A New Way to Communicate What Is Happening at the UN — the Digital Media Zone Is a Bridge Between the UN and the General Public, Translating High Level Diplomatic Discussions Into an Engaging Conversation

NEW YORK, NY (May 4, 2016) – From April 19 through April 22, in partnership with the Office of the President of the General Assembly, PVBLIC Foundation hosted a Digital Media Zone (DMZ) parallel to the high level meetings being held at the United Nations. The DMZ was a space in which social media influencers, bloggers, and journalists from around the world came together with global government, business, and NGO leaders to engage in active discussions of the issues being addressed in the UNGASS on drugs, the High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change. On April 21st, the DMZ and UN TV produced a live broadcast of the interviews and discussions happening within the DMZ, using digital media and technology to engage online audiences in discussions usually inaccessible to the general public.


April 19 and 20, DMZ events and discussions revolved around global drug policy, in conjunction with the first UNGASS on drugs since 1998.


On April 21, the DMZ live broadcast presented discussions focused on how to make the 17 UN SDGs attainable. President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft convened the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs, where world leaders discussed finance, technology, data and partnerships, as key tools to advancing sustainable development. Lykketoft stopped by the DMZ to expand upon these discussions, elaborating on how the private sector can and must contribute to achieving the SDGs.


Amplifying Lykketoft’s message, business leaders Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer of Ikea, and Angela Baker, head of Qualcomm Wireless Reach, were in attendance at the DMZ, providing valuable insight on the important role of the private sector in actualizing the SDGs. Baker and Andlib Shah, head of the US chapter of Techfugees, continued to build upon these discussions by shedding light on the valuable impact of technology in addressing global goals.


Additional UN, government, business, media, and nonprofit leaders used the DMZ as a platform for further debate and discussion throughout the day on the intersection of media, technology, business, and individuals in advancing the SDGs, providing online participants with an inside perspective on the High-Level Debate.


On April 22nd participants at the DMZ gathered again at the UN during the Paris Climate Agreement Signing Ceremony, a landmark deal in which leaders from 175 countries took a key step forward in the fight against climate change. By inviting representatives from all countries to sign at the Ceremony on the same day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon helped keep the global spotlight on climate change, and keep the political momentum rolling from Paris. After watching the Ceremony via a live broadcast from the DMZ, media attendees participated in more live discussions from global leaders on the challenges faced in addressing the climate change reduction goals, including a discussion between Lykketoft and Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, on putting women and children first.

Media and partners at the Digital Media Zone included: Connect 4 ClimateUN FoundationUN Development ProgrammeMashable+Social GoodNow This MediaUN RadioSDG Action CampaignAIESEC InternationalOrigin Magazine and TheToolbox.org.


Most interviews and summaries from the Climate Agreement Signing Ceremony and the High-Level Thematic Debate on the Achievement of the SDGs are available on the Digital Media Zone official YouTube Channel.


The Digital Media Zone was made possible with the generous support of Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Noa, and El Voyage.


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Steve Sura
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