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UN urges activists to apply for SDG Action Awards



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UN SDG Action Awards finalists in a group photograph at the 2022 ceremony in Bonn, Germany. Photo by UN SDG Campaign/Benjamin Westhoff.

NEW YORK- The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Action Campaigner, Ms Marina Ponti, has urged activists striving to achieve a more just equitable future for all people and planets to apply for a UN Action Awards.

Ponti, who made the call in a statement on Thursday, said activists should apply for the awards that celebrate initiatives and individuals working to make SDGs a reality.

The 2023 UN SDG Action Awards will be presented in Rome, Italy, in July, and the deadline for applications and nominations has been extended to May 7.

“We are calling on all activists, mobilisers, and changemakers to submit their application today for a chance to become an awards finalist and to join us in Rome for a celebration of their global sustainability actions and ongoing efforts in confronting global challenges and holding decision-makers to account,”

Ponti noted that 2022 was a seminal year for the Campaign, an initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General to galvanise people everywhere around the 17 SDGs, which include ending extreme poverty, reducing inequalities, and combatting climate change by 2030.

“We defied all expectations and mobilised nearly 150 million people around the world to take action for the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.

“Now, we want to acknowledge and celebrate those very same people who made a difference on the ground flipping the script on the climate crisis, gender inequality, and food insecurity and laying the foundations for a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”

Last year’s awards ceremony was held in Bonn, Germany, receiving over 3,000 applications from 150 countries.

This year’s event will be held on 24 July in Rome on the margins of the UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment where countries will review progress towards transforming food systems worldwide.

Hamzat Lawal, Founder of the Nigeria-based anti-corruption organisation, Follow the Money, addresses the 2022 UN SDG Action Awards. -Photo by UN SDG Campaign/Benjamin Westhoff.

Past winners include Hamzat Lawal, Founder of the Nigeria-based anti-corruption organisation, Follow the Money, which works to influence social change and disrupt the status quo by setting up social accountability models tracking government spending and international aid, exposing corruption, and revealing to the public how effective local social development projects are.

“Winning a UN SDG Action Award has been a life changing moment for the initiative and team.

“Not only has it empowered us to strengthen our internal governance structure, but most importantly the Award has enhanced our credibility in holding governments to account and fostering transparency,” Lawal said.

Since winning in 2019, Follow the Money has grown its presence across Africa, expanding from four countries to a total of nine while also attracting interest from the Americas and Asia.

Other finalists have also continued to leave their mark on local and global communities, including Srishti Bakshi, a marketer-turned-women’s-rights-activist, who embarked on a pilgrimage of 3,800 kilometres through 12 Indian states to put a spotlight on the root causes of violence against women. (NAN)




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