UNDP partners with Heart17 to fight COVID-19

Heart17 collaboration brings companies together with the United Nations to share life-saving information

April 21, 2020


Stockholm (Sweden) - As cases of COVID-19 continue to escalate, Heart17 - a global initiative to help accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals - has initiated a unique partnership model to raise awareness and engage youth to prevent, respond and recover.

“At its core, Heart17 is about instilling hope and building solidarity through celebration of creativity. We work to bring partners together, from all sectors, to show that we can, as a global community, overcome this challenge, that we are in this together,” notes Anna Ryott of Heart17.

As the pandemic continues to develop in nearly every country on the planet, many are left feeling confused, hopeless and alone. The partnership draws on the key messages and experiences of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which works in nearly 170 countries and is rapidly scaling up support on COVID-19, and extends this reach through private sector partners.

In its initial phase, the campaign is focused on handwashing, social distancing, and the need to stay at home, all which have proven critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. As the campaign proceeds, the focus will shift to how the global community must come together to support the most vulnerable, including those who are suffering economic impacts and residents of hard-hit developing countries.

“The only way we can solve global challenges is by working together, in partnership. We are extremely grateful and proud that companies within popular culture, such as H&M Group, instantly decided to act on the ask from UNDP to spread information among young people about the COVID-19 pandemic. There is fear around the world, we know that, what we need to encourage now is hope and solidarity, that is how we will win this,” says Anna Ryott and Jörgen Andersson, founders of Heart17. 

The outreach coincides with the pre-launch of Heart17, a global initiative that partners with UNDP and global brands within popular culture, to help accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals with a message of hope, creativity and partnership. While the aim was to launch later in 2020, the global pandemic and the need for critical information to be shared globally led to a fast-tracking of the launch process.  

“This virus is challenging even the strongest of healthcare systems and we expect the impact on developing countries to be severe. UNDP is working to support our partners around the world and we see Heart17 and its partners as a way to encourage global action, to bring people together and see this as an all-of-humanity endeavor. We are only as strong as our weakest healthcare system and we all must pull together if we want to defeat this,” says Ulrika Modéer, Director of UNDP’s Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy.

The campaign about COVID-19 directly addresses Sustainable Development Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing, as the first of many campaigns and partnerships to come.