About the SDG Lab
The SDG Lab is a unit of UN Geneva that is located within the Office of the Director-General. We’re a start up in the UN system, taking a new approach to the 2030 Agenda by creating space for new collaborations and new thinking around the SDGs. Our mandate covers the essence of all of the SDGs, rather than just focusing on areas like health, work or finance. So our approach is systemic – we are committed to an integrated agenda, and embrace complexity.
Our work is different from a start-up or an innovation lab at a private company - for example, we are funded by donors so we cannot teach you how to generate revenue from starting a lab.
However, even if you are not sure about starting a lab yourself, we hope this learning content can still help your initiative.
We act to connect the right people at the right time by identifying opportunities and nudging people into working together. We aim to provide an informal space not only for innovation and collaboration, but also to amplify good practices that are working at country level when it comes to SDG implementation.
The resources in this learning programme are designed to pass on what we’ve discovered, so that you can benefit from our experience as you chart your own course.
To create a neutral space for things to happen, we coordinate and facilitate, using our knowledge of the UN system to focus on things that need more work – and which will benefit from our attention. We're not a coordinator of the UN system. Rather, we coordinate projects or initiatives that bring about SDG-related action. Activities might include:
- Organising events
- Connecting people in the right way
- Giving people advice on who they should talk to
- Enabling the sharing of good practices and difficult challenges related to the SDGs
- Creating a neutral ‘safe space’ for collaboration
- Incubating new ideas and partnerships developed through initial convening (sometimes through project management)
Convening is another word for bringing people together. [Source: Oxford Dictionary]
SDG Lab defines its work by three main features - Connect, Initiate, and Scale Up.
Our experience suggests that delivering on the 2030 Agenda in a post-COVID period requires more emphasis on three key approaches: integration, collaboration, and innovation. These three ‘paradigms’ of the 2030 Agenda underpin the SDGs.
Click here for an op-ed article by the SDG Lab on how innovation, collaboration and integration are the key enablers to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.
In this short video, SDG Lab Director Nadia Isler relates her experiences of how to advance the 2030 Agenda through Integration, Collaboration and Innovation.