Getting the U.N.'s new set of global goals noticed is no small task

Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:12pm EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

UNITED NATIONS (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Inside the United Nations, hallways and office hum with preparations for this week's meeting of nearly 200 nations to adopt a set of global goals aimed at tackling a range of ills from poverty to climate change over the next 15 years.

On the sidewalk outside the famed U.N. building on Manhattan's East Side, a mention of the 17 lofty Sustainable Developments Goals, referred to widely as the SDGs, has far less resonance.

"SDGs? You'll have to tell me what that stands for," said Victoria Dillon, a tourist from West Virginia, exchanging blank looks with her daughter.

"I'm absolutely all for those kinds of things, but I didn't know there was a succinct set," said the retired school principal.

On Friday, nearly 200 nations are due to adopt the 17 SDGs, a set of 15-year objectives to end poverty, combat inequality, protect human rights, promote gender equality, protect the planet and create conditions for sustainable growth and shared peace and prosperity.

The summit of the world's heads of state and government kicks off with an address by Pope Francis who will followed by Colombian singer Shakira performing the song "Imagine".

The obvious difficulties of reaching such weighty goals aside, the more immediate task is getting them noticed and recognized by the public, the media and the citizens of the 193 U.N. member nations about to ink a commitment, officials say.

On a public tour of the United Nations, visitor Leslie Kidd of Florida said she had seen no mention of SDGs in the media.   Continued...

Colombian singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira appears at a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York, September 22, 2015.   REUTERS/Mike Segar