Global Goals flag raised across the world, from the North Pole to the Global South

Sep 24, 2015

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What links places as remote as the North Pole, a mountain village in Nepal and an underwater reef off the small island of Formentera in the deep blue Mediterranean? The answer is a multicolored flag bearing the icons of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals that is being hoisted around the world, in some of the most remote and difficult to reach places, in an effort to spur action on the huge challenges facing humanity and our planet.

As part of the global callout of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is hoisting flags in 109 countries including North Korea, Afghanistan, Cote d’Ivoire, Finland, Haiti, Japan, Madagascar, Iran, Papua New Guinea and China. The flag raising is happening as world leaders gather at the UN Headquarters in New York Friday to adopt the new agenda that aims to end world poverty in the next 15 years.

Seventeen flags representing the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, are being raised in iconic locations from Moscow’s Red Square to Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. They will also be raised in communities that have suffered from conflict or climate related disasters such as the Za’tatari Refugee Camp in Jordan and Lira Town in Northern Uganda.

The Global Goals aim to continue the work started by the Millennium Development Goals, while also taking action on new areas such as reducing inequalities, creating jobs and economic growth, renewable energy, climate action and, peace and justice.

In addition, UNDP is organizing the Social Good Summit in 109 countries to help make the goals famous. The Social Good Summit is a two-day conference that examines the impact of technology and new media on initiatives that create social good. The emphasis is how to harness the power of technology to make the world a better place. Under the hashtag #2030NOW, the campaign asks the question “what type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?”

The flag raising is being used to raise the profile of the new Sustainable Development agenda and UNDP has found creative ways to see that the Global Goals are featured in some of the most remote locations on earth.

To protect life on land (Goal 15) a flag is being raised together with an indigenous tribe from the Philippines, and explorer Explorer Inge Solheim will be raising a flag on the North Pole to call for climate action (Goal 13).  Flags will also be raised under water by Dr Enric Sala, National Geographic explorer- in-residence, to raise awareness of some of the challenges facing our oceans and sea based ecosystems (Goal 14) and in a mountain village in Nepal to mark the call for zero hunger (Goal 2).

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea will raise a flag at the UN house in Pyongyang while in Syria, in the midst of a four year civil war, a flag will be raised in Damascus. In Ukraine, the flag raising ceremony will take place as the country teeters on the edge of renewed hostilities and for the first time in Iran a flag will be raised in Teheran.

Other events include a flag raising ceremony in the West Point slum in Monrovia, which was the epicentre of the Ebola epidemic, and during a friendly football match between rival political parties in Guatemala.


UNDP Around the world