The SDG Pavilion at the United Nations General Assembly

September 2023. New York City, The United Nations Headquarters

The theme for the 78th annual United Nations General Assembly was “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all.”

To reflect this theme and to answer the urgent need to put the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track, a bold initiative took shape to create a purpose-built SDG Pavilion, on the grounds of the United Nations during UN General Assembly Week, to serve as a forum to bring together world leaders, business decision makers, NGOs, celebrities and advocates to advance the goals.

The custom-built venue featured a custom tent structure, encased by an interactive scenic installation by world-renowned designer Es Devlin, that represented the 17 SDGs. Each 16’ tall monolith represented one of the SDGs and contained a multimedia exhibit from different cultural collaborators, from zero hunger and quality education to responsible consumption and production and sustainable cities and communities.

The Pavilion interior transported guests into a forest with over 100 living trees and plants along with video and light projection surround surfaces. All fauna species were indigenous to New York and found a second life after the Pavilion with the New York Restoration Project, a local organization whose mission is to work collaboratively with communities to renovate gardens, restore parks and plant trees to transform the city’s landscape.

Programming at the Pavilion kicked off with a Halftime Show, a nod to reaching the halfway mark of the 2030 deadline initially set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 to achieve the SDGs. The Halftime Show commenced with a performance by Brooklyn United, a local youth music and arts program, and featured speakers such as Orlando Bloom, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Richard Curtis and more. The evening ended on a high note with musical performances by Grammy Award winning artists Yo-Yo Ma and Angelique Kidjo.

Throughout the week, there were over 15 unique programming sessions at the Pavilion including a Women’s Rise lunch which hosted guests including actress Natalie Portman, Queen Rania of Jordan, designer Diane von Fürstenberg and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and philanthropist Melinda French Gates. Other program highlights include the SDG Advocates Meeting with Secretary General António Guterres and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley; a screening of The Agreement, a film directed by Raeshem Nijhon; and Global Carbon Pricing Challenge, Driving Global Climate Action, which featured remarks by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Empire was honored to collaborate with the United Nations Office of Partnerships, the United Nations Foundation, Project Everyone, and countless other partners to present the 2023 SDG Pavilion.

To learn more and view the programming from the 2023 SDG Pavilion, visit

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