How Sound Diplomacy Is Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including 17 Sustainable Development Goals that address the global challenges we face.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals define the UN’s development agenda and have been developed to make the world more sustainable by 2030. However, these goals can only be achieved if Governments, Businesses and citizens work together.

We have an opportunity and a responsibility to play our part in contributing to these goals. Sound Diplomacy is committed to the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The most effective way for Sound Diplomacy to do this is by ensuring that the Goals are fully embedded across all of our work.

Supporting the SDGs is not an additional goal for our business, it is integrated into everything we do from our strategic consulting to our events series. Our mission, to use music and culture as a tool to enhance economic and social development around the world, strongly aligns with the UN’s SDGs. We have identified 3 SDGs where we believe we can have the greatest impact related to our business, network and key area of expertise.

The 3 specific goals that we can positively contribute towards are:

5. Gender Equality

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

How Sound Diplomacy supports SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

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  • Supporting opportunities for women and girls to have access to music education and professional opportunities

  • Ensuring safe spaces for women and girls to participate in music

  • Supporting initiatives to help women and girls to pursue a career in music, and supporting career development in the sector

  • Addressing gender discrimination and supporting gender equality in the music industry

  • Highlighting female successes in the music sector

  • Raising awareness and furthering the narrative around gender equality using music

  • Ensuring Sound Diplomacy events and programmes are gender balanced

  • Ensuring our business is diverse in all forms, including gender equal

How our work has impacted on SDG 5:

  • Our Music Cities Events series aims to champion diversity and have gender balanced programming.

  • Through working with music conference Bizkaia International Music Experience (BIME) we have participated in the PRS Keychange programme, an international campaign which invests in emerging female talent and encourages festivals to sign up to a 50:50 gender balance pledge by 2022.

  • We participate in networks and discussions to support gender equality in music.

  • We set up actions to make the live music and night time sectors safer for women. We have done this through promoting music venue owners to train staff to identify and deal with security issues, such as sexual assault, and supporting organisations such Good Night Out in Vancouver.

How Sound Diplomacy supports SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

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  • Evaluating and assessing the social and economic impact of music

  • Developing music strategies that support sustainable economic growth

  • Assessing the direct and indirect economic benefits of music in our cities

  • Ensure funding and support is equally and fairly distributed

  • Using music as a tool to create inclusive and fair employment opportunities

  • Addressing music at all levels from the grassroots to the top

  • Promoting and ensuring music workers rights including musicians unions, collection societies, networks and coalitions

  • Advocating for and developing sustainable music tourism and heritage

  • Promote inclusive music education at all levels

  • Supporting an inclusive music industry

How our work has impacted on SDG 8:

  • We have published white papers and guides outlining best practices on night time economy, music tourism and music export.

  • In all of the cities that we work we make an extensive assessment of the impact of music, including economic and social aspects, and we recommend to develop and maintain Satellite Accounts

  • Through our work with Trinidad and Tobago the country has started developing a new Live Music District. Creating such entertainment districts “attracts visitors and therefore creates opportunities for jobs and revenue generation”

  • We work towards developing artists and their careers, for example in Cuba we delivered a series of workshops with topics ranging from music policy to music management or music company development

  • We advocate for the development of skill-transferring programs, such as mentorship and training programs. In addition, we recommend creating a dialogue between education and the music industry, in order to provide industry awareness, inspiration and connect aspiring professionals with opportunities in the local music industry

How Sound Diplomacy supports SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

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  • Involving all of the community (not only music people) in the design, implementation and development of music policies

  • Promoting the recognition of music infrastructure within city development and urban planning

  • Supporting the use of music for sustainable placemaking

  • Supporting the protection and preservation of cultural heritage

  • Promoting good music governance

  • Establishing and sharing best practices for using music to support the SDGs

  • Ensuring cities have safe and inclusive music spaces and night time economy

How our work has impacted on SDG 11:

  • We advise the property sector on incorporating music into urban planning and to build new sustainable cultural spaces, which will bring all the social and health benefits that are intrinsic to music

  • We carry out roundtables, interviews and surveys to ensure we speak with the depth of the music community and audience in each place we work

  • We worked, as a consultant, with the Greater London Authority to develop the role of a Night Czar for London. This role, currently held by Amy Lame, is to champion London’s nightlife, including safeguarding venues across the city and works in partnership with the night time industries, local authorities, the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and the public. In support of this role, we also supported the development of a Night Time Commission to carry out research on London’s night time economy

  • We developed, as a consultant, the London Music Board for the Greater London Authority to protect grassroots music venues and support London’s grassroots music scene.


Partners we are working with to support the SDGs: