A new short film released tomorrow – “Nations United – Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times” – sets out the action needed to build a better world, as COVID-19 threatens decade of global progress


Watch the broadcast live on the United Nations YouTube channel here

Saturday 19 September 9am ET

Watch the trailer of ‘Nations United’ here

Listen to the radio broadcast on all major podcast platforms


NEW YORK, 18 September 2020—The United Nations, Project Everyone and 72 Films are launching “Nations United – Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times,” a first of its kind film released tomorrow on the UN YouTube channel and global broadcast networks.

“Nations United – Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times” sets out what must be done to tackle the world’s biggest issues, from COVID-19 to poverty, inequality, gender discrimination, climate change, justice and human rights. The broadcast will also mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, as well as the 5th anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Amidst a global crisis, “Nations United – Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times” takes audiences on a dynamic exploration of the times we live in, the multiple tipping points our planet faces, and the interventions that could transform our world over the next ten years. The film is produced by 72 Films and writer, director and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate Richard Curtis. It features:

  • Leading activists such as education advocate and UN Messenger of Peace, Malala Yousafzai
  • UN Goodwill Ambassadors Don Cheadle (UNEP) and Michelle Yeoh (UNDP)
  • Sustainable Development Goals Advocate and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace, Forest Whitaker, and actor and women’s rights activist Thandie Newton OBE
  • Professor of Educational Technology, Sugata Mitra
  • An exclusive performance from Grammy nominated singer Burna Boy, and a new version of a previous UN performance by multi-Grammy award winning artist Beyoncé
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed
  • Julia Roberts will host a radio broadcast and podcast version of the show, in addition.

António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations, said: “Today, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, and the fifth anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals, we feel the weight of history on our shoulders. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how fragile our world and how vulnerable our people are. A microscopic virus has brought us to our knees. That fragility should make us humble and drive us to solidarity as we rebuild the world in a better way.”

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, said: “The way we must exit the pandemic is the same way we must exit the devastating crises of extreme poverty, inequality and climate change – by working together, nations united, inspired by solutions in which we can all play a part. I hope people will watch this film – from leaders to citizens – and think about what more they can individually and collectively do in the fight for a better world for everyone, everywhere.”

Richard Curtis, writer, film director and UN Sustainable Goals Advocate, said: “Nobody could have anticipated the crisis and uncertainty that we’re living in, but also the immense appetite and opportunity for change that COVID-19 has provided. Through Nations United, we want to tell the story of how we will use the moment to radically transform our world for the better and set out the solutions that will bring about real global change.”

Thandie Newton OBE, women’s rights activist, said: “In the midst of COVID-19, it’s a historic opportunity to look at the facts of the world as it is – and to then focus on the solutions to some of our greatest problems. In the 75 years since the United Nations was founded, the human race has never had to face a set of challenges like we do right now. But together we can overcome them.”

Malala Yousafzai, education advocate and UN Messenger of Peace, said: “My message right now is to young people. We are living in a world where things are not the way we want; we are getting a system, we are getting a world which is unequal, which is sexist, which is racist. We have systems which are discriminating against people, our climate or environment is at risk. There is so much that needs to be done but I hope that young people stand up, raise their voices, they start their activism right now.”

In the midst of a pandemic radically transforming our world, “Nations United – Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times” is set apart from other stories in its focus on facts and solutions, recognizing the need for specific evidence-based action which will create real change. From debt relief, to cutting fossil fuel subsidies, to universal access to healthcare, quality education and digital financial empowerment – the broadcast will present the decisive and immediate action needed to build a better world.

Watch “Nations United – Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times” premiering on YouTube here at 9am ET / 2pm BST on Saturday 19 September.

Notes to Editors

Stills from the film and promotional assets can be downloaded here

Media inquiries should be directed to goals2020@freuds.com or nathalie.delorme@un.org

Hashtags – #NationsUnited #GlobalGoals

Handles – @UN @GlobalGoalsUN @TheGlobalGoals

“Nations United – Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times” is produced by 72 Films, an award-winning production company which creates innovative, ambitious projects that aim to inspire, entertain and make a positive contribution to the cultural landscape. The company has had previous commissions from the BBC, Netflix and National Geographic, and recently produced “The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty.”

About Project Everyone

Project Everyone was co-founded by writer, director, and SDG Advocate Richard Curtis, Kate Garvey and Gail Gallie with the ambition to help achieve the Global Goals through raising awareness, holding leaders accountable, and driving action. Find out more at www.project-everyone.org.

About 72 Films

72 Films is an award-winning production company which produces ground-breaking, powerful, sensitively-handled and thought-provoking content.

Their projects have been nominated for Grierson, Royal Television Society, Broadcast and BAFTA Awards and have won three RTS Awards.

72 Films was founded by David Glover and Mark Raphael who met when they were commissioning editors at Channel 4. They are widely acknowledged as some of the most original programme-makers in British television.

Together they have built a reputation as one of the UK’s leading creative forces, being named as one of Realscreen’s Global 100 production companies of 2019 and nominated for best independent production company at the Broadcast Awards in 2020.

About the Sustainable Development Goals

On 25 September 2015, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to end extreme poverty and hunger, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change, by 2030.