Your guide to the SDGs summit

The defining moment for the next 15 years has arrived. World leaders, policymakers, activists and girls will gather in New York to mark the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, which will shape the development agenda until 2030. You can participate no matter where you’re located. Here’s a guide to key events over the weekend.

What are the SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals will define the international development agenda until 2030. The 17 goals guide the priorities and objectives in global efforts to end poverty, promote equality and conserve the natural world.

The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals, which were put in place in 2000 and expire this year. The MDGs led to extreme poverty being halved globally, and so there’s much hope that the new SDGs will achieve similar successes.

For the first time, girls have been explicitly included in global plans that influence how trillions of dollars will be spent. Girl Effect and partners will have girl advocates from all around the world participating in events and speaking up for what they need from the development agenda to thrive.

What’s happening this weekend?

UN member states will officially adopt the SDGs, which have been chosen and defined over the past three years. The summit weekend represents an opportunity for interested groups to mark the historic moment.

While the summit officially opens on the morning of Friday 25 September with a speech by Pope Francis, the weekend kicks off on Thursday with a worldwide candlelight vigil that anyone can participate in.

Representatives from UN member states will take part in closed plenary sessions, which will be streamed live for anyone to watch. The lively debates are likely to happen during the interactive dialogues, which include sessions on food security and empowering girls and women. Outside the UN, policymakers, campaigning groups and NGOs will take part in side events, where girl advocates will be able to make their voices heard.

The SDGs are also a time for celebration. On Saturday, the Global Citizen Festival will showcase world-class musicians and bands in an all-day concert in New York’s Central Park to mark the occasion, with Beyoncé, Pearl Jam, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay headlining. Joining them on stage will be world leaders making commitments to girls’ rights - now that’s something to shout about.  

If you want to get in on the action, you can host your own meet-up as part of the Social Good Summit. This event will see global leaders and activists meeting in New York to discuss how innovation and technology can contribute to sustainable development. The theme this year asks “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” using the hashtag #2030NOW.

Join the conversation

Follow Girl Effect at @girleffect on Twitter as we bring highlights of events throughout the weekend.

Other key hashtags to use and follow include #GlobalGoals, #action2015 and #Girls2030.

We don’t want you to miss out this weekend, so we’ve created a downloadable itinerary available here or at the link on the right.