It’s Okay. Amina J. Mohammad, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on post-2015 Development Planning knows you don’t care.
The United Nations #GlobalGoals for sustainable development team understands this, too. It learned that using the Millennium (Year 2000) to kick-off a campaign to fight unconscionable conditions in distant, unfamiliar nations needed better tools to spread messages that inspire participation. And, 15 years after its Millennium goals campaign, cell phones and social media are the tools to boost the power of a U.N. campaign. Technology is bringing developing nations into the growing global conversation.
Your Action Menu
The U.N. has provided guidance on how anyone can take meaningful actions that contribute to solving the root causes of our three greatest challenges:
- End extreme poverty
- Fight inequality & injustice
- Fix climate change.
They know they’re asking a lot. That’s why they’re breaking it down into manageable bits. Ways that we can chip away at the three enormous goals by taking action.
The UN has identified 17 #GlobalGoals that contribute to sustainable development:
- 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
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace and justice strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals.
Find creative ways to relate them to your day to day world. Implement action and talk about it wherever, whenever you can fit it in. Aim to not only inspire, but enable others to act. Use social media in all its forms to listen, learn, and engage. Share how you are contributing to sustainable development at #GlobalGoals. Go there to offer suggestions and assistance with parts you can spare that others might need.
Spread the Word
Advance the conversation and share information by tagging influencers and organizers. Help leverage our global power by bringing the root causes of extreme poverty, inequality & injustice and climate change to light. Help make such forms of public service and innovation part of our Zeitgeist.
Need a reason to enrich our Zeitgeist?
Do you know what the trending searches on Google were in 2014?
1. Robin Williams
2. World Cup
4. Malaysia Airlines
5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and…
6. Flappy Bird.
We’re a caring bunch, but we can use some direction to have greater collective impact.
Digital Diplomacy Can Help
How I met Amina Mohammad is a testament to the power of digital diplomacy to bring people together. I had been invited to attend the panel “Global Goals in the Digital Age” sponsored by the Embassy of Italy on October 5th as part of its popular digital diplomacy series. It was moderated by CNN Global Affairs Correspondent, Elise Labott @eliselabottcnn and featured in addition to Ms. Mohammad: Elizabeth Cousens, @e_cousens, Deputy CEO @ UNFoundation (former @USUN ambassador and @UN staffer) and Tara Sonenshine, @TSonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and currently at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.
Afterwards, we spoke with a wide swath of the DC community over wine and appetizers with a backdrop of famous Italian designer dresses.
A primary force behind the event, Andreas Sandre, is the Embassy of Italy’s Press & Public Affairs Officer and author of Digital Diplomacy: Conversations on Innovation in Foreign Policy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), and Twitter for Diplomats (2013) a free e-book. Andre wrote:
“Thanks to technology and digital tools, diplomacy has been partially democratized so as to include more voices. That also opened the way to different personifications of power and influence. This transformation is happening very fast and seems to affect the very DNA of traditional diplomacy.”
He said recently: “Our digital diplomacy series has been our most successful outreach. We are using digital media to get people face to face.”
As to other ways the Embassy of Italy incorporates social media in its outreach, Andreas says:
“We’re using things Americans already know about Italy, such as art and culture, to get to know the pipelines, manufacturers, and engineers behind those, suits, cars, and scientific endeavors. The embassy’s popular Facebook page brings people together to nurture conversations, and its portal ‘Italy for Kids,’ shows how Italy is around us in every city of the world and teaches them more about our country.”
Besides speaking with his most admired individual and institutional public policy influencers for his book, Andreas uses social media to listen. He points out it is making it easier for world leaders to hear the public. He said:
“The starting point of knowing what the sentiment is and how we move forward is to listen to everything out there. Not just broadcasting messages, but gauging situations, what people are saying, leading voices, understanding the analytics behind the tools we’re using.”
On the subject of listening, Andreas quotes John Marshall, former secretary of state and longest-serving Supreme Court chief justice in his book:
“To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.”
Changing the status quo all comes down to the power of ideas, Andre concludes. It comes down to all of us — diplomats, politicians, civil society, and citizens — becoming champions for ideas, even when they seem too disruptive, or even too simple to achieve our goals.
Pick a goal. Go big! Invent events. Host contests. Call attention to the needs and the solutions. Tell stories and listen. Adjust your program and keep trying. We’re worth it.