The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a blueprint for the work of the Secretariat and, therefore, of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UN Geneva). The SDGs are embedded in everything UN Geneva does.
Home to over 100 international organizations, 180 Member State Representations, some 400 NGOs, a dynamic private sector and prominent academic institutions in close proximity, International Geneva is the operational hub of the international system. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has served as a critical unifier to drive collaboration and new partnerships across Geneva’s ecosystem, making it an important hub for SDG implementation on a wide range of topics - from health, security and humanitarian affairs, to migration, digital policy and intellectual property.
Member States have underscored the role of International Geneva as an essential actor in implementing the SDGs. Recently, Geneva’s financial sector has been looking to further increase its relevance towards the SDGs. Geneva won the bid to host the Secretariat of the FC4S (International Network of Financial Centers for Sustainability) and is aiming to increase Geneva’s role as a key center for sustainable finance.
UN Geneva contributes to the implementation of the SDGs in 9 key areas: Communication and outreach activities; Leveraging the Geneva Ecosystem to support SDG implementation;
SDG Financing; Peace and Mediation; Disarmament; Gender Equality; Fostering partnerships with key stakeholders; Environmental Sustainability, Accessibility of Conference Services and Fostering dialogue with civil society.
Activating the 2030 Agenda
A key priority for the Director-General is to assist the Member States in the implementation of the 17 SDGs adopted in 2015 by the 193 UN Member States. To that end, the SDG Lab was launched in 2017 to facilitate dialogue, connect partners and encourage the exchange of best practices and innovative ideas in Geneva and beyond. The Lab contributes to Geneva “walking the talk” when it comes to delivering the SDGs. It creates space for interdisciplinary and multisectoral collaboration while consistently testing assumptions and asking questions about what is needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
Working together to achieve the goals
The Perception Change Project (PCP), launched by the Director-General in 2014 and collaborating with over 105 partners, showcases the relevance and impact of the UN’s work on everybody’s life worldwide and encourages public engagement in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Examples of PCP’s work include the mapping of International Geneva’s expertise on each of the 17 SDGs; the #YouNeedToKnow ad campaign in airports worldwide; and a range of publications, notably action booklets and children books, are just a few of the examples of its output.
The Geneva SDG Studio brings the SDGs to the forefront of global conversation by capturing stories in a unique visual format and sharing the messages worldwide. Since its launch in 2017, more than 109,000 people have viewed and shared the studio’s films. The studio’s film library continues to grow, with 56 video featuring key messages and stories from world leaders and global influencers, covering all of the SDG. In addition, the ‘Ciné-ONU’ film projections always have a theme related to the SDGs.
UN Geneva and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) joined forces to organize the first ever Match for Solidarity charity football match which took place on 21 April 2018 at the Stade de Genève. The goal was to help reduce inequalities – SDG 10 – and to support projects for children with mental and physical disabilities. A total of € 684,400 was raised and was made available to the UEFA Foundation for Children to support a group of projects worldwide: Greece, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Argentina and Mali.
UN Geneva is very closely involved in outreach activities with universities and other academic institutions to ensure that younger generations are properly trained in the language fields i.e. interpreters and translators. Investing in outreach to expand succession planning and transfer of specialized knowledge to future linguists is a priority to ensure the provision of high-quality services to Member States.
UN Geneva annual reports reflect its work on the SDGs. The 2016 edition is particularly a testament to the collective efforts of UN Geneva, its partners in Geneva and globally, for the SDG implementation. The report demonstrates that the Organization provides the support services needed for actors to share best practices, exchange ideas and take action on the 169 targets of the SDGs.
Peace and Mediation
Geneva is the venue of choice for UN mediated peace negotiations, talks and discussions. Collaboration and partnerships among different actors involved in mediation and conflict resolution is essential. Geneva, which hosts a variety of organizations working on different aspects of the peace and security agenda, provides a rich environment for fostering such collaboration.
UN Geneva continues to facilitate peace processes and political discussions, including:
- The Intra-Syrian talks led by the Special Envoy of the SG for Syria
- The Geneva International Discussions on the Conflict in Georgia, co-chaired by the EU, UN, and OSCE
- UN-organized Yemen Consultations between the Government and the Houthi opposition
- Roundtable meetings on Western Sahara organized by Personal Envoy of the SG for Western Sahara
- UN-brokered Cyprus talks
UN Geneva also hosts other discussions aimed at supporting National Governments’ efforts for peace and development.
The UN, in partnership with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), DiploFoundation and Swisspeace launched the CyberMediation Initiative in Geneva, a joint project which seeks to explore how digital technology is impacting the work of mediators in preventing and resolving violent conflicts worldwide. This is particularly important for International Geneva, home to institutions like CERN, the international Telecommunication Union, the Internet Governance Forum and the World Economic Forum, as this initiative builds a new area of cooperation between UN Geneva and its partners across the Geneva ecosystem.
In addition, UN Geneva organizes on an annual basis a number of important outreach events devoted to peace and conflict resolution, such as Geneva Peace Talks and Geneva Peace Week.