Timorese Media Discussed SDGs

Dec 20, 2016

13 December 2016 - The United Nations (UN) in Timor-Leste organized a half-day media briefing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which was adopted unanimously by 193 UN member states in 2015. The objective was to share information about the work of UN in Timor-Leste and the new Agenda 2030. Most importantly, the goal was to discuss the role that journalism can play in supporting Timor-Leste to achieve the 17 Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030.

Around 30 journalists from media agencies in Dili, and Community Radios in Maliana, Viqueque, Baucau, Manatuto, Manufahi, Ainaro, Liquisa and Suai participated in the event, and actively engaged in discussions on how to write about the SDGs. The agenda included a presentation by Mr. Knut Ostby, the UN Resident Coordinator, on the UN and its work in Timor-Leste. This was followed by a presentation and discussion on SDGs and the role of the media.

“The main players are people and the community. What we do is to help develop their ideas and work together for development.” Mr. Knut Ostby, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said. “Timor-Leste has a very young population, thus, we need to make sure that youth are engaged in all development processes for the achievement of the SDGs”.

On the same occasion, Ms. Felisberta Moniz da Silva, Chair of the UN Communication Group and UNDP Communication Officer, said that journalists not only disseminate information, but also advocate for social change, thus they have an important role to influence decision-making, call for action, and encourage active participation of the community in development processes.

Mr. Knut Ostby, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, with local journalists (Photo: Joanna Wong / UNDP Timor-Leste)

During the event, the participants identified the link between issues, programmes, or policies featured in the newspaper, and how they relate to the SDGs. By looking at the SDG goals and targets more closely, the participants were able to derive  story ideas for newspaper as well as radio and TV.

For some of the participants it was the first time to discuss SDGs.  Recognising the importance of media’s awareness on SDGs, Joaqium de Fatima Calistro , journalist from Community Radio Maubesi, thanked the UN and expressed interest in more regular media briefings in the future. “It very important for us to know about SDGs. Thanks to the UN for organising this event. We should have more regular events like this in the future.” said

Emphasizing community engagement in SDGs implementation, Laurentino Freitas, Manager of Community Radio Manatuto, recommended a regular radio programme on SDGs to be produced jointly with the UN. “We work closely with community to gather information and disseminate information. Therefore, we should have regular radio programme on SDGs and its implementation in Timor-Leste. This will raise people’s awareness and encourage people to take actions for the achievement of SDGs” said Mr. Laurentino.

Ms. Adelina Lourdes, the Head of the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, closed the event by encouraging journalists to get familiarized with the 17 Goals, and what it takes to implement them at global and national level, and to continuously and closely follow the national contextualisation process, to play an active role throughout the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Timor-Leste.