Turning the UN Sustainable Development Goals into a Global Conversation

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 15 September 2015 16:17 GMT
Thomson Reuters Foundation and United Nations Foundation celebrate innovative training programme ahead of UN Summits.

The new UN Sustainable Development Goals are coming into force by the end of this month and there’s a lot at stake from poverty eradication to gender equality to sustainable energy. People are right at the centre of these Goals, but very few seem to know what they are all about, and most importantly, what they actually mean for us.

And that is why the Thomson Reuters Foundation teamed up with the United Nations Foundation to make the UN Sustainable Development Goals accessible to all, turning them into a global conversation powered by the media.

Over the past four months, with core funding from the UN Foundation, the Thomson Reuters Foundation developed an intensive training programme to provide journalists and communications professionals with information, tools and strategies to understand the complex issues surrounding the next set of UN global development goals, and in turn facilitate the debate around sustainability and climate change.

Through the programme, the Thomson Reuters Foundation trained 600 journalists in 33 countries, from Bolivia to Zambia, from the Philippines to Qatar. There was huge appetite for the programme, especially in Africa. In Kenya, a participant persuaded the editor of her newspaper to set up a dedicated development desk; in Zimbabwe a few journalists literally gatecrashed the course.

To celebrate this very successful partnership with the United Nations Foundation, on Monday, Sept 14, the Thomson Reuters Foundation hosted a special evening event at Thomson Reuters HQ in New York.

“It’s plain simple”, said Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If journalists don’t understand what’s going on, how can they inform their respective audiences? If people are not informed, the UN Goals risk becoming an exclusive conversation at the top. I am sure we all agree: that shouldn't happen." She added "In a year where so much is at stake for sustainability and climate change this dialogue that we have helped foster is an opportunity for our generation and the generations next to come."

Monique Villa was joined by President and CEO of the UN Foundation Kathy Calvin who underlined the importance of the programme. "It's a real game changer as we're providing training ahead of the adoption of the SDGs so once they come into force, journalist are fully informed," she said. "The Thomson Reuters Foundation was the perfect partner for us as they understood the project and they owned it."

During the evening, Monique Villa announced the names of the 10 journalists who had been granted a Thomson Reuters Foundation bursary to attend the forthcoming UN New York and Paris Summits. All participants of the programme received  access to a dedicated group to share story ideas on the subject and remain engaged further.

Check the highlights of the programme created by the Media Development team in the video above.

Check out the video diary of one of the trainers delivering the course in Japan.

Read a few highlights from Thomson Reuters Foundation’s coverage of the SDGs

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