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Translating the 17 icons of the SDGs into a famous local art form in Nepal as a part of UN's bigger goal to localize the SDGs in Nepal's seven provinces.

An awareness campaign to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the local level by translating the 17 SDGs icon into the most famous Mithila arts, to carry the impression of indigenous art practices.

Objective of the practice

Though the SDGs was declared at the highest level in the UN together with the member states in 2015, the only way they can be achieved is through actions in local communities and countries around the world. For which, people living at the grassroots level needs to first understand the essence of the sdgs and identify how the goals tries to deal with their problems regarding health, food, safe shelter, equality peace etc. Until, we are able to make those living the furthest realize the SDGs is not only the UN's agenda but it is everyone's agenda which aims for the betterment of the people and the planet both.

Hence the objective of this practice is to make people at the local level understand about the goals and also to promote women empowerment because to execute the idea , the Resident Coordinator Office of the United Nations in Nepal collaborated with the local veteran women Mithila artists from the historical city Janakpur. The reason we chose the Mithila Art is because Mithila art is inseparable aspect of Maithili culture of Maithili speaking territory of Nepal especially in Janakpur which is the capital of province 2 (Nepal is geographically divided into 7 provinces).

Key stakeholders and partnerships

The partner was a local organization based in Janakpur city of Nepal called Janakpur Women Development Center(JWDC). We had them on board through a loose agreement where the UNRCO in Nepal paid for the canvas, artist fees and overhead cost of the JWDC.

Implementation of the Project/Activity

The UNRCO of Nepal collaborated with the local Janakpur Women Development Center. The idea was executed by conduction a two day orientation session on the SDGs and its essence like Leaving No One Behind.

At the orientation session, the local women were also made familiarized with the 17 global icons of the SDGs, their shapes, color of the base etc. Following the orientation, the women started sketching the goals into the local Mithila art. After couple of rework, the 10 women from Janakpur Women Development Center created the impressive 17 SDG Mithila Paintings within the span of a week making the work first of its kind in Nepal if not globally.


Since this was a communication campaign and not a project we may not be able to map out the impacts. But it definitely can be tied under the UN's bigger goal of localizing the SDGs in Nepal's provinces.

Some of the evidence based outputs are the local artists understood the SDGs who earlier were unaware. The effort was covered in one of the main news papers and when posted on the twitter, the post about the SDGs Mithila Painting received the second highest traction with an organic likes of 103 and 54 retweets.

Enabling factors and constraints

This was the first of its kind initiative in Nepal and in the UN too. The effort very well received among the national and international community. From conceptualizing the idea to the time the paintings came into being the entire process was completed within less than 20 days. Hence it was efficient, innovative and was carried out at a very reasonable budget of only 1400$ .

Sustainability and replicability

Considering its success, the UNRCO is planning to translate the goals into six more local art-form for the remaining six provinces.


This was the first of its kind effort in Nepal as it was locally produced, also financially supported local women from Janakpur

Other sources of information

News Coverage on The Kathmandu Post : bit.ly/2RRT9YH

Goal 1
1.b - Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions
Goal 2
2.1 - By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round
Goal 3
3.1 - By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births
Goal 4
4.1 - By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
Goal 5
5.c - Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels
Goal 6
6.b - Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
Goal 7
7.1 - By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
Goal 8
8.b - By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization
Goal 9
9.c - Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020
Goal 10
10.1 - By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average
Goal 11
11.1 - By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
Goal 12
12.2 - By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
Goal 13
13.2 - Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
Goal 14
14.1 - By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Goal 15
15.2 - By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
Goal 16
16.a - Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime
Goal 17
Capacity-Building -
17.14 - Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development
Financing (in USD)
1,400 USD
Basic information
Start: 03 October, 2018
Completion: 21 October, 2018
Ongoing? no
Asia and Pacific
Geographical Coverage
Province 2 of Nepal
United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office
Type: United Nations entity This campaign wouldn't have been possible without the support from the Manager of Janakpur Women Development Center -Satish Kumar Shah who can be reached at: satish2015@teachfornepal.org
Contact information
Simrika Sharma, Public Information Manager, simrika.sharma@one.un.org, +977 9841592692
No photo was provided

No photo was provided

No photo was provided
United Nations