Google Cardboard Distributed to General Assembly during Refugee Meeting

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On Thursday November 19th, the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) partnered with the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly to make Virtual Reality available to the entire General Assembly via google cardboard. This effort brought the voice of a Syrian refugee straight to decision makers and marks the first time the UN has been able to distribute its films in a way to directly advance the UN’s advocacy efforts on a larger scale in a more sustainable way.

IMG_8373During the meeting, UNMC placed Google Cardboard viewers and information sheets for delegates and observers alike to gain a better understand of the human side to the Syrian refugee crisis through Clouds Over Sidra. H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly invited delegates to use the cardboard to understand the reality of refugees in his opening statement

On your desks, you will see a small box through which you can watch a short film about one of these people: Sidra, a twelve year old girl who has fled her home in Syria due to the ongoing crisis. Having watched this video myself, I recommend it highly as it really brings home just how difficult life can be for a refugee in our world today.

Our meeting, however, is an opportunity to help refugees like Sidra, an opportunity to identify key actions to advance a more comprehensive and proportionate response to the overall global humanitarian and refugee crisis.

IMG_8409The President of the UN General Assembly called this informal meeting of the General Assembly three weeks prior due to the growing crisis in Europe.  The meeting, entitled “Global awareness of the tragedies of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean basin with specific emphasis on Syrian asylum seekers” included H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly; H.E. Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Mr. David Miliband, President and CEO of International Rescue Committee; Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; H.E. Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Co-Chair of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing; Mr Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; and Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Corporate Secretary and Special Envoy of the President of the World Bank Group.

The meeting was separated into three panels, which addressed protection and legal asylum measures, ensuring adequate financing, and resilience efforts to advance support for countries dealing with the largest burdens as well as the connection between humanitarian and development efforts. Each was permeated with discussion moments from member states.

Coordinated by the UNMC for the past year, the United Nations Virtual Reality (UNVR) series has attempted to use Virtual Reality as a way to advance empathy and understanding for people living through some of the world’s greatest challenges. As the UNMC works towards advocating for marginalized communities and other critical development issues, new mediums of communication have shed light on critical issues in new, imaginative ways.

To coincide with the event,, was launched to organize information on the series into one location. The website highlights the importance of using UNVR for advocating for bold action towards critical issues presents in the Sustainable Development Agenda and especially for focusing on the most vulnerable.

For more information, please visit

Celebrating 1.6 Million MY World Votes from Mexico City

Answering the United Nations Secretary-General’s call, MY World was developed with one clear goal in mind —to reach out to people all over the world— and ask them: “What would make your life better?” As an integral part of the UN’s “global conversation” initiative, MY World gave people across the world a platform and the tools to raise their voices and tell the United Nations what is important to them. By engaging 8.5 million people in the global survey, MY World has proven that people want to be involved in defining their government’s priorities, and they are already actively working to make change in their communities. It has also proven that governments are interested in what their people prioritize and are willing to integrate their opinions into their public planning.


(MY World Youth Ambassadors in Mexico City)

Mexico was responsible for 23% of the 8.5 million votes collected globally. The great success came from the massive mobilization of youth across the country, and in Mexico City in particular with the Mexico City Youth Institute. Mexico City had the highest number of people participate out of any city with 1.6 million votes. The city-wide initiative not only helped the government see priorities at the local government, setting the stage for the implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but it also had a positive impact on the local policy making and funding decisions made by the Mexico City government.


(Mayor of Mexico City Dr. Miguel Ángel Mancera at the launch event of MY World Survey)

“The MY World survey recovers that democratic spirit of listening and taking into account the perspectives of young people who with their perseverance, talent and creativity have contributed to make of our city. The survey results allowed us to approach the priorities of 1.6 million people, it represents the most important youth public opinion consultation that has been realized in the country.”

——Miguel Ángel, Mayor of Mexico City
“MY World Mexico City Executive Report”

Recognizing this significant achievement, the UN Millennium Campaign and INJUVE DF launched the “MY World Mexico City Executive Report” on November 9th, 2015 at the UN Headquarters. INJUVE DF presented the report to the UN as well as the general public through live streaming. Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Director of INJUVE DF, shared the agency’s experiences in inspiring 3,000 youth ambassadors to collect millions of votes:

“Local, common people are receiving services from the government, therefore the government needs to know people’s priorities,” she said. “We inspired 3,000 youth ambassadors and created an educational program to teach them how to collect the votes; furthermore, we provided young ambassadors with small scholarships, which supported them to be completely devoted to the MY World survey for 3 months.”


(Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Mexico City Executive Report in UN Headquarters)

1.6 million voices had a great impact on the local policymaking. Although Mexico City offers universal healthcare, the result of MY World survey highlighted the need for greater mental health services for young people, causing INJUVE to investigate with a more robust survey, focusing on emotions. In response, the government now offers free services for emotional health care and risk reduction for young people. “It is a long lasting experience and inspiration of empowering youth for the future,” said Mitchell Toomey, the Director of the UNMC.

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(Youth Ambassadors were collecting votes in Mexico City)

H.E. Mr. Zinsou, the Ambassador of Benin to the United Nations, joined the Executive report to celebrate 1.6 million Mexican voices. Ravi Karkara, the World We Want Policy Strategy Group Co-chair, praised the survey of Mexico City as “an great example of how to ensure inclusiveness for people-centered policy”.


(L-R: Director of INJUVE DF Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations H.E.Mr. Jean-Francis R. Zinsou,  Director of the UNMC Mitchell Toomey,World We Want Policy Strategy Group Co-chair Ravi Karkara)

Phasing in the new SDGs, the upcoming MY World 2030 survey will move forward to a more customized and localized platform with continued monitoring of SDG progress. INJUVE DF proposed a specific survey for young people to provide empirical evidence to inform youth-related policies in capital cities across the world.


New video: We the Peoples’- Journey from the MDGs to MY World to the SDGs

We reflect with pride on how much has been achieved; the call for action on the Millennium Development Goals has resonated across the globe, and peoples from all corners of the world have participated in consultations on the future development agenda, as well as in the unprecedented MY World survey, which gathered over 8.5 million votes from 194 countries.

We are delighted to celebrate the historic agreement on the 2030 Agenda and the ‪Sustainable Development Goals‬. This is truly an inclusive and transformative people’s agenda which will guide us in the years to come.

MY World: Retos para un mundo mejor – Exposición en CaixaForum

MY WorldImagina que estás en la sede de Naciones Unidas en Nueva York. Los líderes mundiales se han reunido para discutir las distintas propuestas para lograr un mundo mejor. Y llega tu turno. ¿Qué propuesta harías?

Subir al podio de Naciones Unidas y transmitir ideas creativas y transformadoras que serán escuchadas, es posible si entras a la nueva exposición interactiva de CaixaForum Barcelona: MY World. Retos para un mundo mejor.

Organizada por la Obra Social “la Caixa” y la Campaña del Milenio de Naciones Unidas, la exposición da a conocer los 17 Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) que pactaron en septiembre de 2015 los líderes mundiales en la sede de Naciones Unidas en Nueva York, y que a través de esta muestra se presentan en primicia en España.

Pero MY World. Retos para un mundo mejor, va más allá de ser una exposición para ser contemplada. Se trata de una acción social en sí misma que requiere de la ilusión y la creatividad de los visitantes, teniendo en cuenta que los ODS constituyen una hoja de ruta universal que precisa, además del compromiso de los políticos, la implicación de la sociedad.

A través de esta exposición podrás conocer de primera mano los logros conseguidos hasta el momento, así como los retos marcados entre todos para conseguir un mundo mejor.

Obra social 'la Caixa'
Obra social ‘la Caixa’

Continue reading MY World: Retos para un mundo mejor – Exposición en CaixaForum

Virtual Reality Films Screened at Athletics for a Better World


(L-R) Olympic Champions and IAAF Ambassadors, Joanna Hayers and Dwight Phillips, IAAF President Lamine Diack, UNDP Country Director Agi Veres & UNDP Head of Policy and Partnerships Hannah Ryder.

UNDP and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) co-hosted a celebration of the social responsibility program Athletics for a Better World (ABW) in Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium on Aug 26th during the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding to celebrate international partnerships in sports and cooperate to promote sustainable, inclusive human development to make the world a better place. This reception is a series of events UNDP is hosting to celebrate the UN Day for South South Cooperation.

UNDP invited members of the Beijing international diplomatic community to attend the event, which included delegates and representatives from over 40 Countries and many partner organizations. The Virtual Reality film screening became the highlight of the night. The UN Millennium Campaign office brought two VR films to the audience to demonstrate global development challenges from around the world. Launched in early 2015, the film Clouds Over Sidra follows the life of a young girl living in the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Waves of Grace features a community’s recovery amid the Ebola epidemic. Both films were designed to support the UNMC’s efforts to highlight the plight of vulnerable communities.

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Attendees explored the ground-breaking technology through the virtual reality headsets with enormous passion, and the powerful, immersive watching experience brought the real lives of people in Jordan and Liberia straight to the Bird’s Nest. The audience were profoundly moved and gained deeper empathy of vulnerable communities.

“The most amazing watching experience ever before.” Exclaimed one diplomat working in Beijing after watching the VR Film. He added, “It’s like they are looking at me and talking to me, they are around me.”


As the world’s second largest economy, China achieved many of the Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule, and has become increasingly important in the overall global performance on the newly approved Sustainable Development Goals. In the MY World Global Survey, which aims to link voices of citizens to global leaders during the process of defining the new development agenda, Chinese people contributed 321,395 votes with a high level of involvement of youth. Better transportation and roads, support people who can’t work are the two most popular priorities among Chinese voters.

china MY World

Ambassador Power Visits We the Peoples’ Hub

On the 30th of September, the UN Millennium Campaign welcomed US Ambassador to the United Nations H.E Samantha Power at the We the Peoples Hub. Ambassador Power was given a private walkthrough of the Hub along with reporters from Associated Press to see many of the instillations present at the hub.

Ambassador Power viewing a screening of Clouds Over Sidra at the We the Peoples’ Hub during the UN General Assembly.

During her visit, she was able to view the Virtual Reality film, Clouds Over Sidra, the story of a day in the life of Sidra, a twelve year old Syrian Refugee living in the Za’atari Camp in Jordan. Following this experience, Ambassador Power had the opportunity to step into a Portal and have a one on one conversation with Sidra, made possible by a collaboration with Shared Studios and UNICEF Jordan. Power and Sidra discussed topics from Sidra’s favorite classes to her aspirations for the future.

Virtual Reality helps decision makers like Ambassador Power step into the shoes of those living through some of the world’s largest development challenges, allowing them to experience their reality in a very real way. Portals are a global network of interconnected shipping containers that form a community center where people can engage one another in ways otherwise impossible. The Portals installed in the We the Peoples Hub gives individuals the unique opportunity to have a conversation and gain insight from someone living in the Za’atari Camp. These conversations bring a human element to global issues, helping bridge the gap between what we hear on the news and what is actually happening on the ground.

Ambassador Power was very impressed with the ability of the We the Peoples’ Hub to bring the human element to issues like the Syrian Refugee Crisis stating, “what the portal does… it doesn’t just give you those faces… [instead] you feel like you are right there”. Ambassador Power was also hopeful in supporting the introduction of a permanent We the Peoples’ exhibit in the United Nations’ headquarters as well as encouraging members of the U.S State Department to watch the film as well.  

Power’s statements come at a time where the United States are committed increase the number of refugees the United States is accepting with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry stating,We are committed to increasing the number of refugees that we take. And we are looking hard at a number that we can specifically manage with respect to the crisis in Syria and Europe”. As of September 2015, the United States have announced plans to accept a greater number of refugees globally, including a minimum of 10,000 Syrian refugees.

Clouds Over Sidra Screened at World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions

Guests at World Economic Forum watching Clouds Over Sidra.

From September 10th-12th, the Millennium Campaign had the pleasure to present a Virtual Reality screening of the film, Clouds Over Sidra at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015 in Dalian, China.

Clouds Over Sidra,which was created to support the United Nations Secretary-General’s MDG Advocacy Group’s call for partnerships to build resilience in vulnerable communities, immerses the viewer in the life of Sidra, a young Syrian girl living in the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Gabo Arora — one of the co-creators of Clouds Over Sidra — says that the inspiration behind the project was to use virtual reality to give a platform for viewers to gain a better grasp of the conditions in camps like Za’atari stating, “if we used virtual reality and made them actually walk in [Sidra’s] shoes…. they would care and be moved to action”.

The event used Samsung Gear VR headsets to give people the opportunity to experience the daily life of one of the many children whose lives have been changed dramatically by the conflict in small groups. These intimate screenings were followed up with a Q&A session moderated by Arora along with Dr. Wei Kunlin, Associate Professor at Peking University, Olivier Oullier, Professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at Aix-Marseille University; and Yobie Benjamin, Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer of Avegant Corporation. The Q&A session discussed the impact virtual reality can have on outreach and advocacy for global issues such as the Syria Conflict that would otherwise be impossible with conventional forms of media.

Co-director and producer Gabo Arora discussing the importance of Virtual Reality films like Clouds Over Sidra in bringing a human element to conflict crises.

In addition, the WEF took the screening as an opportunity to announce their plans to fund the translation of Clouds Over Sidra into Mandarin, bringing further light to a vital issue both to influential decision makers as well as the general public.

Congrats to the Peoples’ Voices Challenge winners!

Over 8.5 million people have shared their perspectives on the new agenda on MY World. This would not be possible without the hundreds of partners who enabled the UN to listen to millions of people’s voices, including those of many who don’t often get any say in global debates.

A bold new global agenda to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future was unanimously adopted on September 25th 2015 by the 193 Member States of the United Nations. On that historic day, the UN Millennium Campaign, in collaboration with the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme and other strategic partners, presented the Peoples’ Voices Awards to 9 organizations.

Peoples' Voices Awards

And the winners are…

Continue reading Congrats to the Peoples’ Voices Challenge winners!

El Presidente de la República Dominicana Danilo Medina recibe informe sobre encuesta Mi Mundo y Agenda Post 2015

Por la Presidencia de la República Dominicana

El presidente Danilo Medina recibió de manos de la vicepresidenta, Margarita Cedeño, y del coordinador residente del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas, Lorenzo Jiménez de Luis, el informe sobre la participación dominicana en la encuesta Mi Mundo.

Estas informaciones servirán de base en la definición de las prioridades para la conformación de la Agenda Post 2015 para impulsar el desarrollo del país. Continue reading El Presidente de la República Dominicana Danilo Medina recibe informe sobre encuesta Mi Mundo y Agenda Post 2015

MY World Volunteers reach more than 4,800 people through UNV’s Online Service


By Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo, Global Youth Advocate for MY World 2015

In the summer of 2014, The Red Elephant Foundation supported our request to start a call for volunteers to join our efforts in the implementation of the United Nations Global Survey for a Better World MY World 2015. Over a year later, results show that we managed to gather up to 500 volunteers from more than 100 countries through the United Nations Volunteers Online Service (UNV).

Our strategy was very simple: mobilize youth through online platforms to reach out directly into the digitally disconnected, illiterate and poorest communities into the global debate about the Post‐2015 Development Agenda. After an online training, which considered the story behind the MDGs and the SDGs, we requested volunteers to talk to their family members, colleagues and friends. Once they completed this step, we asked them to engage in offline voting among civilians of their respective countries.


Volunteers were able to position gender equality as the top priority among voters, as this was the main focus of our campaign. At the end of the day, they were able to collect the voices of nearly 5,000 people. The way they engaged voters was through sharing statistics on women’s role in development and the economy globally, as well as challenges they face including violence and discrimination. We all had the same conviction: leave no one behind, especially women and girls.

Volunteers worked in various stages and with different resources. Many of them printed out dozens of voting ballots and interviewed hundreds of people. They visually documented the process, which contributed to our social media strategy to increase participation. Volunteers have been working on the project for 12 months so far and continue to register votes and create awareness on the importance of the SDGs at the local level.


During the entire process we exchanged information, questions ,and comments, which also led to the creation of other projects on gender equality and development through other platforms. In addition, we benefited from other technological tools to be in constant communication as well as to get to know each other better. We truly developed as an international team ,which led remarkable efforts, distinguishing ourselves for our professionalism, constant work, respect, multiculturalism, and ability to work for a common goal: to make mankind participate in consultations for the construction of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and advocate for gender equality.

The overall process has gone beyond our expectations and we have learned incredible lessons. First, I would highlight the unique role that youth have played in this process. Hundreds of young people around decided that this was for them and did everything possible to make their communities become involved in a legitimate, open and transparent process.

Secondly, I am left with the conviction that the new global Agenda for 2030 has unrivaled support from millions of people who decided it was time to get involved, monitor, and work hand-in-hand with governments to achieve new goals to improve the lives of all and preserve our planet.

This exercise will mark all of us for life, all the images, all the stories, all the memories, collaboration, interest, energy and teamwork will be guidelines that will path our work in favor of human rights and dignity. I really do appreciate this opportunity has come to me and has, albeit on a small scale, helped to improve someone’s life.


Thank you UNV! Thank you UNMC! And thank you volunteers! We did it!