7 March 2017
Interactive Conference Explores SDG Solutions
story highlights

The Global Festival of Ideas was convened to spur new thinking about how to tackle some of the world’s most complex development challenges.

The forum featured interactive elements including a live, collaborative policy game, a trade fair of development innovations, and virtual reality simulations.

The event addressed globalization and inequalities, resource efficiency and green economy, and disruptions in development.

5 March 2017: The Global Festival Ideas for Sustainable Development brought together hundreds participants from over 80 countries to spur new thinking on some of the world’s most complex development challenges. The gathering featured a unique format that encouraged participants to collaborate in real time and consider the trade-offs that decision makers face when seeking to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Festival, which took place from 1-3 March 2017, in Bonn, Germany, was hosted by the SDG Action Campaign, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Government of Germany. It also marked the official launch of the SDG Action Campaign Centre in Bonn, Germany.

Each day of the event featured a specific theme. The first day examined the state of globalization and rising inequalities; the second day addressed the green economy; and the third day explored the role of disruption in development.

Among its interactive elements, the Global Festival of Ideas featured a live, collaborative policy game called 2030 Hive Mind. Using their smart phones, participants became policy makers facing development challenges for an imaginary country. Participants had to manage an annual country budget and collaborate with each other to expand policy options in order to progress the development agenda. The event also featured virtual reality technology allowing participants to experience real-world situations to which they may not normally have exposure, such as life in a refugee camp.

Alaa Murabit said seeking out different views and listening to new perspectives is crucial to achieving the SDGs.

A key theme raised throughout the event was the need to embrace diverse opinions and views in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Keynote speaker and UN High-Level Commissioner for Health Employment and Economic Growth Alaa Murabit stated, “it’s easy to vilify those who disagree with us, but seeking out different views and listening to new perspectives is crucial to achieving the SDGs.”

The Global Festival of Ideas was the first in an anticipated series of annual fora. [Global Festival Website][UN Press Release 1 March][UN Press Release 2 March][UNDP Press Release][IISD Sources][SDG Action Campaign]

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