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24th October: information and awareness for sustainable development

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

On the 24th of October 1972, the General Assembly of the United Nations established the World Development Information day, which represents an emblematic date as it coincides with the day in which the UN was founded.

In order to call the individuals to more conscious actions, it is essential to bring to the attention of the public opinion the problems that affect development. Already in 1964, the Conference of the United Nations on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had established possible strategies to be employed at the national level through targeted policies. Later, in 2015, the Agenda 2030 was adopted, by which 17 goals and 169 targets were outlined.

Strengthening the international cooperation

In order to promote prosperity around the world, the UN has proposed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals recognize and face specific global challenges that will have to be reached by 2030. The Agenda 2030 set a clearly defined goal, which corresponds to the seventeenth one: the relaunch of the global partnership for sustainable development. According to the International Monetary Fund’s report (World Economic Outlook april20), during 2020 we witnessed a global economic contraction of 3 percentage points, much tougher than the one caused by the 2008-2009 financial crisis. According to the estimates (World Economic Outlook october21), such downturn will be followed by the projection of a global growth of 5.9 percentage points during 2021 and of 4.9 percentage points during 2022. IMF’s recommendations are clear: long-term investments which take into account not only the economic well-being, but also human health in all of its aspects are needed.

While the national level requires tax policies, monetary reforms and market measures that can help families and companies, at the international one a new stronger cooperation is needed in order to achieve sustainable development. Developing countries need now more than ever before an international and combined intervention, as they have been put under a huge strain by the Covid-19 pandemic in the last two years.

New technologies for communication

Disinformation during the fake news era is not only due to a low ability of readers to discern, but there is also a communication problem at the institutional level that is being tried to contain. Likewise, big tech companies are also mobilizing to introduce measures against fake news. With regards to the fight against climate change disinformation, recent good news comes from Google, that will no longer allow advertisements on posts spreading fake news on climate issues.

We are bombarded daily by news on the most varied topics and through the most diverse channels and, in my opinion, it is extremely important to understand how to use sources in order to be able to develop our own critical thinking. In this respect, the university has always allowed the students to develop an approach and ability to review the literature such that a graduated student is able to navigate among different sources and to use the right ones in order to build his or her beliefs on solid principles. Reading newspapers and academic articles, consulting international institutions’ reports or scientific magazines, getting to know who writes, being aware of the cultural and historical context in which he or she writes, taking into account the declarations followed by specific empirical analyses. All these methodologies can help us to assess what we are reading.

Sow the seeds

On the 4th of December 1986, the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development. The first article explicitly states: “The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized”. The greatness of the challenge that we are called to face implies the necessity of a concrete action by each of us.

Ca' Foscari for SDGs is doing its best to bring important issues to the attention of those who surround us. The civil society is increasingly involved in initiatives and cultural exhibitions, including the recent Festival of Sustainable Development sponsored by Asvis, which ended on the 14th of October, in which Ca’ Foscari for SDGs also took part presenting its own event.

Be curious, investigate, inquire, evaluate and finally act! These can be some steps that each of us can follow to make the difference. There is no success without effort; and quoting Nelson Mandela, who fought to death for justice and development, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”



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