With just 10 years to go, an ambitious global effort is being kicked off to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – the world’s blueprint for fair globalization – by 2030.

We can still deliver  on the 2030 promise, but it will take a major effort by everyone to tackle the most pressing challenges of our time – from ending poverty and hunger, protecting the planet and its biodiversity to ensuring human rights and dignity for everyone. The Decade of Action will mobilize more governments, more businesses and calling on all people to make the Goals their own.

On 22 January, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will address the General Assembly on his priorities for 2020 and activate the Decade. Watch live on UN Web TV.

The Decade will be a global movement spearheaded by change-makers everywhere to galvanize our commitment for a better world united by the call “For People, For Planet.” Read more: un.org/sustainabledevelopment/decade-of-action

In our first edition of 2020, we list 17 major United Nations events to look out for this year. Mark your calendars.


1. UN at 75 (January)

In a world of dramatic changes and complex challenges, we need collective action more than ever before. To mark its 75th anniversary this year, the United Nations has launched the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of international cooperation in realizing a better world. What kind of future do we want to create? Are we on track? What action is needed to bridge the gap? Let’s shape our future together.

More information: https://www.un.org/en/un75 | Digital Assets

2. World Economic Situation and Prospects Report, New York (16 January)

The report looks at major global and regional economic trends and indicators, and examines the prospects for sustainable economic growth in the face of rising financial, political, social and environmental challenges.

To be released in New York ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the report will focus on the impact of the climate crisis as well as the increasing political polarization and skepticism about globalization. Regional outlooks are expected to be launched shortly after in Ethiopia, South Africa, Russia, Thailand, Lebanon, Mexico and India.

The embargoed English version of the Executive Summary is available upon request.

Media Contact: Dan Shepard

3. World Social Report, New York (21 January)

Inequality is on the rise in many parts of the world, threatening growing numbers of people with the very real prospects of being left behind.

This biennial report, titled The Challenge of Inequality in a Rapidly Changing World, will look at four specific global megatrends – technological innovation, climate change, urbanization and international migration – and whether they can be harnessed to encourage a more equitable and sustainable world or be allowed to exacerbate the disparities within and between countries.

Media Contact: Sharon Birch-Jeffrey

4. 10th World Urban Forum, Abu Dhabi (9-13 February)

Known as the foremost international gathering on sustainable urbanization, the biennial Forum looks at rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies.

This year’s Forum will focus on the linkages between urbanization, culture and innovation as a basis for achieving inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities.

Media Contact: Susannah Price

5. Commission for Social Development, New York (10-19 February)

The session will mark the 25th anniversary of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development – when the world made a list of ten commitments to drive social development and social progress globally. This year’s session will focus on affordable housing and social protection systems to address homelessness – one of the crudest manifestations of poverty and inequality.

6. UN Youth Summit and ECOSOC Youth Forum, New York (31 March- 2 April)

Coming at the heels of the largest youth movement to tackle climate change, the Forum will provide young leaders from around the world the opportunity to take centre-stage and share their vision to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

Called the largest gathering of young people at the United Nations, the annual Forum will be preceded by an inaugural Youth Summit at the organization’s legendary General Assembly Hall. Young advocates will also be able to join the conversation online, particularly through live events at the three-day SDG Media Zone which will take place at the UN Visitors’ Lobby.

Media Contact: Devi Palanivelu

7. Financing for Development Report, New York (April)

Jointly produced by more than 60 UN agencies and international organizations, the report analyzes national and international financial systems and their impact on addressing some of the most defining problems of our time such as climate change and poverty.

The report will inform the annual UN Forum on Financing for Development (20 to 23 April), where countries will decide on measures necessary to mobilize financing for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Media Contact: Dan Shepard

8. UN Crime Congress, Kyoto (20-27 April)

Every five years, the Crime Congress, considered the largest global gathering on crime and justice, serves as a platform for discussions between governments, civil society and experts on research, law and policy development, emerging trends and issues on crime prevention. Media Contact: Brian Hansford

9. UN Sustainable Transport Conference, Beijing (5-7 May)

Did you know that 95 percent of the world’s transport energy still comes from fossil fuels, making it one of the largest sources of air pollution?

The second conference on sustainable transportation will allow global leaders to make bold and innovative steps in rethinking transport systems from design, technology, road safety to consumption patterns. It will strengthen commitments for greater investment in greener, more sustainable transport systems.

Media Contact: Sharon Birch-Jeffrey

10. Generation Equality Forum, Mexico City & Paris (7-8 May & 7-10 July)

To mark the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – considered the most visionary agenda for women and girls’ rights – UN Women will convene the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering which will kick-off in Mexico City from 7 to 8 May and culminate in Paris from 7 to 10 July.

The Forum will take stock of progress and chart the way forward to realize gender equality before 2030, as part of the organization’s multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future.

Ahead of the Forum, the organization will mark International Women’s Day (8 March) and host the two-week long 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (9 to 20 March) in New York.

Media Contact: media.team@unwomen.org

11. Launch of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, Quebec (18 May)

2020 is considered a ‘super year’ for biodiversity and will feature critical opportunities to negotiate a new global framework to protect all life on Earth, starting with the launch of the latest Biodiversity Outlook in May to the Biodiversity Conference in October.

The 5th Outlook will build on several sources of information, including the 2019 Global Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which warned that a staggering 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.

Media Contact: Dan Shepard

12. UN Ocean Conference, Lisbon (2-6 June)

The conference will bring together governments, industries, civil society and experts to discuss solutions to ensure the continued health of our ocean – which continues to absorb the effects of unsustainable human activities.

The High-level Panel for a Sustainable Economy, led by 14 world leaders, will present its solutions-oriented report at the conference. The event will also propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aiming to start a new chapter of global ocean action, ahead of the start of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 to 2030).

Stay tuned for more details, including on the SDG Media Zone at the conference. Media Contact: Devi Palanivelu

13. UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, New York (15-16 June)

Marking the 20th anniversary of the UN Global Compact, the 2020 Leaders Summit will bring together more than 1,500 of the world’s foremost corporate sustainability leaders to discuss the future of multilateralism and the role that principles-based business can play in driving purpose and progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Media Contact: Dan Thomas

14. High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, New York (7-16 July)

Every year, ministers, mayors, CEOs and civil society leaders gather at the
Forum to take stock of progress, report on efforts, share best practices, strengthen partnerships and alliances to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Called the largest annual gathering on SDG implementation, the Forum will also see the launch of the annual Sustainable Development Goals Report – an overview of the world’s implementation efforts to date.

An SDG Media Zone, taking place at UN Visitors’ Lobby, will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and solutions.

Media Contacts: Sharon Birch-Jeffrey & Devi Palanivelu

15. High-level week of the 75th Session of the General Assembly, New York (20-25 September)

The General Assembly will kick off its year-long session with an array of high-level events, including the following on sustainable development.

– 20 September (TBC) | Biodiversity Summit

The high-level summit comes ahead of the Biodiversity Conference in October – in an effort to establish a political direction and momentum for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

– 21 September | High-level event on UN75

The United Nations will mark its 75th anniversary at a high-level meeting on the theme, The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism, during the opening of the General Assembly.

– Date TBD | Annual SDG Event

The Secretary-General has called for a decade for ambitious action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. Starting at the opening of the 75th UN General Assembly, he will convene an annual platform to drive the Decade.

– 22 September | UN General Debate

World leaders, ministers and other global decision-makers will gather at the United Nations to kick off the 75th Session of the General Debate.

– 23 September | High-level Meeting of Beijing+25

The UN General Assembly will convene a commemorative event to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration in the margins of the General Debate. Focusing on the need to advance gender equality, the high-level meeting will highlight achievements, best practices, gaps and challenges.

16. UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), Kunming (5-10 October)

This biennial conference will provide a critical opportunity to negotiate and adopt a new global biodiversity framework – that can advance progress on the conservation, restoration, and sustainable and equitable use of biodiversity. It will also highlight the importance of placing nature-based solutions at the heart of the global development agenda.

17. UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow (9-20 November)

COP26 will be essential for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which was adopted in 2015. The conference will review pledges and progress made to date as well as expect countries to raise their ambitions in their efforts to cut or curb their carbon emissions by 2030.

Read about the Key Takeaways from the UN Climate Conference in 2019.


21-23 January | SDG Media Zone, World Economic Forum, Davos

To mark its 20th anniversary, the UN Global Compact will host an SDG Media Zone for the first time during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, featuring discussions with government leaders, CEOs, UN officials, activists and influencers. #SDGLive un.org/sdgmediazone

Overview | Digital Assets

1-3 April | Global Festival of Action, Bonn

The 2020 Global Festival of Action will feature a range of sessions, each positioned to further understanding and awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Festival nurtures the growing SDG Action Community by making available a global platform to launch new campaigns, host network meetings and scout new initiatives aimed at accelerating the momentum towards 2030.

July & August | SDG Zone at Tokyo 2020 Games

An SDG Zone in Tokyo during the Olympics and Paralympics will feature discussions with UN officials, athletes, businesses and civil society on the role of sports for development as well as major global issues such as climate change, biodiversity and human rights.

20 October | UN Pavilion at EXPO 2020, Dubai

The United Nations will have a dedicated pavilion at the 2020 World Expo to commemorate its 75th anniversary. The pavilion will be organized around a central, programmable space for events, presentations, discussions and meetings.

UN News looks at local solutions that are transforming the world

Cutting child mortality by a third in Brazil, reaching carbon neutrality in Finland and redirecting trillions of dollars of investment to funds that promote sustainability: these are some examples of initiatives from governments, civil society and the private sector, designed to speed up the UN’s goal of achieving a fairer society for all. Read the full story here.