Frequently Asked Questions
Kick-started in 2017, the SDG Lab is a multi-stakeholder initiative that contributes to implementing the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Goals. The SDG Lab supports actors based in International Geneva and beyond in further leveraging development expertise and knowledge into policy, practice, and action.
The SDG Lab provides an open and neutral space to connect, share ideas, amplify impactful SDG practices, and co-create and test solutions. We encourage collaboration and experimentation with different approaches to address today’s complex development challenges—and we value risk-taking initiatives and learning from failure.
Led by UN Geneva, the SDG Lab is supported by the Governments of Switzerland and the Russian Federation (through the UN JPO Programme), and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
The SDG Lab works with a diverse ecosystem of Geneva-based actors that are focused on accelerating results for the 2030 Agenda. The ecosystem includes UN agencies, funds and programmes, other intergovernmental organizations, member States, civil society, NGOs, academia, and the private sector.
The Geneva SDG Community engages collaboratively with the intention of making their expertise accessible to countries and communities who are implementing the SDGs. Acting as a conduit, the SDG Lab nurtures the ecosystem by providing a launch pad for different organizations to co-create and form unexpected partnerships right here, in International Geneva.
The SDG Lab has quickly gained momentum as a recognized SDG hub in International Geneva and beyond. It has become known as a space that incubates partnerships and promotes different and new ways to collaborate in support of implementing the SDGs.
In a short span of time, the SDG Lab has proven its added value by connecting individuals and organizations, both within the broader UN system and between other stakeholders to accelerate results for the Global Goals. An example of this can be found in the Geneva 2030 Ecosystem.
Co-convened by the SDG Lab and IISD, the ecosystem is made up of a group of multi-stakeholder actors that meet to mobilize the capacity, skills, experience, ideas, and motivation of Geneva-based actors towards realizing the 2030 Agenda. Through the ecosystem, informal partnerships have been formed and spun off into separate paths and ventures for further exploration, such as the Geneva Sustainable Finance Collaboration.
The SDG Lab has also become a go-to resource for matching member States with UN and non-UN partners. This is particularly so for specialized UN agencies and programmes headquartered in Geneva that do not have country representation.
A growing number of countries have connected with the SDG Lab to benefit from the expertise of International Geneva, to facilitate exchanges of impactful SDG practices, and to learn from successes and challenges in various parts of the globe.
An important activity for the SDG Lab going forward will be capturing and disseminating examples of partnerships, both those successful and those less so, and sharing lessons to inform practice.
There are several reasons, with the main ones being:
A multi-stakeholder ecosystem: International Geneva has a diverse and dynamic network of multi-stakeholders that are representative of the ‘demand and supply’ spectrum of the SDG chain, spanning UN agencies, funds and programmes, other international organizations, member States, academia, civil society, NGOs, and the private sector.
A multi-sectoral ecosystem: the breadth and scope of the SDG-centric issues addressed in International Geneva is unrivalled in any other city in the world, from human rights, health, ICTs, migration, trade, and humanitarian affairs, to list a few. International Geneva is also a leading global financial centre.
A city with global reach and impact: whether its decisions reached by member States, boards of UN agencies, funds and programmes, or initiatives of the city’s finance community, decisions made here have far-reaching effects globally.
Having a space like the SDG Lab in International Geneva helps to harness the added value of this diverse, multilateral, and dynamic ecosystem to accelerate SDG results for global good.
We created an online resources called the SDG Lab Learning Journey that can help you set up a lab of your own, or take action around the SDGs that matter to you. It covers details from setting up a lab of your own, convene around the SDGs and share your knowledge and findings with the rest of the community.
Each of these initiatives are complimentary pieces of International Geneva’s comprehensive response to the SDGs.
The SDG Lab and the PCP are both units within the Office of the Director-General at UN Geneva and are closely aligned and work together. The SDG Lab focuses on policy and practice innovation and collaboration, whereas the PCP concentrates on capturing and communicating the work of International Geneva and engaging broader communities. The success of the SDGs requires both dimensions of implementation.
The Geneva SDG Community is an open and inclusive network of SDG practitioners in and around the city. Although the ecosystem is co-convened by the SDG Lab and IISD, it is not owned by any one entity or individual. We recognize and support the great power in self-organizing, open collaboration, and co-ownership; so, while the SDG Lab acts as a convener, we believe it is important that all actors have the opportunity to contribute and shape the ecosystem.
There is a wealth of SDG related promotional materials and visuals available online. We have compiled a list of SDG resources that you may find useful here.
If you or your organization would like to communicate your work to the broader International Geneva community, the Lab and the IISD co-convene the Geneva SDG Community, which is an open and inclusive network of SDG practitioners in and around the city of Geneva. Through a WhatsApp channel they can share information on events, seminars, training opportunities, etc. Please sign-up to share information on your organization’s work and to hear about interesting opportunities.
In addition, you may wish to consider some of the Geneva-focused communication platforms such as Geneva Platforms and Geneva Solutions. For the Geneva Platforms, the organizers send out a monthly email update capturing events, seminars and other activities of interest to the International Geneva community. To connect with the Geneva Platforms Team, please send a message to email@example.com. The Geneva Solutions initiative is a nonprofit media organization focused on sharing news and upcoming events in International Geneva. You can find out more about this initiative here.