Kumi Naidoo, from Africans Raising for Peace and former Executive Director from Greenpeace, speaking at a Plenary Session.

The Global Festival of Ideas, hosted by the UN SDG Action Campaign and supported by the German Government, took place on March 1-3 in Bonn. It was an innovative conference designed to stimulate new ideas on how to implement the 2030 Agenda. Gathering world-renowned experts and practitioners engaged in the SDGs, the conference triggered creative thinking on how to overcome the greatest challenges to the Agenda, while at the same time building collaborations and partnerships for the future.

The festival sparked a discussion on how to achieve the SDGs in an integrated way, moving away from past approaches that focused on the achievement of certain goals at the expense of others.

Along with panel discussions, innovative solutions contributing to finding practical solutions were presented. For example, several initiatives working on new data collection methods showed how their work can contribute to better service delivery and humanitarian assistance, ultimately supporting the aim of “leaving no one behind.” Other initiatives included how to improve mobile technology literacy in rural areas for fostering citizens’- collected data or how to communicate the SDGs successfully among local communities.

SDSN Youth presenting the “Youth Solutions Report”

Moreover, responding to the overall call for active youth engagement, SDSN Youth presented their first Youth Solutions Report and the Local Pathways Project as interesting projects pushing forward the implementation of the agenda.  For more information on other initiatives featured at the conference, please visit the Conference’s website.

The innovative character of the conference was also reflected in its format ­– the world’s first “playable policy conference”. An app called “Hive Mind 2030” was developed for the conference which helped attendees to network and simulated the complex efforts needed for achieving the SDGs. Moreover, the conference offered other interactive formats including world cafes, policy simulation exercises, participatory conversations, data-dives, virtual reality scenarios, and open format discussion spaces.

UN Virtual Reality Zone

Interactive Screen of the “Hive Mind 2030” game








All in all, the conference provided an excellent opportunity not only to comprehensively think about the challenges to the 2030Agenda but also to trigger hands-on and revolutionary thinking that challenge business as usual, which constitutes a crucial aspect for the successful achievement of the SDGs.

If you are interested in reading a more detailed report, please consult our Global Festival of Ideas Report.

Harnessing the Data Revolution to Reach the Missing Millions: Plenary discussion moderated by Claire Melamed, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data