The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is the world´s most inspiring SDG event to celebrate, empower, and connect the global community driving Action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Organised by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Federal Foreign Office, the Festival brings together the global community taking action to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality. It will recognize and celebrate the innovators, conveners and breakthrough actors who are transforming lives and generating practical solutions to some of the world’s most intractable problems.

Taking place in Bonn each year, the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG implementation and connect organizations and individuals from different sectors and regions to exchange, build partnerships, and make the impact of their solutions scale.

To address the challenges of our time, an integrated approach to sustainable development is needed, as well as collective action at all levels. At the same time unique and diverse, the festival offers a platform where business leaders, activists, UN representatives, scholars, governments, innovators, global organisations, and the media from across the globe can meet to showcase achievements, increase mutual understanding and approach problems and solutions from multiple angles.

While bringing in high-level speakers and global leaders typically present at UN conferences, the festival also holds inclusiveness and openness as its main pillars. Participants are the co-creators and co-curators of the main program and the multi-format sessions are focused on showcasing concrete, disruptive approaches to solve the world’s most pressing issues.

On 25 September 2015, the 193 Member States of the United Nations agreed a global agenda, unprecedented in its scope and ambition. Agenda 2030 represents an unprecedented opportunity for humanity to create a better future for everyone. Building on the original three dimensions of sustainable development, Agenda 2030 introduces the idea of the 5 Ps—adding Peace and Partnerships to social inclusion (People), environmental protection (Planet) and economic growth (Prosperity).

While it is a huge achievement to have created Agenda 2030, the real challenge still lies ahead: delivering the change which the Agenda promises. Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 requires holistic and transformative thinking and ambitious actions now. We need to identify and overcome the barriers and obstacles, creating systematic change together. Governments, companies, civil society, cities and individuals all need to contribute if we are to achieve our shared goals.

The Festival is based on the premise that to achieve the SDGs by 2030, a revolution is required in the way we act on some of the world’s biggest problems. Protecting communities, individuals and social progress in an era of shocks and threats (including conflict and mass migration); addressing the growing crisis of disillusionment, exclusion and inequality experienced by so many; reconciling the twin necessities of economic growth and environmental sustainability: these challenges are huge but not insurmountable.

The festival is not just a regular conference. Sessions are organized in various formats such as high-level panels in the main plenary, short, snappy talks in the SDG Studio, hands-on skill-sharing workshops, deep-dive immersive sessions and more.

Interactive Festival Experiences going on throughout the three days include UN Virtual Reality, the Innovation Fair, a groundbreaking film line-up, exhibitions, a social event on the river Rhine, demo sessions and live music performances. The festival experiences create opportunities for participants to meet, exchange, learn and collaborate while making this experience really unique.

Such an incredible array of formats and experiences was made possible by the inclusive process which oriented this year’s edition. The Festival has been co-created and facilitated by the SDG Action network: you are running the show!

The UN SDG Action Campaign is also pushing for more representativity of the Global South and making efforts to make the crowd as eclectic as possible, as well as to bring its ecological footprint to the minimum.

The 2018 edition of the Festival will focus on five core themes:

Innovation approaches

To deliver Agenda 2030 we need transformative change. What are new technological innovations that can help? Which underlying social norms and value systems need to be disrupted? How can disruptive change globally, nationally and locally be fostered at high pace?

Citizen Engagement

Agenda 2030 was created with broader citizen consultation than any previous global political agenda. Why does it matter to include citizen voices in global political debates? How can people from around the globe be engaged in the implementation of the SDGs? How can the impact of citizen engagement be maximised?

Communicating the SDGs

Everyone can contribute to achieve the SDGs. To do that everyone has to know about the SDGs. How can we reach people who are not yet aware of Agenda 2030? How can we reach those people we don’t usually reach outside “our bubble”? How can we make data and topics like governance be interesting – or “How to make data sexy”? How can national and local ways of communicating the SDGs be devised?

Mobilising action

We are now over two years into this important agenda, the time is to act! How can different stakeholders mobilise action in different contexts? What tools and approaches have been tried, tested and ready to be scaled up? How can the SDG community keep building momentum for change?

Multi-stakeholder engagement

To deliver Agenda 2030, collaboration and cooperation across sectors and stakeholders will be critical. How are different stakeholders approaching these efforts at a local, regional, national and international level? How can every level work, feedback, review and report together? What systems, coalitions, tools and mechanisms are available to foster inclusive cooperation to achieve the SDGs?

The Festival will bring together diverse individuals and organisations from governments, civil society, the UN, businesses, cities, academia, as well as youth representatives and interested citizens. If you are working to advance the SDGs and connecting with the network to maximize impact you should come to the Festival. It’s that simple.

Specifically, you will:

  • Acquire knowledge, build skills and learn about new tools that can help you to act more efficiently for Agenda 2030 in your daily tasks.
  • Meet diverse individuals and organizations with whom to partner to create synergies and help you better reach your organizational goals.
  • Be inspired by the creativity, dynamism and innovation, including elements you can take home to use in your local context.
  • Present your latest projects, achievements and approaches and let your fellow participants learn from you.

Through a variety of interactive, innovative formats, Festival participants will have the opportunity to share and showcase their latest actions towards achieving the Agenda 2030, while learning from and networking with fellow actors in Sustainable Development.

Facilitating connections, exchanging hands-on experience and co-creation lay at the heart of the Festival.

See highlights from the last edition.

The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is hosted with the support of a wide array of organizations.

The UN SDG Action Campaign is committed to working with many partners from different regions and sectors to produce an event that is dynamic, innovative and built on the best knowledge and experience. Take a look at our partners for the 2018 edition.

We’ve given ourselves a 15-year deadline to achieve the SDGs and it’s going to take all of us, working together, to get the job done. We have 12 years left! Please do join us in Bonn in order to co-create ambitious actions to make Agenda 2030 become a reality.

To find out more or to get involved please check the website at or contact the conference team at

Credit for photographs featured throughout the website from the 2017 Festival: photothek/Ina Fassbender