Agenda 2030: how to achieve Sustainable Development Goals?
“What is going on in the world?” and “What are the goals to achieve in approximately 10 years?” In 2015 world countries, with more than 150 Heads of States and governments, a historical Sustainable Development summit took place. There, they decided 17 objectives to accomplish which are posted on the UN website (Source). In that context, the 2030 agenda was approved by the United Nations to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.
Moreover, in 2016 it took place the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). There the representatives of 196 states where negotiating until the Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) was signed. On it, there are some specifications, which have to start in 2020, about how to deal with greenhouse-has-emissions thorough migration, adaptation, and resilience of the ecosystems affected by global warming.
Even though there are some efforts, exemplified above, that are struggling to improve world conditions, disinformation, and fake news are contributing to slowing down the achievement of the goals. On the 14th of February of 2019, it took place a conference in CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs) entitled “Disinformation vs. Common Interest: Agenda 2030 in the Context of the Contemporary Public Debate”, where some interesting topics where discussed.
The event is announced with the following explanation: “As public and policy communicators, most of us struggle on daily basis with the difficulties of promoting informed debate on sustainable development and other relevant public interest issues. Disinformation, fake news or simple accumulation of messages makes it difficult to foster public conversations on issues that require our urgent attention. Using global health, climate change, and migration and examples, this session will address this challenge potential solutions to overcome it”.
The conference, moderated by Pau Morillas, Director of CIDOB, had some experts on the fields mentioned in the previous paragraph:
- Health– H.E. Nora Kronig-Romero, Ambassador, Vice-Director and Head of the Division of International Affairs, Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.
- Environment– Anna Ayuso, Senior Research Fellow, CIDOB.
- Migration– Gonzalo Fanjul, Director of Research, porCausa/ Director of Policy, ISGlobal.
A conversation about Global Health
“I opened an Instagram account a few weeks ago –I would invite you to have an account and follow me”, starts Nora Kronig-Romero speech. The idea of using Instagram is to have an interactive example of how information works in Switzerland. “I put a little quiz on it to know how do we link information”, proceeded Kronig-Romero. On the Screen (figure 4) people are asked to answer questions such as “What percentage of the Swiss population receives subsidies to pay for their health insurance? Is more than 5% or less than 5%”. Apparently, people have a distorted perception about it, as the percentage is 25% but doesn’t seem to be what the majority answer (figure 4).
“Misinformation, perception –how messages are perceived- and how information is taking on by the public”, reports Nora Kronig-Romero; she is the Swiss Ambassador for Global Health –apart from the head of the International Affairs Division and the Vice Director-General of the Federal Office of Public Health. One of her examples is about people voting the merging of hospitals, which were rejected even though she agrees that it was a very positive idea to improve health quality. “Information is the base to take consent”, explains Nora Kronig-Romero, “there is a responsibility, to tell the truth”.
A conversation about the Environment
“My topic is climate change and misinformation in the context of the 2030 agenda”, starts Anna Ayuso, Senior Research Fellow at CIDOB. Every country committed to doing some efforts in order to accomplish the 17 goals.
Furthermore, they signed Paris Agreements where the topic of Global Warming was more specified. However, nowadays it is seen that there are some countries, such as the United States, which, even though they have signed, now are refusing the commitments.
There are some people defending that climate change doesn’t exist –even though there is a scientific committee concerning that climate change is a fact. According to Anna Ayuso, there are three main reasons why people are defending that climate change doesn’t exist:
- Media is giving credibility and reputation to these voices that deny climate change.
- There are some politicians, such as Trump or Jair Bolsonaro, who support it –mainly to keep going with some exploitation like the one being carried in Amazonas.
- There are Think Tanks who are denying climate change.
Anna Ayuso, with here intervention, highlights the importance of information; thus, according to the researcher, data is distributed in a disproportionate manner: the so-called North has more information about the consequences of the climate change while the global South suffers more about it, even though they have less information.
Anna Ayuso concludes by launching some questions: How people react in front of information? How to make people accept the uncomfortable truth? How to react against false news and convince people to accept uncomfortable truths about climate change?
A conversation about Migration.
“How do you foster an informed an intelligent conversation on the bases of data, of facts, rather than on the bases on emotions?”; is asking Gonzalo Fanjul. He is an investigator and activist against poverty and nowadays is managing the political analysis area of ISGlobal and boosting the Foundation porCausa, focused on journalism and investigation against poverty. According to him, migration is a topic seen on Media almost every day. Thus, it is a benchmark example of how the debate is being manipulated and misinformed, based on myths.
However, Gonzalo Fanjul, points out that there is an important debate in a small corner: who is the migrant? Media make “migration” be like a problem only linked with the humanitarian work, for instance in Trump’s common discussion. The researcher purposes some solutions, which are summarized down below:
- Avoid using “us” vs. the other.
- Focus on emotions rather than data.
- While in an “uncomfortable conversation, full of myths and prejudices, do not react: try to open a new conversation, better than continuing a dialogue that comes from the wrong side.
- Make it local, personal, involving actors such as cities.
- “The coca-cola effect”: uses of marketing tools exploring arguments that appeal to people’s emotions.
“Tumba a tu cuñado” (“keep of your brother in law”, the translation was done by the author), a campaign and course online carried by porCausa
How to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s goals while struggling with Media Disinformation?
As reported by Gonzalo Fanjul, in that case, related to migration, a positive conception of migration is “a battle that we are losing” –an expression that would fit also regarding climate change and health field, among others. “Rather than trying to win in a debate, is it possible to open a new conversation?”, continues the researcher. The narrative is fundamental and has to be carefully considered before starting it –apart from having good data support.
Media not only is having an essential role in how people conceive the world but is also being a huge influence on how is possible to take action. As far as I am concerned, in the same way, that fakes news –ideas that, for instance, are denying the evidence of climate change- are being relevant in people’s opinion there must be a solution to go ahead with positive speech.
“The coca-cola effect” can be a good social marketing strategy, for instance, to change the frame of migration, to have people more aware of climate change or to be more involved in health political decisions. An alternative narrative with a powerful shape can put disinformation and common interest in a balance that creates positive change-makers. People can open eyes, never is too late. Let us start the conversation from the sustainable side.
To keep watching:
Conference: Disinformation vs Common Interest: Agenda 2030 in the Context of the Contemporary Public Debate from
To keep reading: Nora Kronig-Romero: from
CIDOB (2019, February 14). “What is going on in the world?” Disinformation vs Common Interest: Agenda 2030 in the Context of the Contemporary Public Debate. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from
Ethical Journalism Network. (n.d.). Media and Migration Reporting Guidelines. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from
Fanjul, Gonzalo. (2017, August 31). Sobre mí. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from
Institut de Salut Global Barcelona. (2019, February 14). “What is going on in the world?” Disinformation vs Common Interest. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from
United Nations. (2015). About the Sustainable Development Goals – United Nations Sustainable Development. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Paris Agreement. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from
Figure 1: Joaquin Salvador Lavado, “Quino”, (1963-1973), Mafalda: “Irresponsible people working” [comic frame]. Retrieved from
Figure 2: UN (2015). The Global Goals For Sustainable Development [infographic]. Retrieved from
Figure 3: Wikipedia, (2015), Infographic about countries participation in Paris Agreement, 2015 [infographic]. Retrieved from
Figure 4: Health Policy Watch, (the 2nd of February 2019), Nora Kronig-Romero, [photo]. Retrieved from
Figure 5: Instagram (2019) Instagram quiz done by Nora Kronig-Romero during CIDOB conference. [photo]. Retrieved from
Figure 6: Instagram (2019) Instagram quiz about “What the Swiss voted on” done by Nora Kronig-Romero during CIDOB conference. [photo]. Retrieved from
Figure 7: Casa América (25th of September 2019) Photography of Anna Ayuso, a Senior Research Fellow in CIDOB [photo]. Retrieved from
Figure 8: CIDOB (2019) Screen Shoot of a slide that talks about climate change as a fact during CIDOB conference. [photo]. Retrieved from
Figure 9: CIDOB (2019) Screen Shoot of a slide that talks about climate change misinformation during CIDOB conference, [photo]. Retrieved from
Figure 10: @ GonzaloFanjul (2019), Picture of Gonzalo Fanjul, who is researcher and activist against poverty, [photo]. Retrieved from
Figure 11: Giuseppe Milazzo, Osservatorio di Pavia (2016) An example about the negative frame of the news about migration in Italy [slide]. Retrieved from
Figure 12: Instagram (2019) Tumba a tu cuñado” (“keep of your brother in law”, translation done by the author), a campaign and course online carried by porCausa Foundation to break with the fake ideas, misinformation and rumors about migration [graphic]. Retrieved from
Figure 13: cadenaser.com (2015). Illustration about how media can influence people [illustration]. Retrieved from