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UN Bonn Turns 25

Festival for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the kick-off to Bonn’s anniversary year.

Every year since 2017, the SDG Global Festival of Action of the Bonn-based United Nations Action Campaign has brought people and organizations together in Bonn for a workshop on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In 2021, the event, which will take place primarily online from March 25-27, will also be the official kick-off to the anniversary year "25 Years of the UN City of Bonn".

"The devastating effects of COVID-19 impact of the pandemic have shown how quickly our lives can change and we have seen how global challenges must be solved collectively," explains Marina Ponti, Global Director of the UNSDG Action Campaign, which has been based in Bonn since 2016. "The world is at the beginning of rebuilding - and now is exactly the time to start a turnaround towards sustainability. We need binding commitments, systemic change and innovative approaches. And this only works if generations also work together," Ponti says, also referring to the debate under the hashtag #TurnItAround.

The Festival is the largest international conference on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is not a conference for decision-making, but a platform that mobilizes, that provides space for creativity and innovation. National and local governments, UN representatives, youth groups, activists, artists, civil-society organizations and think tanks from around the world are invited to join together to seek, debate and develop approaches and solutions to this turnaround for all of humankind and for our planet.

The Global Festival 2021 will place special emphasis on ideas and actions around climate action, the fight against poverty and inequality, gender equality and inclusive, sustainable financial systems.

"The implementation of the 17 Goals is the guiding theme of the United Nations in Bonn and an important compass for our local actions," emphasizes Mayor Katja Dörner, who will open the festival together with Marina Ponti and a number of guests. "I am very pleased that the SDG Global Festival of Action will open our anniversary year - and I hope for many impulses that will drive the necessary turnaround both globally and here in Bonn," Dörner points out.

For more information on the festival and registration for interested parties, visit:

25 years of UN City Bonn - Sustainability Hub of the United Nations.

The foundations for Bonn's development into Germany's United Nations City were laid in 1996 with the establishment of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, even though United Nations offices have existed in Bonn since 1951. On June 20, 1996, the United Nations flag was ceremoniously hoisted in front of Haus Carstanjen in Plittersdorf in the presence of then UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali and then Environment Minister Angela Merkel, German Chancellor today. In 2006, the UN Campus with the "Langer Eugen" as its main building was officially inaugurated by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Today, the UN is represented in Bonn with more than 20 entities and around 1,000 staff members and has become the sustainability hub within the United Nations. Under the slogan "Shaping a Sustainable Future," the United Nations in Bonn focuses on climate change, desertification, biodiversity, global volunteerism, health, human security, disaster risk management and satellite-based information systems, vocational education and training, and on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in general. Together with many other international organizations, federal ministries and agencies, development institutions, scientific organizations, UN Bonn forms the core of a globally unique sustainability network and represents - also from an international perspective - a unique asset for Bonn and the entire region.

Every year in May/June, the interim negotiations for the international climate negotiations take place in Bonn. In 2017, Bonn hosted the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference with more than 20,000 participants. The "Global Festival of Action" has been held annually in Bonn since the year 2017. It is the largest international conference on the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Diverse program in the anniversary year

Throughout the anniversary year, the work of the United Nations as well as the many other governmental and non-governmental international organizations and institutions in Bonn dealing with global issues will be put in the spotlight. The diverse program that is being compiled at this time will be adapted to the respective Corona situation in the course of the year, with events either being hosted virtually, as a hybrid format or as a face-to-face event. 

Activities that are part of the anniversary program include, for example, the city's participation in "Earth Hour," the worldwide climate protection campaign of the environmental foundation World Wide Fund for Nature (March 27) and on Earth Day (April 22). 

The 15th Federal Conference on Municipal Development Policy will be held virtually from June 14 to 16 at the joint invitation of the Service Agency Communities in One World/Engagement Global and the City of Bonn. 

The Global Media Forum of Deutsche Welle is entitled "Disruption and Innovation" and is planned as a hybrid conference due to the Corona situation (June 14 and 15). On the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification (June 17), events are planned in cooperation with the GIZ and the United Nations Secretariat for Combating Desertification (UNCCD).

The Bonn SDG Days in September/October will provide lots of information around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and their implementation in Bonn. Municipal activities and Bonn-based stakeholders, initiatives and their actions will be presented in experience-oriented offerings.

For its annual celebration of United Nations Day (October 23), the City of Bonn is again planning a citizens' festival on Market Square this year. In cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office, an exhibition on the United Nations will be staged in the City Hall in the course of the year. 

To reflect the diversity of organizations, institutions and facilities based in Bonn that deal with global issues of the future, a digital event series is planned that will appeal to both a local and a supra-regional audience. Topics envisioned include volunteerism, education/culture, and health through conservation. 

A series of 25 videos and podcasts has also been planned, featuring people who have a special connection to Bonn as a UN location.

Further information

Detailed information on the anniversary year "25 Years of German UN City" and the program is available on the city's homepage at:

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