The Global Goalkeepers Award


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi was honoured with the Global Goalkeeper award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York. At the same event, Payal Jangid, a 16-year-old activist from Rajasthan, was presented with the Changemaker award for her work against child marriage.
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    The Goalkeeper awards felicitate changemakers around the world for their contributions toward meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the UN General Assembly set in 2015 for the year 2030. The awards are presented at the annual Goalkeepers function; the first such event took place in 2017.

What are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and what are the Goalkeeper awards?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • The website of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals describes the SDGs as “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
  • There are 17 such Goals, which were adopted by the UN in 2015, and which came into force on January 1, 2016 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Goals are universally applicable, and serve as a roadmap for countries to track their progress on complex issues such as poverty, inequality, and climate change.

The 17 Goals that the UN set in 2015 (Goal 1 through Goal 17, respectively) are:

  • No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Reducing Inequality, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life On Land, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, Partnerships for the Goals.

The Goalkeeper awards

  • Since 2017, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been publishing an annual report card called ‘Goalkeepers’ that tracks global progress towards the SDGs. According to the Foundation’s website, the report aims to accelerate this progress by “using powerful stories, data, and partnerships to highlight progress achieved, hold governments accountable and bring together a new generation of leaders to address the world’s major challenges”.
  • A function to honour achievers, called the Goalkeepers event, is held every year. This year’s event coincided with the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, and was held on September 24 and 25 in New York City.
  • There are five categories of awards at the Goalkeepers event: Progress Award (age 16-30), Changemaker Award (age 16-30), Campaign Award (age 16-30), Goalkeepers Voice Award (any age), and the Global Goalkeeper Award (any age).
  • The Global Goalkeeper Award, awarded to PM Modi, “celebrates a political leader who has demonstrated their commitment to the Global Goals through impactful work in their country and/or globally”.
  • In the past, speakers at the Goalkeepers event have included the likes of former US President Barack Obama, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and Nobel Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Nadia Murad.


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