Year in Review:

In September the United Nations Free & Equal #Path2Equality crosswalk led global leaders across 1st avenue to the UN Headquarters building during #UNGA.

“I ask those who use religious or cultural arguments to deprive LGBT people of their human rights: what do you gain by making others less equal? Is your religion or culture so weak that the only way you can sustain it is by denying others their basic rights?” – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at the High-level side event of the LGBT Core Group.

Photo: UN Spokesperson


So, let us start with the basics. What is the 2030 Agenda? What exactly is it that is going on right now?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit is happening in New York right now, and it will be happening for the next three days. It’s a meeting between world leaders where the aim is to all agree on the formulation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 sustainable development goals and their 196 sub-targets. The meeting will take the whole weekend, but already the Agenda has been adopted, and we now have a world Agenda for the next 15 years. The Agenda will, to put it simply, dictate the approach of the UN in their work, both how they work internally and how they work with their member states and other partners. It will also have a huge impact on how countries tackle the different challenges that they are facing in everything from environmental sustainability, to education, poverty elevation and gender equality, just to mention a few.

Worth noting is that the negotiating part of the 2030 Agenda (where member states argues about if they should use this word instead of that, and other things that surprisingly will have much bigger implications than one might think) is more or less done. The draft of the goals has been negotiated and worked on since 2012 and he Rio+20 conference, and will most likely be adopted in their entirety at this stage.

The 2030 Agenda is “a plan for people, planet and prosperity that also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom”. It is at its core an integrated set of goals and targets that illustrates the interconnectedness of the “three pillars of sustainable development” (social, environmental and economic). All goals are in the formulation of their targets connected to multiple other goals, and together they create a web of targets and goals, where one cannot pull one strand without taking into consideration how it connects to other aspects of sustainable development. This creates a complicated set of goals, and the world is definitely facing a challenge in its work towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda. However, it is also our only chance to ensure that we protect not only our selves, but also the planet we live on, and that we ensure that the needs of the present is met while also ensuring that the possibility of future generations to meet their needs is safeguarded. Our actions these coming 15 years will be crucial for how life on our planet will look in the future, and there are many exciting, if challenging, things ahead of us.


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Right now, more than 62 million girls around the world are not in school, half of whom are adolescent. That’s why President Obama is headed to the United Nations today to talk about building sustainable development and how we’re helping let girls learn across the globe. 

Chawanzi wrote to President Obama from Zambia about girls’ education. Read her letter, then share a yearbook-style photo of yourself telling us what you learned in school using #62MillionGirls to help raise awareness for girls’ education worldwide. 

New York City has a long and  proud history as host city of the UN – from its temporary home in Flushing  Meadows Corona Park, to its permanent home on the east side of Manhattan.  Mayor de Blasio and his administration take pride in the deep and lasting  connections between our global city and one of the world’s premier  institutions.

TRANSCRIPT: Malala’s Speech at UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015

25 September, 2015

Bismillah hir Rahman ir Rahim

In the name of God, the most beneficent, the most merciful.

Before I start, may I ask for some quiet – please pay attention to what youth is asking here.

Dear sisters and brothers, world leaders, please look up, because the future generation is raising their voice.

Today, we are 193 young people representing billions more. Each lantern we hold represents the hope we feel for our future because of the commitments you have made to the Global Goals.

In my life, I have experienced terrorism, displacement and denial from education. And these are the tragedies that millions of children are still suffering.

That shocking and heart-breaking photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying dead on a sea shore. The parents of the girls abducted by Boko Haram, with tears flooding from their eyes. And little children on the Syrian border with no home, no hope, force us to ask: how many more will we see killed, being rejected, neglected, being homeless? How many more?

The world needs a change. It cannot change itself. It is me, it is you, it is all of us who have to bring that change.

Dear world leaders, dear brothers and sisters,

Education is not a privilege. Education is a right. Education is peace.

Promise peace to all children, in Pakistan, in India, in Syria and in every corner of the world. Promise peace and prosperity.

Promise an education to my brave sister Salam and all refugee children, that wars cannot stop them from learning.

Promise my sister Amina that our sisters abducted by Boko Haram will be brought back and that all girls will be able to study in safety.

Promise us that you will keep your commitments and invest in our future. Promise that every child will have the right to safe, free and quality primary and secondary education.

This is the real investment the world needs and what world leaders must do.

I am hopeful that we all, and the United Nations will be united in the goal of education and peace. And that we will make this world not just a better place but the best place to live.

Education is hope. Education is peace.

Thank you.

Share that you stand #withMalala for girls’ education. 

As NYC Junior Ambassadors, hundreds of students from across the five boroughs have the opportunity to act as representatives of their city, pledging to create a better city and a more sustainable planet. As part of the program students receive curated tours of the UN Headquarters, giving them a behind-the-scenes look at the UN and access to a growing alumni network of young, future leaders. They also receive classroom visits from an Ambassador to the UN or senior diplomat. Applications for Year 2 of the program are open through October 5! Educators from across the five boroughs and from any subject area can apply!

“Phones and social media have connected the world in ways that were unimaginable when I took office.”

Ban Ki-moon addressed world leaders for the last time at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He told leaders gathered that social media is a reminder of “the power of individuals to change the world”.

“My story is that of a 21st Century immigrant. I was born in Africa. My family fled a civil war and sought refuge in Europe. In 2006 I moved to the United States where, for the first time I felt at home. This is after all the land of immigrants; the land of opportunity.” —Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame writing to President Obama

Read Council Member Warsame’s letter on his own story of becoming a refuge. Then watch the President speak at the United Nations on countering violent extremism.


17 #GlobalGoals that can change the world forever.

Over the past 3 years the UK has lobbied hard to make sure the Global Goals cover the areas not covered by the MDGs, to make sure nobody is left behind.