SDG Voices 2018
Following the success of the 2017 edition, the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development has nominated 6 new SDG Voices for 2018. These six organisations are the Belgian ambassadors for sustainable development (SDGs). Over the course of a year, they raise interest among the public for the SDGs, each from their own different background. You can find an overview of these organisations and their initiatives below.
Metro is Belgium's only free daily newspaper and reaches 713,900 enthusiastic readers every day*. The paper is circulated nationally in two languages (French and Dutch) thanks to an efficient distribution network of train and metro stations, campuses, hospitals and businesses. There are two independent editorial teams with French and Dutch-language journalists. Metro was launched on 3rd October 2000. Metro can be found online at www.metrotime.be(link is external), Facebook(link is external) and Instagram(link is external).
Metro is Belgium's most accessible medium, informing its readers in a neutral and objective manner. There is a strong focus on mobility (in the broadest sense of the word), but ecology, diversity and the new economy are also topics that receive regular attention in its coverage. The new ‘Metro Green’ section zooms in on the various SDGs in a series of 17 instalments (every Tuesday). They are comprehensively explained and linked back to the active ‘SDG Voices’ and related initiatives. We give the organisations the chance to put their activities in terms of achieving the goals in the spotlight, thereby attempting to enhance their effectiveness.
Metro has a social role to fill as a newspaper and reaches a broad swathe of the Belgian population. In the first half of 2018, Metro published a series of articles on the SDGs every week. By shedding light on the various SDGs in an accessible and painting a picture of concrete initiatives around them, Metro aims to inspire the public to do its bit too.
In the spring of 2018, the Metro newspaper turned its attention to each sustainable development goal or SDG and summarised them with the most recent figures, a short interview with an expert and several refreshing initiatives in the Metro Green. You can find all the articles in order below:
- SDG 1 in the Metro: 'Poverty is the result of political choices'
- SDG 2 in the Metro: 'Hunger is an issue of access to food'
- SDG 3 in the Metro: 'No more causes of avoidable death'
- SDG 4 in the Metro: 'School for everyone?'
- SDG 5 in the Metro: 'Where does Belgium stand on gender equality?'
- SDG 6 in the Metro: 'Impure water and water shortages are a big problem'
- SDG 7 in the Metro: 'How to reduce energy poverty?'
- SDG 8 in the Metro: 'Child labour, unemployment and integration under the microscope'
- SDG 9 in the Metro: 'Where do we stand on infrastructure in Belgium and the rest of the world?'
- SDG 10 in the Metro: 'If we can't reduce income inequality, we can't fight poverty'
- SDG 11 in the Metro: 'The sustainable city is an enormous challenge'
- SDG 12 in the Metro: 'We are consuming the equivalent of 1.7 planets'
- SDG 13 in the Metro: 'Belgium: a poor student in the battle against global warming'
- SDG 14 in the Metro: 'How to preserve the seas and oceans? The war against plastic has begun!'
- SDG 15 in the Metro: 'We are barrelling towards the 6th mass extinction. The first caused by mankind'
- SDG 16 in the Metro: 'No sustainable development without peace'
- SDG 17 in the Metro: 'Only a few countries are spending the internationally-agreed percentage on foreign aid'
Films move people. Films make people dream, but they also mainly depict unknown worlds that are not our own. This makes films the ideal medium to help the public discover new horizons, give them insights, broaden their views and explore the world. MOOOV chose ‘films with a view of the world’ as its slogan and that is exactly what the organisation stands for.
MOOOV (link is external) VZW takes the initiative in periodic and permanent activities around programming and showing quality films with a view of the world. These activities take place in the context of education and raising awareness to advance the Belgian public's knowledge, respect and appreciation as regards cultures besides the West. There is a focus on awareness and changing attitudes among the wider public around international solidarity.
MOOOV works hard to shine a light on inequality in the world. The organisation confronts its audience with a great many wrongs in the southern hemisphere, with gender inequality, economic deprivation, uncertainty of food supply, social inequality, poor administration, corruption, environmental pollution, etc. MOOOV is thereby in the business of cinema as an active contribution towards broad social support for North-South solidarity in Belgium.
MOOOV has adopted a unique position in the Belgian audio-visual landscape. MOOOV's work consists of a variety of components to which the presentation and guidance of films about the southern hemisphere is central. The most visible element of its work is the annual film festival, which is organised in 8 different Flemish cities simultaneously. MOOOV also organises extensive educational work to broaden people's knowledge, having seen the films, reaching tens of thousands of teachers, children and young people every year. MOOOV also organises the showing of films throughout Flanders all year round. The target audience is highly diverse: for all ages and target groups. In 2016, 126,000 people took joined in for one of the presentations or activities organised by MOOOV.
MOOOV is thereby in the business of cinema as an active contribution towards broad social support for North-South solidarity in Belgium, making it ideally placed to raise awareness of the SDGs among a wide audience. And that's exactly MOOOV's plan for 2018: to make the SDGs more visible. The annual film festival in April is the place of choice to kick-start this visibility campaign, backed up by valued partners like 11.11.11, Amnesty International and MO*. The campaign will continue after the festival.
Read the full interview with SDG Voice, MOOOV, here.
The Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities(link is external) (VVSG) is the membership organisation for all Flemish municipalities and public social welfare centres, almost all police districts, inter-municipal cooperatives and autonomous municipal undertakings. More than 160 staff at VVSG are dedicated to working with their members towards strong public administration every day. They do this by providing advice, training, publications and lobbying work.
Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) form the moral compass which all actors across the global must orient themselves by to shape the future together. VVSG also considers sustainability to be of paramount importance. The SDGs are a priority for VVSG, both within its own organisation and for its service delivery to its members.
Local government is an essential partner for achieving Agenda 2030. The SDGs should inspire and encourage us to take the next step and make our municipal administration more structurally sustainable. As a pilot project with 20 municipalities, VVSG is presently looking intensively at how the SDGs can be integrated into municipal policy, both in terms of raising awareness and political policy planning.
As an SDG Voice, VVSG aims to work with its members to interpret the voice of local government. There is a great appetite and preparedness within local government to work actively on the SDGs. Moreover, a great many local authorities are already taking action. An SDG campaign will shine further light on this engagement. This campaign will also immediately increase support for the SDGs within the municipalities.
Read the full interview with SDG Voice, the VVSG, here.
The VBO (Federation of Belgian Enterprises (link is external)) is an inter-professional employers' organisation representing more than 40 sectoral federations, collectively comprising over 50,000 organisations in all regions of the country. It thereby represents around 75% of the jobs in the private sector.
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the SDGs and their opportunities with sectoral organisations and their members (i.e. businesses). Companies are, after all, a powerful lever for creating shared value through the creation of social, economic and ecological value. Each must contribute at their own level to the global challenges that we are facing.
The project aims to make the dynamic of the magazine REFLECT (link is external), published in September 2017, more profound. It is estimated that the implementation of the 17 SDGs would bring with it 12 billion dollars of economic opportunities, after all. It is these economic opportunities, alongside the other positive consequences, that will be highlighted to the businesses.
The project consists of the creation of a section dedicated to SDGs on our website, the publication of short videos of interviews with CEOs and an exploratory survey for companies. The VBO will organise a debate between ambassadors from YTIA (Young Talent in Action (link is external)) and a few captains of industry on the needs and expectations of the new generation. Finally, a seminar will be organised at the end of the year on the lessons that our members and organisations can draw from the past year.
Read the full interview with SDG Voice, the VBO, here.
Natagora (link is external) has over 200 nature reserves spread across 5,000 hectares in Wallonia and Brussels. Reversing the decline in biodiversity and providing for a better balance between humans and nature is what Natagora aims to achieve. They are undertaking a range of actions to achieve this:
- Natagora protects: Our numerous nature reserves are paradises of biodiversity where you will encounter a wide range of plant and animal species, many of which are also endangered. Our many volunteers help the managers to keep these reserves in order.
- Natagora researches: Identifying threats and direct support for the most vulnerable species is one of the association's most important tasks. To that end, it supervises many monitoring programmes and develops targeted actions for awareness and protection.
- Natagora mobilises: exercising influence on policy, promoting biodiversity, anticipating the potential adverse effects, responding where necessary, but also collecting data and sharing a passion: the association's plentiful volunteers contribute to this daily.
- Natagora raises awareness: Natagora is heavily involved in environmental education thanks to its organisation of training and events in our Nature and Environment Education Centres and building up networks of individuals.
The nature reserves have proven their efficiency numerous times in the battle against climate change; they form a refuge for endangered species, can relieve the effects of flooding and are important carbon sinks. As it happens, the mobilisation of our education department, our volunteers and our media will also help enhance one of the core messages of the SDGs: that human progress must go hand in hand with the urgent need to protect the environment we live in and have greater respect for open nature on the part of all humanity. To be a spokesperson for the SDGs means contributing towards spreading the message that saving humanity is impossible without saving nature.
Read the full interview with SDG Voice, Natagora, here.
Joker is a travel agency that offers sustainable adventure trips. Sustainability has been part of Joker's DNA since its founding in 1981. Openness, equality, encounters and astonishment have remained its core values through the years.
Joker is the foundation of the Joker/ViaVia network – consisting of the ViaVia Joker Travel Cafés, Anders Reizen, ViaVia Tourism Academy, the Joker Project Fund and Karavaan. A combination of profit and non-profit organisations, each of which make an effort for sustainable travel and business in their own way.
Tourism is an enormous sector, representing around 10% of the global economy and 1 in 10 jobs worldwide. Just imagine if everyone travelled in a responsible manner: that would have a gigantic positive impact ! Joker believes in the power of sustainable tourism as a lever for socio-economic development and as a source of tolerance and mutual understanding.
The SDGs are actually ever-present throughout the travel world - it is simply a question of noticing them! This open way of looking at things is what Joker aims to stimulate within travellers as an SDG Voice. Joker shows them that they can make a great many sustainable choices while travelling, which are a win-win for the traveller, the local population and the entire planet. In 2018, Joker aims to challenge Belgian travellers to make a few small changes, to be more aware when they travel and bear the SDGs in mind.
As an SDG Voice, Joker will focus on Belgian travellers, its own following and the tourism sector, by means of the #MySDGspot, #Walkourtalk and #Captainsofindustry campaigns.
Read the full interview with SDG Voice, Joker, here.