The Global Goals for Sustainable Development also known as Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, or Agenda 2030, are an inter-governmentally agreed set of targets relating to international development adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York.
Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, have become priority in the agenda of government around the world but, the most important remains its achievement. Here lies the responsibility of the media in helping to achieve the SDGs.
But before talking about the SDGs, let’s consider how strong and relevant the mass media was during the MDGs era.
Remember in 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, 189 world leaders including Nigeria’s, adopted the Millennium Declaration to overcome poverty through a set of mutually reinforcing interrelated time-bound goals [MDGs] with related targets. The goals included:
- Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty
- Achieving Universal Primary Education
- Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering women
- Reducing child mortality
- Improving maternal health
- Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
- Ensuring Environmental Sustainability
- Developing a Global Partnership for development
The role of mass media has been phenomenal in the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty. Today, women are more empowered, there is reduction in
child mortality rate and improvement in maternal health. Universal Primary Education has also been a top priority to every government. All thanks to the mass media for the crusade on the MDGs. It also created awareness across the globe to combat the deadly HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. This was achieved by the collaboration of the mass media with different organizations like the WHO, UN, UNICEF and the likes.
However, the MDGs Report 2015 stands testimony to the role of mass media in all the eight development areas: The key facts include
GOAL 1 =More than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990.
- The proportion of undernourished people in the developing regions has fallen by almost half since 1990.
- One out of seven children worldwide is underweight,down from one in four in 1990.
GOAL 2 = The primary school net enrolment rate in the developing regions has reached an estimated 91 percent in 2015, up from 83% in 2000.
- The number of out-of-school children of primary school age worldwide has fallen by almost half, to an estimated 57million in 2015, from 100 million in 2000.
- Between 1990 and 2012, the number of children enrolled in primary school in sub-Saharan Africa more than doubled from 62 to 149 million.
- The literacy rate among youths aged 15 to 24 has increased globally from 83% to 91% between 1990 and 2015.
GOAL 3 = About two thirds of countries in the developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education.
- Globally, about three quarters of working-age men participate in the labour force, compared to half of working age women.
- Today, women make-up 41% of paid workers outside of agriculture, an increase from 35% in 1990.
- The average proportion of women in parliament has nearly doubled over the past 20 years.
GOAL 4 = The global under- five mortality rate has declined by more than half, dropping from 90 to 43 deaths per 1000 live births between 1990 and 2015.
- The rate of reduction in under-five mortality has more than tripled globally since the early 1990s.
- Measles vaccination helped prevent nearly 15.6 million deaths between 2000 and 2013.
GOAL 5 = Since 1990, the maternal mortality ration has been cut nearly in half and most of the reduction has occurred since 2000.
- More than 71% of births were assisted from 59% in 1990.
GOAL 6= New HIV infections fell by approximately 40% between 2000 and 2013, from an estimated 3.5million cases to 2.1 million.
- By June 2014, 13.6 million people living with HIV anti-retroviraltherapy globally, an increase from just 800,000 in 2003.
- 2 million Malaria deaths have been averted between 2000 and 2015.
- Tuberculosis preventions, diagnosis and treatment saved an estimated 37million lives from 2000 to 2013.
GOAL 7 = Ozone- depleting substances have been virtually eliminated and the ozone layer is expected to recover by the middle of this century.
- In 2015, 91% of the global population uses an improved drinking water source, compared to 76% in 1990.
- Since 1990, 21.6million people have gained access to improved sanitation and the proportion of people practicing open defecation globally has fallen almost by half.
- The proportion of urban population living in slums in the developing regions fell from 39.4% to 29.7% between 2000 and 2014.
GOAL 8 = Official development assistance from developed countries increased by 66% in real terms between 2000 and 2014.
- In 2014, 79% of imports from developing to developed countries were admitted duty free.
- The proportion of external debt service to export revenue in developing countries fell from 12% in 2000 to 3% in 2013.
- As of 2015, 95% of the world’s population is covered by a mobile – cellular signal.
- Only one third of the population in the developing regions use the internet compared to 82% in the developed regions.
All thanks to the media for their pivotal role in achieving considerable progress in achieving the millennium Development Goals. This was done through the massive campaign and awareness created by various mass media organizations; via print, television and Radio. The relentless effort of media practitioners made a very big breakthrough in helping the government globally to put in their very best in trying to meet the MDGs goal.
Obviously, the era of the MDGs is over, now SDGs is on board, which has 17 goals. The goals include:
- 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, Infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption, production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, Justice and strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals
Hence, the role of media in sustainable development is very significant. The media must participate more than it did during the MDGs era and must continue its collaboration with world health governing bodies.
It must always report newsworthy news in public interest by being objective in its approach and not biased or judgmental.
Nevertheless, the voice of the people should be the priority.