highlighted Women Rise for All at the Women Political Leaders Summit

In March 2021, UN Partnerships convened the event “Financing a Future for Women” to discuss how women’s involvement in the economy has brought positive development outcomes for everyone. This event was part of the Target Gender Equality hosted by the UN Global Compact. 

Since its launch, Women Rise for All has engaged a growing community of prominent women to join global advocacy and scientific initiatives, such as the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery.

Related links
Women Rise for All highlights 
Women Rise for All during the High-Level Political Forum
Women Rise for All at the 2020 SDG Action Zone

YAG 2023

Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change

“Climate change is the fight of our lives – and young people have been on the frontlines leading the charge for climate justice.” - António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

The Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change provides him with practical and outcome-focused advice, diverse youth perspectives and concrete recommendations, with a clear focus on accelerating the implementation of his climate action agenda.

Convened under the auspices of the United Nations first-ever system-wide youth strategy, Youth2030, and the Our Common Agenda, the Youth Advisory Group serves as a mechanism for the Secretary-General to hear directly from young people, as the organization works to accelerate global climate action, and drive forward all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The new cohort of the Youth Advisory Group started its two-year term on 16 March 2023. Its members were selected and appointed by the Secretary-General from a pool of candidates nominated by respected youth- and climate-focused non-governmental and civil society organizations around the world.


Ayisha Siddiqa (United States) is a Pakistani- American human rights and tribal land defender. She is the Co-founder of Polluters Out and Fossil Free University. Her work focuses on uplifting the rights of marginalized communities while holding polluting companies accountable at the international level. She is currently a research scholar at NYU School of Law, university working to bridge the environmental and human rights sector with the youth climate movement. Ayisha was recently named a Time magazine Woman of the Year.  @Ayishas12


Beniamin Strzelecki (Poland) is a climate action and energy transition advocate. He coordinated a global network of youth-led energy organizations and worked with intergovernmental entities, including the International Renewable Energy Agency, Sustainable Energy for All, and the UN Industrial Development Organization to create opportunities for young people in the energy transition field. As a researcher, Beniamin worked on the economics of renewable power generation deployment at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the German Institute for Economic Research. He currently co-chairs the Student Energy Summit 2023 and continues his studies at New York University Abu Dhabi.  @beniaminst


Fatou Jeng (The Gambia) is dedicated to grassroots, national, and international mobilization as a climate educator, frontline activist, and campaigner. Fatou founded Clean Earth Gambia in 2017, a youth-led, local climate organization that has mobilized thousands of Gambian young people to help marginalized and vulnerable communities build resilience to climate change. She has served as Co-lead for the YOUNGO women and gender working group and is also a member of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) where she supports the implementation of the network’s projects. Fatou holds a Master's degree in Environment, Development, and Policy from the University of Sussex. She is also a gender climate negotiator for The Gambia to the UNFCCC and was recognized as TOP 100 Young African Conservation Leader by WWF in 2022.  @fatoulaminjeng


Jevanic Henry (Saint Lucia) is a climate and development professional and advocate. He previously served as Climate Change Special Envoy for the Caribbean Youth Environment Network and was a United Nations Foundation’s Next Generation Fellow. Jevanic worked as a Foreign Service Officer with the Government of Saint Lucia, as well as with the climate change unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat and co-authored a practical guide on enhancing access to climate finance. He is currently an Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Fellow, assigned to the Permanent Mission of Saint Lucia to the United Nations in New York.  @jeo758


Josefa Tauli (Philippines) is an Ibaloi-Kankanaey Igorot indigenous youth activist. She is Policy Co-coordinator of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN), which serves as the youth constituency to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). An advocate for meaningful youth participation, human rights, and Indigenous Peoples’ rights and knowledge, she has coordinated the engagement of youth delegations to more than 10 rounds of CBD negotiations during the development of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. She is also the Advocacy Officer of Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP), a learning network of organizations and individuals with initiatives on promoting and strengthening Indigenous knowledge. @sefaisabel


Joice Mendez (Colombia/Paraguay) is a migrant, social entrepreneur, and climate advocate focused on the nexus of water, food and energy justice. Joice co-founded several local and regional youth organizations, including the Moema Viezzer Environmental Education Observatory, the Latin American Observatory of Geopolitics of Energy, and the binational Youth Collective of the Parana Basin 3 from the Cultivating Good Water Initiative– a recipient of the UN-Water Best Practice Award in 2015. Joice has also supported Paraguay's National Conference of Youth since 2016 and the National Forum of Water and Youth, and continues to be active in YOUNGO, the Climate Reality Project América Latina, SDG7 Youth Constituency, and the Youth Adaptation Network of the Global Center on Adaptation. @JoiceNajmMendez


Saoirse Exton (Ireland) is a climate justice activist with Fridays for Future. As a proud Gaeilgeoir (Irish-language speaker), Saoirse believes that the wealth of knowledge held in traditional languages and storytelling can re-establish the vital concept of Earth as sacred within capitalism imposed mindsets. In 2021, she was one of 100 inaugural winners of the Rise, an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, for her work researching and rewriting Irish mythology from different perspectives, including bringing women and queer characters to the foreground. @saoirse_exton