Big ideas to deliver the global goals for girls

The world’s first ‘playable’ conference will encourage bold and innovative solutions for the implementation of the Global Goals, writes Plan International’s Adam Vink.

The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without a dramatic shift in approach. Photo: Children playing at school in Guangnan County, China - Plan International

The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without a dramatic shift in approach. Photo: Children playing at school in Guangnan County, China – Plan International


In January this year, the global series of women’s rights marches placed the battle for gender equality on front pages around the world. Getting the world to focus on this issue is vital.

At current rates of progress, it will take another 170 years to fully close the gap in pay and employment* opportunities between men and women worldwide. To put it bluntly, this is too long.

New approaches needed on gender equality

To achieve true gender equality by 2030 – as mandated by the Global Goals for Sustainable Development – we need a dramatic shift in approach. Public and private sectors must shift their thinking, ask difficult questions, and experiment with new approaches and partnerships.

“To achieve true gender equality by 2030 we need a dramatic shift in approach”

To ensure we do that at every turn, Plan International has partnered with the Overseas Development Institute and the UN SDG Action Campaign to launch The Global Festival of Ideas* – a new event where people from all corners of the globe will come together to tackle the biggest challenges in international development.

To help achieve this aim, the festival is teaming up with the start-up games company Free Ice Cream to create the world’s first ever ‘playable’ conference.

World’s first ‘playable’ conference

A live-simulation game will engage all the event participants in the trade-offs at the heart of development. Mixing digital platforms with real-world conversations and debate, delegates will explore different ways of collaborating across sectors, test the unknown by trialling new ideas in a safe space, and ultimately find new perspectives on established ways of working.

Each day of the conference will focus on a different theme. On day 1, participants will debate how to protect communities and individuals in an era of shocks and threats: environmental disasters, conflict and mass migration.

Addressing inequality

On day 2 participants will look at inequalities – specifically how to address the growing crisis of disillusionment and exclusion. As a global child rights organisation with the aim of bringing equality for girls, Plan International will ensure that participants are mindful of the central role that reaching Global Goal 5 on gender equality will play in achieving the Sustainable Development Agenda as a whole.

“delegates will find that unusual collaborations sometimes bring unexpected benefits”

Plan International specifically led the development of content for day 2 of the festival with the intention of making sure that when attendees draft policies and also when they’re putting these policies into action, they think about the impact their decisions will have on girls.

Finally, on day 3, delegates will look at how they can mobilise the power of both public and private sectors to reconcile the twin necessities of economic growth and environmental sustainability.

As part of the game, participants will work together to make decisions on critical areas of resource allocation in relation to the Global Goals and these 3 themes, with the implications of these decisions transmitted to others throughout each day via data, audiovisual installations and conference sessions.

Unexpected benefits

By pooling resources and responding quickly to disruptive events throughout the festival, delegates will find that unusual collaborations sometimes bring unexpected benefits, assumptions are there to be challenged, and that careful deployments of resources are the secret to success.

So it’s going to be an exciting event. It’ll be one of the most powerful spaces outside of the UN for decision-makers to frankly discuss the challenges and solutions around the implementation of the Global Goals – including the politics involved.

We’ll tell you more over the coming weeks, but if you can’t wait until then or would like to take part, head on over the Global Festival of Ideas website* to find out more.

*Plan International is not responsible for content on external websites

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