UNU-EHS students at the Global Festival of Ideas in Bonn

By Nicole Anschell

At the beginning of the month, nine UNU-EHS students kicked off their semester break at the World Conference Center in Bonn as either participants or volunteers for the first annual Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development. This three-day conference, which was hosted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign welcomed over 800 development experts, civil society members, and policy makers from all over the world. To complement the plenaries and discussion sessions, the festival proved to be the first ‘playable’ conference, debuting an interactive policy game, HiveMind, in order to simulate the commitment, strategy and funding required to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Complex issues pertaining to global development were showcased, discussed and debated as a means of stimulating participants to act. Questions of growing inequalities and exclusion were prevalent throughout the festival, with particular focus on the influence of globalization, how we might be able to begin tackling inequalities, resource sustainability and conservation, and the potential for green economies. Additionally, one cannot talk about progress without considering potential alternatives in the face of a natural hazard or unanticipated economic fluctuations. Overall, with the recent relocation of the UN SDG Action Campaign headquarters from New York to Bonn, they could not have planned a better or more inspiring house warming party.

For more information, check out the global festival of ideas’ website http://globalfestivalofideas.org. Perhaps you’ll find out how you might be able to get involved next year!