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FAO urges Asia-Pacific media executives to become more active in helping to achieve the 2030 agenda for sustainable development

11/05/2018 New Delhi, India

Public and private sector media organizations across Asia-Pacific should be encouraged to take a greater stake in helping the region achieve the world’s sustainable development goals, particularly SDG 2 on Zero Hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said today.

Participants at the 15th Asia Media Summit (ASM) heard that to achieve the SDGs, it would be helpful for media practitioners and media executives to become more directly involved in pushing the 2030 agenda forward. This would not only raise greater awareness, but would also help to deliver the behavioral change necessary to achieve the 17 SDGs by the 2030 deadline.

“The clock is ticking, and while we’ve seen some progress on the ground, and some good examples of awareness raising by Asian media on good development practices, more needs to be done,” said Allan Dow, FAO’s Regional Communication Officer. He called for greater partnerships with Asia-Pacific media to build on the momentum.

“UN agencies like FAO, governments, NGOs – we can all play our part, but none of us can hit these targets on our own, so we need to work together – and that’s why the media’s role is critical as a developmental partner,” Dow said.

The participants were reminded that the Asia-Pacific region is home to nearly half a billion hungry people and that the fight against hunger had slowed and even reversed in some parts of the region, adding even greater urgency for a broader intervention by media and others.

Good development stories are there for the taking

As part of its three day agenda, the Asia Media Summit placed a special emphasis on greater engagement in reporting on the SDGs in meaningful and impactful ways. Panelists pointed out that the good human, development stories are out there and, in fact, are quite easy to get and easy to tell. A number of good examples of improved food security, livelihoods, sanitation and recycling were illustrated from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Republic of Korea and Thailand.

However, many journalists, particularly from public broadcasters, said budgetary restraints and the intense competition, often a result of what they called more sensationalized reporting by other sectors of media – including social media – often overwhelmed their own ability to maintain a broader public interest focus and engage their audiences.

The 15th Asia Media Summit was organized by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development. It was hosted by the Government of India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and co-sponsors. More than 200 participants, including 45 speakers from media, government, UN agencies, not-for-profit and civil society organizations were drawn from countries across the region as well as Africa and Europe.

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