Communicating the Sustainable Development Goals – for Everyone

Social media and commitment cards

Many tweets from the policy room met with great engagement, and the participants were encouraged to create their own Global Goals commitment card with a personal commitment and a Global Goals stamp.


Participants created Global Goals commitment cards with personal commitments on how they would contribute to the Global Goals.

A fully packed conference room in the UN Headquarters in New York on April 21 2016 hosted a lively and committed audience of communication experts and global leaders in politics, business, and civil society.

Under the headline “Communicating the Sustainable Development Goals – for everyone” speakers from all continents shared experiences of communicating the new 17 Global Goals.

The purpose of the Policy Room was to inspire new communication means and tools and to bring different actors to work together – bridging the gap between policy experts, campaigners and communication experts – and to build new partnerships for communicating.

The event was co-hosted by UN’s SDG Action Campaign, the European Commission, and the World’s Best News.

Worlds Best News UN European Commission Global Goals SDGs SDG

One thing is certain; we will only deliver on the SDGs if people know about the goals, demand action, and hold their leaders to their promises.

H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, UN President of the 70th General Assembly, welcomed the participants.


We have to change the way we communicate. All action is emotional, and in order to get an emotional connection we need to understand what it is.

Jakob Trollbäck, Chief Creative Officer at TROLLBÄCK+COMPANY and creator of the Global Goals icons, spoke about the importance of communication as a means for action.

The Global Goals for everyone

Project Everyone and SDG Advocate Richard Curtis made this film on the launch of the Global Goals, starring world leaders, actors, and opinion leaders.


Mitchell Toomey, Director, UN SDG Action Campaign and Majken Gilmartin, CEO, Eir Soccer, opened a round table discussion on how to make the goals famous for seven billion people, with the participation of Mr Alex Zekai Wang, YouThink Centre China; Mr Nicholas Nuttall, Head of UNFCCC Communications and Outreach Programme; and Ms Sofía García García, SOS Children’s Villages International.

Our communication should lead to developing political will, involving people to act for themselves locally, and aiming for the goals to become a universal reference guide. The UN and The SDG Action Campaign have set a target of having reached two billion citizens with the Global Goals in 2017. To do that, we will need 700,000 true advocates across the world.

Mitchell Toomey

Soccer and Sports are some of the best ways to meet people. EIR Soccer has therefore launched a new Global Goals World Cup based on a concept developed in the streets of Denmark – for women, by women –playing for change. The focus will be on bringing the Global Goals to life, being playful and with a clear gender perspective.

Majken Gilmartin

Youths are not only the leaders of tomorrow – they are the partners of today. Therefore we need to mobilise young people now – and do it in a way where we can meet the youth. It can be through mobile technology and games on smartphones.

Alex Zekai Wang

The impossible dream of having a climate agreement came through in Paris last December. We need to communicate to academia, to decision makers, to all sectors in society with an interest in the Global Goals.

Nicholas Nuttall (UNFCCC) about one of the climate movement’s key lessons ensuring a communication success for COP21: Selected targeting – no ‘One size fit all’ communication.

If we mean it that we won’t leave no one behind, we also have to communicate to those people and children who at first don’t care. The MyWorld survey was a great initiative to reach children and youth – and to have a dialogue with them, whereby they get an understanding and feeling of how the Global Goals can be of good use for them and society.

Sofía García García



The EU made 2015 a European Year for Development. Stina Soewarta, the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development; and Thomas Ravn-Pedersen, head of World’s Best News, talked about how the European Commission – with relatively few resources – for the first time succeeded in creating a pan-European communication success on international cooperation. In cooperation with the World’s Best News, communication was moved to the streets of European capitals and cities, using new communication channels in partnership with European governments, CSOs and the private sector. The Europeans now feel better informed, and increasingly support development cooperation.

The motto of last years’ European Year for Development: ‘Our World, Our Dignity, Our future’ could as well work for the Global Goals. Partnerships with the UN, the World’s Best News, and more than 200 local European partners showed the strength of partnerships and working ‘glocally'.

Stina Soewarta

At the World’s Best News, we base our work on three key approaches: partnerships, innovation, and constructive journalism. Since 2010, the news campaign has existed in Denmark, and last year it was a key partner of the European Commission, serving the whole of Europe. We work with myth busting and challenging people’s views on development and international progress

Thomas Ravn-Pedersen, World’s Best News


Mr Rotimi Olawale, Co-founder of Youth Hub Africa and Chairman of the African Youth Panel; and Dr Mila Rosenthal, UNDP Communications Director, opened a round table discussion on how international organisations, governments, CSOs, and the private sector can best meet the challenge of “Action at All Levels” when it comes to communication – and what do these new partnerships look like?
With participation of Ms Paddy Torsney, Permanent Observer to the United Nations; Mr Ravi Karkara, Senior Advisor at UN Women; and Mr Arrey Obenson, the Secretary General of Junior Chamber International.

Photo: Freya Morales/UNDP

Communicating the Global Goals calls for partnerships. In Africa, youth and youth networks have been key when it comes to SDG awareness creation.

Rotimi Olawale in his presentation about how the African Youth Panel gathered 250,000 votes for the MyWorld Survey in ten African countries.

For UNDP, the three main ingredients of the recipe for good partnerships in communicating The Global Goals are: localising, unifying, and being positive.

Mila Rosenthal

Parliamentarians across the globe are maybe the most important group when it comes to implementation of the Goals. Parliamentarians worldwide should be involved when member states are to design their national SDG action plans. They have good access to local media and institutions as opinion leaders and opinion makers.

Paddy Torsney

Young people are key – and will be key when the SDGs are to be communicated to society. The MyWorld survey worked well in that aspect – more than two thirds of the votes came from young people. We must recognise young people, make them equal partners, and localise our efforts.

Ravi Karkara

Access to technology has made the role of citizens stronger, but governments are not always bringing the voice of their people to the tables of the United Nations. So that is why Junior Chamber International (JCI) decided to position itself as an organisation which locally is bringing the voices of different sectors of society together.

Arrey Obenson

Closing remarks




Christina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; and H.E. Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner in charge of International cooperation and Development, delivered the closing remarks for the policy room.

Christina Gallach called the SDGs a wonderful plan with a wonderful and mobilising branding. She commended Jakob Trollbäck for having created the branding which is excellent because it is beautiful, mobilising, telling and universal. Ms Gallach encouraged all sectors in society to work together to reach everyone with the Global Goals.

Neven Mimica said communication is critical. Communication is implementation of the goals. And the EU is pleased to work in close partnerships – that was key to the success of the European Year for Development. The Commissioner saw the meeting’s discussion being a starting point for more effective partnership in communicating the Global Goals to 7 billion people. He ended by saying that a successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals will indeed be the world’s best news.

Web broadcast

You can watch the entire event on UN Web TV: