It's been two years since the U.N. proposed an ambitious list of 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets focused on increasing equality, sustainability, and global peacebuilding. To celebrate, The UN SDG Action Campaign and their partners are hosting #Act4SDGS, a day dedicated to promoting community action across the globe to make these complex goals a reality by 2030.
"We've got two years behind us, and a lot of people are starting to say, 'a lot has been done.' This is more than 10 percent of the time we've allowed for the SDGs, and we owe it to ourselves to take stock," Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign told VICE Impact. "No one actor, even as large as the U.N., is big enough for this challenge. We need to make sure that everyone feels that their organization can join if they agree with the mission. So our job is to reflect, connect, and congratulate those who are involved in this process."
That feeling of inclusion is one of the major goals of #ACT4SDGS, which is scheduled for September 25th -- the anniversary of the day the SDGs were unanimously voted into action. So far, 600 events have been planned across 107 countries to observe and engage in this day of action. These events might look like marches, community meetings, or even online meetups, and they've each been organized by an independent community organization, grassroots group, or non-profit.
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"We learned from that that we don't have to organize everything. We don't have to micromanage everything," Toomey said. "We decided that we can create this in kind of an open-sourced way."
The #ACT4SDGS website offers an interactive map of actions taking place from coast to coast and across the globe, so you can find an opportunity to connect near you. Looking to start your own action? The UN has provided a simple toolkit for you to engage in #ACT4SDGS straight from your community.
Make Your Voice Heard
The first step is to let global leaders know what's what through the My World 2030 survey. It's a super short online questionnaire about how the SDGs affect your own personal life, and how you see these issues improving, or worsening, for you and those around you. A version of the My World 2030 survey was used to collect more than 10 million views and opinions during the drafting phase of the sustainable development goals, and continues on as one of the most ambitious and widespread citizen-lead research projects. On September 25th, organizers and communities across the globe will be collecting My World 2030 survey results to make sure the powers-that-be are aware of priorities in their own jurisdictions and beyond.
Use the #ACT4SDGS hashtag to share your own SDG stories, and to engage with other people fighting for the same goals around the globe. You can also go "live" on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share your own SDG story. Too busy to tag? Let SDG Action do the work for you by lending your social media presence to the SDG Thunderclap. Register before September 25th, and the #ACT4SDGS team will post a message across all participating social accounts on the SDG day of action, spreading a unified message to engage online communities around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Engage Your Community
You can walk, march, bike or dance to bring your community together in solidarity behind the sustainable development goals. Education is also a huge priority of #ACT4SDGS, so consider organizing a discussion in your own neighborhood to develop a local plan to fight for SDG priorities right at home.
Engage your local politicians and leaders to let them know that the SDGs are a community priority, and remember to engage all parts of your community. This includes low-income populations, LGBTQIA+ communities, people of color, indigenous people, and people with disabilities, to make sure a full spectrum of views and needs are brought to the table.
"We want to encourage people to get as creative as they can around this, and make sure that they continue to feel complete ownership over what they do," Toomey said. "We welcome everyone to talk about what they're passionate about. We welcome them to find a way to show that their passion is actually bound in the SDGs."