Good networking, Bad accessibility - EDF in the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development

3 April 2018
Alexandre and a second person hold a cardboard of the SDG wheel during the Global Festival. Thieir heads and a copy of the EU Human Rights report are inside the wheel.

Alexandre Bloxs, the European Disability Forum’s Policy Assistant for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), attended the second edition of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development to promote EDF’s last Human Rights Report.

The festival took place in Bonn, Germany, from 21st to 23rd March 2018. It was hosted by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Federal Foreign Office.

The festival is described on its website as: ”The world´s most inspiring SDG event to celebrate, empower, and connect the global community driving Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (…) the Festival brings together the global community taking action to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality”.

Good networking

It started with an energetic opening ceremony, which included videos, live band, short speeches and a duet of beat-box singers. It was bursting with flashlights and colors with a willingness to impress the audience.

After various sessions being scheduled throughout the day, the first day ended up with the distribution of SDGs Action Awards. The awards distinguished the “greatest innovators, mobilizers, connectors, storytellers, communicators, visualizers and includers from across the Globe”. Overall, the event focused mostly on bringing visibility and awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals by promoting social relation and networking. Little content or tools were provided to concretely showcase information about SDGs implementation and monitoring.

  • EDF recommends that next events showcase concrete examples as we are already in the third year into the 2030 Agenda.

Bad Accessibility

Of great concern to the European Disability Forum was the lack of accessibility measures. Contrary to the popular hashtag during the conference #LNOB (Leave No one behind), persons with disabilities were left behind. There was no captioning, no sign languages interpreters, no ramps, no subtitles in videos.

Alexandre, who is hard of hearing, could not follow the festival appropriately despite having enquired beforehand with the organizers - which didn’t respond - about accessibility measures. This is not the first event related to the SDGs that lacks accessibility

  • . EDF calls for the organizers of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development (and similar events) to establish a consulting dialogue with the disability movement in order to develop an inclusion policy for any future events.

This will help the organizers and the supportive agencies to be in line with the true spirit of the Goals - ensure that no one is left behind.


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