A little more than a year ago, the world rallied around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a historic plan to improve the lives of people everywhere. This past year was a reminder of just how ambitious these goals are and how achieving them will test the commitment of the international community.
The year 2016 turned out to be a time of political, economic and social upheaval — from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the U.S. election of a president vowing radical change to America’s domestic and foreign policies, to ongoing war and conflict in the Middle East and a global refugee crisis. We also witnessed extraordinary achievements, including a peace agreement that ended Colombia’s 50-year civil war and the discovery of a vaccine for Ebola — progress made possible by people working together for the common good.
What better way to understand global trends and how they are affecting the SDGs than to speak with the people on the front lines of social change? Over the coming year, I will talk to journalists, government officials, business leaders, policymakers, practitioners and other courageous citizens of nations around the world about the challenge of transforming global promises into tangible progress. We will look at how governments, businesses and civil society institutions are aligning their plans with the new goals, strengthening capacities to coordinate their work across sectors, and forging innovative partnerships to turn commitment into action. And, we’ll discuss the added challenges of coping with a shifting and unpredictable global landscape.
This first podcast takes us to Lebanon, where I speak with Ayman Mhanna, Director of the Brussels-based Global Forum for Media Development. We talk about the need for a well-informed citizenry, the influx of refugees in the Middle East and the importance of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions. I hope this podcast helps you enter the new year not just with a deeper understanding of the challenges we face, but with inspiration and a strengthened resolve to work together to find solutions.
Wishing you and your families a 2017 filled with good health, peace and opportunities.