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Global industry to contribute to United Nations sustainability summit

The United Nations is to receive commitments from the event industry for the first time at the Sustainable Development Goal Summit in New York.

Heads of state and government will gather at the UN headquarters on 24-25 September to review progress against the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the first time ever this will include commitments for action from the global event industry.

To date, 7,000 commitments for action have been collected from event professionals from 58 countries which have contributed to an ‘acceleration action’, submitted to the summit, with the aim of raising the profile of how events can be used to achieve the goals.

Marta Rojas Sevillano, communications lead at the UN SDG Action Campaign, said: “Events bring people together to learn and collaborate, and create an environment where concrete actions can be developed and individuals and organisations can be mobilised and inspired to join the movement making the Sustainable Development Goals a reality.”

Coordinated by not-for-profit Positive Impact Events, the acceleration action promotes the event industry as a way to ensure Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education for all) is achieved. It is titled ‘Engaging the global event industry in the UN SDGs: By 2030 ensuring the over 1.5 billion people who attend events every year acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development’. Funding support has been provided by Maritz Global Events, IMEX, PCMA, Cvent and Oregon Convention Center.

Contributions have been gathered via an online survey called ‘MY World’ which received special dispensation, from the UN SDG Action Campaign, as well as praise for the way it was adapted and promoted within the global events industry, to a reach over 1.7 million. The events industry survey marked the first time the UN has supported a campaign of this sort within the event industry and event professionals are being asked to build on this momentum by taking to social media during the summit and sharing the actions they take to create a sustainable event industry using #Act4SDGs

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change joined Positive Impact Events at IMEX America to explore industry collaboration for its next steps.

Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO, added: “We’re delighted to add our weight and support to this events industry acceleration action. Some parts of our industry are making huge strides and changes to achieve greater sustainability, others are only just starting out. Nevertheless, this is a time for us all to raise awareness, to educate ourselves and those we serve, to collaborate and, above all, to commit to taking action.”