The Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development

The Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development inaugural event was held in Bonn, Germany home to the former plenary chamber of the German Parliament. Located right next to the Rhine is the World Conference Centre where the festival was held from the 1st to 3rd March 2017. The festival was the first in a set of annual forums hosted by the UN SDG Action Campaign and was the first playable policy conference. During the three days of the festival we had a chance to hear from world-renowned experts, leading thinkers, policy makers and civil society on the fight against poverty and inequality as well as sustainability. Each of the three days focused on a particular development challenge, to name a few was: Tackling inequalities (Lining up the politics with policy), unlocking green economy opportunities and disruptors to development.

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Foto: Ina Fassbender

The festival offered knowledge sharing sessions from stakeholders in a variety of topics to achieve the SDG’s including interactive sessions where participants had a chance to share their insights and experiences on different topics. Participants would each join three 20 minute discussions in small groups to pull out key learning from examples shared to propose ways to move forward and meet the SDG’s by 2030.

The festival offered high level plenary sessions, presentations, and a chance to listen to Ted-talk styles, join live debates and interviews based on interactive technology and innovation hubs showcased from a of variety organizations. As a result of using, the gaming experts and policy simulators using the 2030 Hive mind game, creativity was enhanced for all participants in the form of fiction.


Sue-Ellen (left) with Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan of Bonn.

Here is where we discovered trade-offs and collaborated with one another which transformed the participants into active players. The festival was a combination of listening, sharing ideas and opinions on a host of matters related to achieving the SDG´s. It, without a shadow of doubt, increased both the opportunity and quality for collaborations on common and shared values.

In my parting shot and in addition to all the visual proof of the success of the 2017 festival, I would love to urge as many young people as can, to attend the subsequent festivals in the years ahead, because they will surely benefit from wealth of knowledge made available as I came to learn and appreciate.

 – Sue-Ellen Njekwa, Värnamos FN-förening (UNA Värnamo)

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