Call for applications: 2nd Edition of the Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award

Local authorities from Mediterranean coastal cities are invited to submit their candidacies for the second edition of the “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award”. The call for applications is open until 7 June 2019

Background and context

At their 19th Ordinary Meeting (COP 19) held in Athens, Greece, in February 2016, the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention adopted Decision IG.22/19 “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award”. The first, pilot edition of the Award was granted on the occasion of the COP 20 Ministerial Session in Tirana, Albania, in December 2017 and the second edition is included in the UNEP/MAP Programme of Work and Budget for 2018-2019 (Decision IG.23/14). The Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award responds to one of the Flagship Initiative recommended by the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) under its Objective 3 “Planning and managing sustainable Mediterranean Cities”.


The objectives of the Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award are to:

  • Recognize and reward the efforts of local authorities to improve the environment and quality of life and promote sustainable development in Mediterranean coastal towns and cities;
  • Encourage local authorities to move towards a more environment friendly future;
  • Enable local authorities to act a role-model to inspire other towns and cities;
  • Raise the awareness of the general public regarding the quality of environment and therefore the quality of life in their towns and cities.

Eligibility criteria

Applications should be submitted by local authorities of Mediterranean coastal towns or cities of a Contracting Party to the Barcelona Convention

  • Both small towns and metropolitan cities are eligible to apply.
  • It is encouraged to develop partnerships with NGOs, scientific community, private sector or other stakeholders for the submission.
  • The application should be either signed by the mayor (or legal representative) or duly accompanied with a mayoral declaration (letter).


The completed application form should be submitted to copied to by 7 June 2019.

Additional resources:


The evaluation will be undertaken through criteria defined under four main categories:

  1. Nature and Biodiversity Protection
  2. Built Environment
  3. Social, Economic and Cultural Sustainability
  4. Governance

In addition to the proposed criteria, the historical perspective of the applicant city will also be considered. The improvement towards sustainability already implemented, as well as the city’s efforts and perspectives for the future are a benchmark criterion.


Selection process

The selection will be carried out in three phases:

First phase: Initial screening
With the end of the submission deadline, an initial screening will be conducted by the MAP – Barcelona Convention Secretariat to ensure that the candidate cities fulfill the eligibility criteria and that the submission forms are correctly filled. The Secretariat will then forward the files of the applicant cities to the Technical Committee.

Second phase: Short-listing
The Technical Committee will nominate up to three candidate cities for the Award. The committee will prepare an evaluation report and submit these nominations electronically to the Bureau of the Barcelona Convention for consideration and selection.

Third phase: Selection
The Jury will select the winning city through online consultation.

Award giving

The Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award is expected to be conferred on the occasion of the 21st Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP 21) to be held in Naples, Italy, 2-5 December 2019.

For further information please visit the following website:


Public Consultation on 2019 Sustainable Development Report Launched, 29 April – 17 May 2019

The Bertelsmann Stiftung and the SDSN are pleased to invite you to a public consultation of data used for the upcoming 2019 Sustainable Development Report (previously SDG Index and Dashboards Report), which will be published around June, 19th. Last year’s edition of this unofficial report is available at














Please find the data for the upcoming report as well as preliminary dashboards for your review here. This year we are adding several new indicators (see “codebook” tab) with some still pending, so the dashboards will change before publication. For this reason, please do not cite or attribute any of the consultation material.

This year’s report will include all UN member states and present trend data. As in previous years, we rely on published internationally comparable data for all countries reported by international organizations or other data providers. Preliminary results and the methodology are presented (tab. 1, 3 and 4).

We are particularly interested to hear your comments on the data sources used, the preliminary dashboards, the thresholds used to denote goal achievement, and the proposed analysis of trend data. In particular, please let us know if you can think of other data that might be included in the report.

We do encourage you to share the data with experts who may be able to comment on specific issues, but please do not share the attached widely in your networks. If you have questions about the methodology or results we will be very happy to discuss them bilaterally.

Please submit your comments and suggestions by Friday, 17th May 2019, via our online form. We are unfortunately not able to accept email submissions.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions at

Hack for SDGs – Call for participants!

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Future Food Institute have organized, in collaboration with the PRIMA Foundation (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Areas), the first Hackathon on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Agenda 2030 (SDGs) at EXCO2019, the International Exhibition on International Cooperation. The HACK for SDGS final presentations and award ceremony will take place at Fiera di Roma on May 17th 2019.

Hack for SDGs is a marathon to “hack” the challenge of facilitating the achievement and implementation of the SDGs in the agri-food sector through international cooperation. Within EXCO2019, SDGs are an opportunity for the private sector to identify innovative solutions for the development of the international cooperation sector represented by national and international agencies, governments, financial institutions, and civil society.

Who can participate?

PhDs; experts; professors; scientists; academics; startups; innovators.

For their participation, all teams will receive the official FAO & FFI certificate and awarded at EXCO 2019. The winning team will also have the chance to join FFI for one of their SDGs related initiatives that take place all over the world.

How to apply? Fill in this form no later than April 19th, 2019!

For the Hackathon participants, it is highly recommended to:

1) Follow the FAO elearning course entitled “Introduction to Sustainable Development Goals indicators under FAO custodianship” available free of charge, upon registration through the FAO elearning Center:

2) Consult the publication entitled: “Transforming Food and Agriculture to achieve the SDGs”

For further information please visit the following website: 

News: MOOC “Sustainable Food Systems: A Mediterranean Perspective” in Italian and French

The “Mooc” – Massive Open Online Course on sustainability in the agri-food sector, initially in the English language, is now available also in Italian and French!

The free online course, with more than 2000 learners enrolled worldwide (the most active countries are the United States and Italy), foresees the participation of top-level international professors.

In line with the main contents of the PRIMA program (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area), the course discusses the challenges and opportunities of the agricultural sector in the Mediterranean basin. It summarizes global-to-local challenges related to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); outlines the history and culture of agriculture and its main characteristics with a focus on the “Mediterranean diet”; explains agricultural data with a focus on rural development models and value creation; explores EU policy frameworks and international agreements related to food and agriculture in the Mediterranean; and highlights emerging opportunities linked to innovation and sustainability in the sector.

The MOOC, recognized by the European Commission within the Erasmus + Virtual Exchange project, is developed by Fondazione BCFN in close collaboration with the SDG Academy and the University of Siena, as part of the Education for Sustainable Development initiative (EDU4SD) launched by UN SDSN Mediterranean to promote knowledge and dissemination of UN Agenda 2030 and the 17 Global Goals.

Thanks to the collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the MOOC will also provide additional teaching materials produced by the FAO e-learning Center.

Course information are available here:

Enroll to the MOOC on the edX platform:…/sustainable-food-systems-a-mediterran…


FAO and PRIMA Foundation: new partnership for innovation and education in agri-food, 10 February, 2019

Joint efforts will focus on improving sustainable management of natural resources and nutrition sensitive, inclusive agro-food systems, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda.

On 10 February 2019, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Foundation for the Partnership on Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA Foundation), a network of research and innovation institutions in 19 participating Mediterranean countries, have joined efforts to foster innovation, research, technology transfer and capacity development. Together, the two organizations will address challenges related to climate change, urbanization and sustainability, both in the Mediterranean region and beyond.

The agreement formalizes collaborations between the two organizations in the field of e-learning, digital education, and capacity development as concerns the agro-food systems in the Mediterranean area.

More specifically, PRIMA Foundation and FAO will collaborate on capacity development initiatives dedicated to Sustainable Food Systems which are aligned with the SDGs framework, promoted by the United Nations.

To enhance the free e-learning courses produced by FAO, one of the partnership’s strength is to include in the FAO e-learning platform the “Sustainable Food Systems: a Mediterranean Perspective” MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), promoted by SDSN Med through SDG-Academy.

FAO e-learning courses are available through FAO e-learning Center:


2018 Vatican Youth Symposium, October 31, 2018

The 2018 Vatican Youth Symposium, which was jointly convened by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) and SDSN Youth, brought together youth entrepreneurs, activists, and innovators for training in global development. The theme of the conference, which was Youth Leadership for Integral Human Development: Laudato Si’ and the Sustainable Development Goals, motivated participants to recommit themselves to partnerships for the 2030 Agenda and to their role as youth leaders for a brighter, better future. While the knowledge shared in the halls of Casina Pio IV, the headquarters for PAS within the Vatican Gardens, catalyzed new ideas and inspiration for all of the attendees, the ripple effect of this year’s Vatican Youth Symposium touches communities around the world who are impacted by the work of the convened young leaders.

Participants, attendees, and speakers were first warmly welcomed to Casina Pio IV by Monsignor Sánchez Sorondo, the Chancellor of the PAS, and Prof. Jeffrey Sachs. Monsignor Sánchez Sorondo invited the youth in attendance to be prophets of love and prophets of the SDGs to combat what Pope Francis has termed the “globalization of indifference.” Prof. Sachs, speaking just after Monsignor, reminded the audience that faith is not just an internal belief but “means that one can hope for goodness, that one can believe in justice, and that one can feel the need and value to defend human dignity.” Prof. Sachs then concluded the opening statements by asking the young leaders in the room to do even more for the implementation of the SDGs and to be courageous as the generation that would be directly responding to pressing environmental, economic, and social concerns.

Siena Summer School on Sustainable Development, September 10-21, 2018

The Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) in collaboration with ENEL Foundation, Leonardo, Network of Universities for Sustainable Development (RUS), SDSN Mediterranean and University of Siena, has organized, for the first time in Italy, a summer school entirely dedicated to sustainability issues.

The Siena Summer School on Sustainable Development will take place from September 10 to September 21, 2018, in Siena, hosted by the Santa Chiara Lab University Center.

As enhanced by the Agenda 2030, the school aims to provide, within two weeks of lectures, practices and working groups, a multidisciplinary training on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offering a very high level of education, transversal to the various dimensions of sustainable development.

During the first week, the 30 participants selected from a total amount of 146 candidates, including students and academics, communication and sustainability experts as well as policy makers and administrators, will receive formal and non-formal training based not only on frontal lectures but also on educational paths hold by significant historical places located in the city of Siena.

On the second week, all participants will work in three different groups on the themes of politics, science and innovation and new business models for sustainable development, by exchanging ideas and innovative proposals as well as delivering and discussing final project works with professors, academics, business practitioners and representatives of institutions.

Further information are available at the following page:

New Announcement from The SDG Academy Team

Dear Students enrolled in the MOOC “Sustainable Food Systems: a Mediterranean Perspective”,

you must complete this course by today, at 0:00 UTC on August 31 (use this time converter to see what time that is in your time zone). The course will be permanently closed on EdCast after that time.

You have a few more days, until 0:00UTC on September 3, to download your certificates for this course and all past completed courses.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • By August 31, complete this (and all other) SDG Academy courses. SDG Academy courses on EdCast will be closed at 0:00UTC on August 31. Check here to find out what time that is in your time zone!
  • By September 3, download certificates for any courses they have already completed. After September 3, you will no longer be able to access your certificates for courses completed on EdCast. Additionally, web links to certificates will no longer function, so be sure to download the certificate file.

To continue learning with the SDG Academy, create a new account on EdX. Please register using the same email address as your current EdCast account. That way, the SDG Academy can keep track of your past course completion status for future uses. If you already have an account on EdX, you can change your email address to match your EdCast account by following these simple instructions.

After registering, you can enroll in upcoming courses by visiting the new SDGAcademyX page.

If you have any questions, please read the FAQ or contact the SDG Academy Team at

Enjoy your learning!

SDG E-Conference “Towards Zero Hunger: Partnerships for Impact”: Foodathon in Wageningen in collaboration with SDSN Mediterranean

As an integral part of the SDG E-Conference “Towards Zero Hunger: Partnerships for Impact”, the Foodathon is a special competition organized by the University of Wageningen to get students and young professionals engaged with SDG 2 Zero Hunger. The Foodathon will not only take place in Wageningen, but will also be hosted online and made accessible to youth worldwide.

If you are a student or a young professional, challenge yourself, participate in the Dutch e-conference competition from the University of Siena at Santa Chiara Lab.
36 hours of time in which  exchange knowledge, share experiences and work in teams to create solutions to global challenges related to the agri-food topic and SDG 2 Zero Hunger.

If you are interested in joining the competition, create your own team or propose yourself individually to become part of a group!

Online participation is free.

Contact us: by June 22th
Online registration: by June 30th
Application acceptance; by July 15th

Competition: from 8:00 am on August 30th to 5:30 pm on August 31st
At Santa Chiara Lab, University of Siena, Address: Via Valdimontone, 1 – 53100 Siena

The themes of the Foodathon are:

  • Policy coherence for food production;
  • Food security and genetic diversity;
  • Sustainable Dietary patterns;
  • Rural-urban linkages for food security;
  • Financing Mechanisms to achieve Zero Hunger;
  • Circular Food Systems.

For more information please visit:

Or contact the local organizers at the following email addresses:

Festival of Sustainable Development 2018: Goal 2, Rome 30 May 2018

The event “Noi, Il Cibo, Il nostro Pianeta” – (“We, Food, Our planet”) – has been organized by the University of Siena as coordinator of the SDG 2 working group in occasion of the ASviS Festival of Sustainable Development 2018.

The topic enhancing sustainable food and agriculture issues have seen students from the “Garibaldi Agrarian Institute” (Rome), involved in a competition related to the inputs deriving from the MOOC “Sustainable food system: a Mediterranean perspective“. Results were presented in the afternoon conference “Scenarios and solutions to SDG2”, hosted by the headquarters of Confagricoltura in Rome, where representatives of FAO, WFP, BCFN Foundation and other important organizations of the sector were present.

Photos edited by Zeranta Edutainment