Animating the universal ambition of the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs) aspirational, wide-reaching agenda for change is brought to life in a new animation, commissioned by IIED.

Article, 03 June 2015

"Bringing the ‪SDGs‬ to life: real change for real people" seeks to capture the universal ambition set out in the 17 draft SDGs by focusing on the lives and dreams of five characters around the world.

Rani, a child in India, wants to be able to get clean water from a new well for her village – and she needs to be able to get to school, even when flooding means the roads are impassable.

Tina, a supermarket buyer in the UK, wants the farmers she works with to get a fair price for their produce – and she is horrified that so much food goes to waste.

Eugenie, an American grandmother, wants to be able to afford the medicine she needs – and she wants to be treated fairly.

The three-minute film celebrates the level of ambition put forward in the SDGs and urges world leaders not only to sign up to this transformational development agenda – but also to make these aspirations a reality.

And it calls on citizens around the world to speak out and hold global leaders to account: to recognise our responsibilities and demand a future we want.

A shared ambition

Liz Carlile, IIED's director of communications, said the animation was a response to the challenge of communicating the scale and reach of the Sustainable Development Goals.

"We wanted to show that although the SDGs are complex and relate to many different areas of policy, they also speak to people's dreams of a better future. We all want a more sustainable world and we want share that ambition as widely as we can."

The animation, produced by Hands Up, was launched at the 20th Poverty Environment Partnership meeting last week. It will be used in the run up to the UN General Assembly in September when leaders will agree on the final text for the new SDGs.

Dr A.K. Abdul Momen, Bangladesh Ambassador to the United Nations, added: "We need this sort of animation a lot, to enlighten the global community. We want to create a campaign throughout the world for a win-win situation.

"Until today it's all compartmentalisation. It's all 'developed', 'developing', 'MICs', 'LDCs', 'SIDS' – that's the way we look. We have to look beyond that. We have to look that we all live on the same planet and face the same challenges. The only way to achieve a better future for all of us is to work together, in collaboration and partnership. These animations make you realise – 'what are the issues?'"

An animated appeal

The SDGs are a global concern, and we are keen for our animation to be shared as widely as possible. 

To share the animation, click on the social media icons at the top of this page, or visit IIED's YouTube site and click on the 'share' option.

We also encourage you to use the animation for your own purposes: the video can be embedded in other websites by using the following code:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

In addition, a 32MB version of the animation can be downloaded as a .mp4 file to use at events with no online access. We encourage you to translate the animation or add subtitles in different languages, such as this version in Korean

Edit note: This animation was updated on 7 July, 2015 to encourage people to share the resource.