UNESCO advocates for SDG 16 at European Development Days
Brussels, June 16 2016. UNESCO advocated for the contribution of press freedom and access to information to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16 during the European Development Days, Europe leading's forum on development, which took place this year on 15 and 16 June in Brussels, Belgium.
The 10th edition of this yearly event organized by the European Commission was focused on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit. Press freedom and the right to information have a direct relevance to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16, specifically target 10, as it envisages the protection to the right to access information and journalists' safety.
During the two-day conference, UNESCO promoted the importance of press freedom and journalists’ safety in the realization of SDG 16 target 10 by inviting visitors to the United Nations stand to experience In Their Press Vests, a 360 virtual reality film on the everyday risks of Syrian journalists. The film was produced by UNESCO and the Association for the Support of Free Media, with the support of the Government of Finland. The virtual reality film was first exhibited this year during World Press Freedom Day in Helsinki, during the Difference Day in Brussels and during the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
Making use of virtual reality as a powerful new approach to advocate for the safety of journalists, freelancers, bloggers, social media producers and journalism sources, UNESCO engaged visitors into an immersive experience to understand the working conditions of journalists in conflict areas.
UNESCO also was part of a stand showcasing inspiring stories of media and digital initiatives for SDG 16 target 10 to ensure access to information and promote fundamental freedoms. The stand was organized by the Global Forum for Media Development as part of the EDD’s Global Village event, and showcased various stories explaining how access to information is key to the achievement of all 17 SDGs.
This year’s edition of the European Development Days is one of the first major conferences dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was present at the Opening Ceremony together with UN and European Heads of State. The EDDs expected to gather 42 000 participants from 4 500 organizations and 154 countries to address Agenda 2030.
UNESCO’s active involvement in the realization of target 10 SDG 16 derives from the organization’s commitment to advocate for the recognition of the vital role that freedom of expression and access to information and knowledge play in sustainable societies. It is for these reasons that UNESCO, with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Global Forum for Media Development, proposed two indicators for assessing progress towards target 16.10.
For more information on UNESCO’s contribution to the SDGs, visit: http://en.unesco.org/sdgs
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