Social Impact Summit

Media for Social Impact Summit engaged businesses and journalists
Media for Social Impact Summit engaged businesses and journalists

On June 1st, the UN Office for Partnerships and Public Foundation hosted the Media for Social Impact Summit 2016 . The event brought together representatives of numerous companies working in the area of media for social good. During the day of intense collaborative work, notable speakers, such as Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, Aaron Sherinian, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at UN Foundation, and Sean Southey, CEO of PCI Media Impact, addressed the audience.

The participants had the opportunity to watch vivid presentations featuring social good campaigns in video and song. A few panels addressing various aspects of media for social good focused on such topics as media corporations delivering socially impactful campaigns. It was emphasized time and again that the campaigns of media corporations within the sustainability space connect people with the entire planet, where economic growth and social progress are tied with sustainability. In the future, media companies and corporations will aim at promoting the SDG Agenda for Sustainable Development – a 15 year Agenda with 17 specific goals, including the issue of extreme poverty, eliminating inequalities, protecting the environment, promoting sanitation and clean water projects.

Among several social good presentations, the AngryBirdsHappyPlanet campaign, organized in part by the UN Foundation, featured Angry Birds taking a very proactive stance on climate change. An important message was delivered in the presentation by the ASPIREist – “A feature news show empowering 21st century viewers to take action on issues that ‘matter to them’ ” (in the show some of the causes included Birthright and Transgender People’s Rights). An additional plenary session was devoted to “Amber Alerts” and saving lives in real-time by using media to make messages easily accessible and inspire the audience to action.

The Summit took place at UN Headquarters in New York
The Summit took place at UN Headquarters in New York

The Conference featured a discussion around the power of using comics in conveying stories about SDG’s. Speakers also discussed the power of purposeful collaboration and communication; for example, emphasizing the importance of sustainability through film and music, creating digital platforms that encompass various communities. It was emphasized at the conference that in terms of measurement of success with global goals, the difference must be noted between activity and progress. Positive and meaningful dialogue around social good-related issues will lead to positive behavior and action; both dialogue and connection will be important for SDG’s. The conference additionally featured a discussion around innovation with impact. A call to action was made around increasing knowledge and implementation of SDG’s, especially with youth, as well as utilizing quantifiable metrics to measure success of SDG implementation.

An important part of the conference was interactive brainstorming breakout sessions around the notion of effective multi-platform content and common language that needs to be established to communicate SGD’s and social good messages.

Written by Elena Tarassenko

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