Thank you to all our friends, colleagues and supporters who played a crucial part in the shared goals of the UN Office for Partnerships. As we bid farewell to another transformative year, let’s take a moment to look back at the key milestones and transformative collaborations of 2023.
BREAKING OUTSIDE THE BUBBLE | SDG PAVILION AT THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
During the high-level week of the General Assembly, the SDG Pavilion hosted a series of Halftime Talks — a collaborative mix of panel discussions, lightning talks, demonstrations, and films, as well as artistic performances focused on just and equitable solutions.
The UN Office for Partnerships worked with Project Everyone, a not-for-profit communications agency co-founded by SDG Advocate and screenwriter Richard Curtis, in collaboration with renowned artist Es Devlin, to create the SDG Pavilion, a unique convening space and art exhibitions.
Interested in new developments with Artificial Intelligence? Watch the AI and Innovation event.
Curious about investing in people and planet? Check out the Financing the SDGs event.
Want to be moved by musical performances? Listen to the Halftime Show
WORKING ON THE WORLD’S TO-DO LIST WITH THE SDG ADVOCATES
As per previous years, the Advocates met with the UN Secretary-General at the beginning of each High-Level week of the UN General Assembly. The meeting took place in the SDG Pavilion and the Secretary-General gave an overview of the current state of the world and the priorities of the UN while the Advocates offered their reflections and where appropriate, advice on how to keep the promise of leaving no one behind.
In addition in April, Co-Chairs H.E. Mia Mottley and H.E. Justin Trudeau and convened the group in the SDG Studio in New York to discuss the direction and priorities of the group’s engagements. This was the first meeting convened by Co-Chairs and a good opportunity to create synergies and alignments regarding the halfway point of the SDGs, the importance of high-level advocacy in the second half and the urgent need for global solidarity.
SDG Advocate Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians traveled to Bangladesh earlier this year to learn about the progress of the SDGs and the remaining challenges of people’s everyday lives. Her areas of focus were girls’ education, mental health, women’s entrepreneurship and climate action. Her Majesty met and engaged with community members in garment factories, learning centres, women’s centres, and spent one full day discovering the Rohingyan refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.
This trip was jointly coordinated by UN Office for Partnerships, the Belgian Royal Palace, the Embassy of Belgium in India, UN Resident Coordinator Office in Bangladesh, UNICEF Bangladesh, UNDP Bangladesh, ILO Bangladesh, and UNHCR Bangladesh.
IN THE STUDIO | HOW WE SPOTLIGHT THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
The UN Office for Partnerships creates dynamic platforms and provides opportunities to empower and mobilize partners to discuss challenges and co-create solutions. This year, we invited world leaders, private sector representatives, civil society organizations, activists, researchers, youth and policymakers to bring their expertise to what we like to call the SDG Roundtables on various topics, from women’s leadership, to solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges.
THREE MUST-SEE ROUNDTABLES THAT WILL INSPIRE YOU:
- SDG Roundtable with Justin Trudeau
- SDG Roundtable: Marking 75 Years of Human Rights and Civil Society Participation
- SDG Roundtable: Innovation for women and equality
During the UNGA, UN Partnerships teamed up with Project Everyone and global influencers to bring the message of the SDGs at Halftime to people across the world through the Creator Studio at the SDG Pavilion. Additionally, to sum up all the action happening in the High-level Week, UN Partnerships worked with the UN News and Media Division of the UN Department of Global Communications for the SDG Pavilion Roundup Show.
WATCH ALL THE CREATOR STUDIO INTERVIEWS HERE.
THE START OF A NEW INITIATIVE | WE THE WOMEN…
Also in 2023, the United Nations and Germany have launched the "We the Women" campaign, a global initiative aiming to collect and amplify the voices, experiences, and creativity of women and girls worldwide to address pressing global challenges.
Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed and German Minister Svenja Schulze unveiled the campaign on the sidelines of the SDG Summit in New York, emphasizing the need for women's leadership in the face of crises, inequality, climate impacts, and conflict. The campaign, aligned with the UN's commitment to inclusive multilateralism, invites submissions from women globally, culminating in a multimedia event at the Summit of the Future in September 2024.
SUSTAINABLE FASHION AND LIFESTYLE NETWORK
Bringing together fashion industry experts and inspiring positive change, the United Nations Sustainable Fashion and Lifestyle Network (SFLN) hosted a myriad of events this year and engaged with partners to celebrate young talents’ creativity, advance circularity, especially in the textile industry, and promote sustainability in fashion—as we saw on Europe Day. During the UN Water Conference in March, industry stakeholders gathered to discuss innovative solutions for water management and addressing microplastic pollution.
The SFLN Annual Meeting, co-convened by UN Partnerships and the Fashion Impact Fund, welcomed advisory committee members and registered partnerships in June this year. With distinguished speakers like Ciara, we heard inspiring talks about mobilizing expertise for the SDGs. Watch the event here.
SUPPORTING GIRLS’ EDUCATION ON MALALA DAY
2023 marked a decade since the iconic and powerful speech delivered at the United Nations by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace, Malala Yousafzai. To observe this special occasion, the UN Office for Partnerships supported the Malala Day celebrations in Nigeria, where UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed and Malala traveled to meet with girls, teachers and officials.
Watch this SDG Roundtable, from New York to Abuja, highlighting the need for transformative action to achieve the goal of making equal, quality education accessible to all girls.
MARKING THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DEMOCRACY WITH YOUTH
This year, the UN Democracy Fund arranged a dedicated session at the SDG Pavilion for the International Day of Democracy, themed "Empowering the next generation: Democracy for climate justice." It emphasized the vital role of democratic values in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in the realm of climate action, spotlighting youth's crucial role in safeguarding civic space and propelling climate initiatives. The session underscored youth involvement in both protecting civic freedoms and driving progress in climate action, acknowledging their leadership in these pivotal areas.
TAKING CLIMATE ACTION
UN Partnerships works with networks within and beyond the UN system to mobilize partners to help raise ambition and drive concrete and credible climate action. In September 2023, UN Partnerships inaugurated the SDG Pavilion, where the sessions featured in-depth discussions around climate justice, green transition and carbon pricing as the important measures in our collective efforts to tackle the climate emergency, and save lives and protect livelihoods.
At COP28, UN Partnerships concentrated its efforts on strengthening the narrative of the interconnections between climate action and the SDGs through partnerships. The Office undertook various key activities including the COP28 Dialogues, support for the SDG Advocates, and partnership building. UN Partnerships hosted two COP28 dialogues, aligning closely with the Conference’s daily themes, with a particular focus on energy transition and the Women Rise for All initiative. Additionally, the Office supported the social media conversation with SDG Advocate Dia Mirza on urgent climate action, global cooperation and youth empowerment, as well as engagements with key stakeholders, including the Roundtable with young climate leaders and civil society organisations. The UN Partnerships also facilitated the drafting and the release of a statement by 12 members of the SDG Advocates.
PARTNERING WITH CIVIL SOCIETY FOR DEMOCRACY
At the SDG Pavilion during UNGA, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed emphasized the crucial role of every individual's voice with the message “Everyone has a voice: use it,” urging global citizens to recognize their influence.
Civil society organizations stand at the forefront, defending human rights and promoting democracy worldwide. In 2023, the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) supported projects worldwide led by local civil society and grassroots organizations. These projects aimed to bolster civic engagement, reinforce the rule of law and human rights, engage youth, empower women, support electoral processes, enhance civil society's ability to interact with governments and promote media freedom and access to information.
On March 9, 2023, the UNDEF Board endorsed a shortlist of 34 projects for its 17th Round of funding, amounting to over $8 million. This round drew 1,872 project proposals from organizations across 133 countries, spanning regions such as Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa
READ THESE STORIES SHOWCASING THE WORK OF OUR CIVIL SOCIETY PARTNERS:
NEXUS Global UN Briefing
The UN Briefing of the NEXUS Global Summit took place at the United Nations in New York on 22 June 2023. The event gathered 500+ next-generation philanthropists, impact investors, and social innovators from around the world to learn how they can support, and further amplify the efforts, work, and mission of the United Nations and its agencies.
SDG STRATEGY HUB
Throughout the year, the SDG Strategy Hub brought together partners to engage with the SDGs. In particular, during UNGA, the Hub convened the 5th edition of the SDG Action Zone, a 3.5-hour deep dive into what can and needs to be achieved and how to get there. SDG champions, activists and allies brought their ideas and solutions to change the world. Learn more and watch the on-demand content at: sdgactionzone.org.
RAISING AWARENESS USING KEY MESSAGES AND DATA
With a need to communicate on the importance of achieving the SDGs than ever before, the UN Office for Partnerships curated and crafted the Sustainable Development Goals Briefing Book 2023, with important key messages, quotes, data, photos, stories and more from experts around the UN system.
At the halfway mark of the SDGs, UN Partnerships worked with experts and partners from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Microsoft AI for Good Lab, ETH Zürich, and Project Everyone for a multimedia, data visualisation project. These panels were displayed at the SDG Pavilion to spotlight the progress of six different Goals around the world: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 15.
Additionally, the research from both the data visualisation and from the SDG Progress Report was featured in the official SDG Stocktaking video, created in partnership with the Department of Global Communications and UN DESA, that premiered during the SDG Summit in September.
A NEW ERA FOR PARTNERSHIPS
As we marked the Halfway mark in achieving SDGs this year, we still have hope that any given match is won in the second half. We have the knowledge and know-how to secure a life of dignity for all on a healthy planet. Looking ahead to 2024, our commitment persists in forging partnerships and consolidating efforts to realize the Sustainable Development Goals, covering not only human rights, climate action but also advocating for peace and eliminating gender disparities, as well as promoting sustainable lifestyle.
It’s time to regroup, re-energize, recommit and #ImagineWinning.