We are the first – and only – generation that can work together to achieve the SDGs! This realisation is what motivated Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to create the #FirstGeneration initiative. The aim is to spread SDG knowledge, help educators engage with young people, and use the power of networks to achieve change.
The Ministry has found #FirstGeneration collaborators around the world. In Cairo, for example, Sweden’s Embassy partnered with Ain Shams University to hold a seminar promoting quality education and gender equality. The day included cultural exhibitions, panel discussions and a screening of Astrid, a documentary about the famous children’s author Astrid Lindgren.
In Rwanda, the Swedish Embassy collaborated with the Aegis Trust to hold a workshop to integrate peace and values into the national school curriculum. The embassy also held a photography competition, asking to students to show what peace means to them. The two winners both thought that bringing together different generations was crucial to achieving SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.
These projects raise visibility abroad, but Sweden also communicates about sustainable development at home. The “People First” platform reminds visitors that development is about human beings. It uses photos, videos, and interviews to tell stories of people like Mohammed, an 11 year old Syrian refugee who attends a primary school in Jordan that is partially funded by SIDA.
In its 2017 Voluntary National Review (VNR) on implementing the SDGs, the Swedish government emphasizes the importance of “broad ownership and participation among all stakeholders and actors in society” for the 2030 Agenda.
Swedish citizens continue to be strongly committed to sustainable development. According to the 2018 Eurobarometer, 82% of Swedish citizens believe that tackling poverty in developing countries has a positive influence on EU citizens as well. In fact, according to the same report, 79% of Swedish citizens are personally involved in helping people in developing countries, which is far above the EU average of 42%.
Header Image: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)