An extended meeting of the media coordination group for the promotion of Sustainable Development Goals

18 December 2019

Agenda 2030, which set out 17 Sustainable Development Goals, was adopted in 2015. This formalized the new concept of a global order based on harmonious development. In 2017, Belarus signed Presidential Decree No 181, which established the post of the National Coordinator for Sustainable Development Goals. The architecture for managing the sustainable development process was formed, and in 2019, by decision of the Ministry of Information, a group was established to coordinate media work to promote the sustainable development goals. The group's work consists in raising public awareness of the need for and mechanisms for achieving sustainable development indicators at the local and national levels. On December 17, 2019, the first extended meeting of the group was held in Minsk. 

Alexander Karliukevich, Minister of Information of the Republic of Belarus, in his speech noted the importance attached in Belarus to the implementation of the program to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. “It is difficult to overestimate the role of media in the successful implementation of Agenda 2030. It is not only an information channel. We educate citizens about the possibility to make balanced and responsible decisions and influence the decisions of authorities on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals,” said Alexander Karliukevich.

Marianna Schetkina, National Coordinator for Sustainable Development Goals, thanked the Minister and the working group for the initiative and its implementation. “The worldview is formed by mass media, which gives us an idea of the processes that take place in society. All states are working to achieve the SDGs, and we have reached such a stage that others also want to learn about our experience. For example, Sweden invited representatives of Belarus to discuss the promotion of Sustainable Development Goals,” said the National Coordinator of Belarus. 

The panel discussion “Contribution of Mass Media to the Promotion of Sustainable Development Goals in the Republic of Belarus” was attended by Aleksei Adashkin, Editor-in-Chief of the Radio Studio of the Representative Office of the MGTRK “Mir”, Aleksandr Bulai, Head of the Department for Main Directions of the information agency “Mogilevskiye Vedomosti”, Veronika Kolosova, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine “Rodnaya Prryroda”, Svetlana Knutova, Deputy Director of the Information Broadcasting Directorate of the Second National Channel, Vitalina Petrusievich, student of the Belarusian State University, and Vadim Scheglov, First Deputy of General Director of “Stolichnoe Televidenie”, who moderated the discussion.

Alexei Adashkin noted the importance of all SDGs, even those that at first glance do not seem to belong to Belarus, in particular, Goal 14, Conservation of marine ecosystems. Although Belarus is a country far from seas and oceans, the problem of using disposable plastic, which has been actively discussed in the media this year, is topical. Plastic products break down into microplastics which contaminates our water systems and, eventually, gets into the world's ocean. Vitalina Petrusevich noted the need to post information about the SDGs on regional media sites to inform all regions, and also drew attention to the importance of not using hate speech. Svetlana Knutova suggested more coverage of specific actions: for example, opening of new medical centers, development of renewable energy, stories about specific initiatives and specific people who implement them. Veronika Kolosova added that such concrete stories help highlight how people change lives around them through their activism. 

 Participants of the discussion and the extended session discussed how to bring information effectively to involve the public in achieving the SDGs, as well as the impossibility of separating the Sustainable Development Goals from economic issues. Economy is a tool, not a goal, and knowledge of the SDGs allows the development of indicators for strategies and plans. “The Sustainable Development Goals are not pompous words or beautiful wrapping, but specific content. It is impossible to separate the economy from the SDGs,” said Alexander Skrabovsky, Coordinator of the Sustainable Development Partnership Group on interaction with business.

The extended meeting of the group ended with the award ceremony of the winners of the national contest for journalists “From Global Goals to Local Action”, organized in 2019 by the Ministry of Information.

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