Bonn, 24 October 2018

“They will be 22 and 23 years old in 2030, maybe they will study at a university then,” says a mother of two, standing in front of the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) poster, which reads “#Dream2030.” The boy draws a family sitting around a table full of food, and the girl two siblings with their parents.

The illustrations which express basic human needs and values through the eyes of two children add to the statements and drawings of many others – expressing hope for the 1.5˚C climate goal to be met, more electric cars, fewer violent conflicts, decent housing, more openness in society, and tolerance towards others.

At the same time, visitors at the booth were encouraged to solve a Rubik’s cube, symbolising the ‘5 Ps’ of sustainable development. Anyone who manages to solve it, receives the cube as a prize. It takes about an hour for the first person, a young girl, to solve it and few others follow during the day.

On October 20, UNSSC joined the UN Day in Bonn for the third time since the establishment of its Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development. The Lord Mayor of Bonn, Mr. Ashok Sridharan, along with Ms. Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, the new Director for Human Rights, International Development and Social Affairs of the German Foreign Office in Berlin opened the UN Day celebration in the city. They highlighted the important role of UNSSC as a learning and training institution, which provides key knowledge sharing opportunities in the area of sustainable development.

Along with more than 20 UN entities and programs based in Bonn, as well as about 30 of the Bonn sustainability eco-system, UNSSC presented its activities during UN Day, explained the concept of sustainable development on stage, and engaged with the representatives of other entities and institutions, as well as the public.

At UNSSC, the necessity for an integrated approach to sustainable development is explained through a Rubik’s Cube analogy around the 5 critical dimensions for humanity and planet, or 5Ps, which the 2030 Agenda spells out: we need to think of the three dimensions of sustainability (prosperity, planet and people) in parallel to identify synergies and avoid trade-offs. At the same time, we need to identify the right partners (partnership) who have the knowledge and means to address any development challenge. Finally, we need to consider the dimension of long term institutional set-up for the initiative to function and its effects on equity and peaceful relations, considering the effects of our policies within the scope of the initiative and beyond (peace).

Topic of the day was the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Various actors presented their approaches and activities, including the City of Bonn itself, which is about to adopt a Sustainable Development Strategy based on six clusters of topics identified by citizens as priority. The topics included social participation and gender; employment and economy; mobility; natural resources and environment; climate and energy; global responsibility and one world. Other booths and tents included institutional actors such as the German Foreign Office, the Ministry of Cooperation, GIZ, Engagement Global, the German UN Society, the Model United Nations, the German Development Institute, SDSN Germany and many others.

Background: On United Nations Day, UN member states around the world celebrate the United Nations' birthday, reminiscent of the United Nations Charter, which came into force on October 24, 1945. The UN-City Bonn organises an open day for citizens since 1996. UNSSC has been participating in the day since opening its Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development in 2016.