Here’s How Over 20 Organizations And Activists Came Together To Build Twitter Momentum On The MDGs

Posted on August 19, 2014 in Media, Specials

By Mayank Jain:

Statistic 1: Globally, world’s 66 richest people have more wealth than the 3.5 billion poorest people on earth.
Statistic 2: India’s top 3 richest billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom 37 crore people.
Statistic 3: The life expectancy difference between the rich and the poorest is as much as 11 years.

And we thought we were right around the corner of becoming the superpower in a prosperous world.

Year 2000:

The United Nations held a large high level summit to mark the beginning of a new millennium in the year 2000 and all 189 member countries were present. The Assembly attempted to begin the new millennium on an optimistic note and set standards for the whole world to be achieved in the next 15 years. These goals are basic minimum requirements for a progressive world and include objectives like eradicating poverty, hunger, improving maternal health and focusing on environmental protection etc.

The 189 countries present were signatories to these goals and they vowed to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration which prescribed these millennium development goals (MDGs).


Year 2014:

The statistics above remind us of the journey ahead for the achievement of MDGs. Most of them are due for completion as early as 2015. Even as 29 international organizations signed up to work in collaboration with the UN and governments of the respective countries to achieve these objectives, the progress is marginal. Children are out of schools, maternal health is unsatisfactory and the environment continues to be washed off in the name of industrialization in many countries as pollution levels rise and people suffer from diseases of various kinds.

18th August, 2014, marked the final 500 days countdown for the achievement of these MDGs and organizations came together on Twitter to build momentum and re-calibrate focus on these critical issues. While organizations like Amnesty and Oxfam tweeted from around the world along with different arms of UN including UNICEF and UNDP, India built momentum with a 12 hour long tweet-a-thon.

The tweet-a-thon hosted by Youth Ki Awaaz with Wada Na Todo Abhiyaan, focused on each MDG separately in well demarcated sessions and organizations like Save The Children India, Oxfam India, 350.Org and RTE forum led the conversations. Tweets started flowing in from multiple civil society activists and other star campaigners as people caught on and soon tweets with hashtags #MDG500 and #ACT2015 were flooding in.

Rich conversations shaped up in each session as the users took the opportunity of discussing these issues with the panellists. The first two sessions revolved around eradicating poverty, hunger and achieving universal primary education. With Oxfam India and Save The Children on the panel, these are some of the interesting tweets that came in.

The next panel was around ensuring gender equality and gender empowerment. There was a lot of focus on recognition of the third gender and LGBT community. Discrimination against women and inaccessibility to services were also touched upon by participants and organizations alike.

Asia’s progress is critical for the overall progress of the world as we move towards a model of global village where economies are integrated and cultures intermingle. This session focused on internal issues of the Asian countries including rights of differently abled people, internal migration, terrorism etc.

India loses a child every 20 seconds due to preventable diseases and lack of vaccination. The next session focused on reducing child mortality rate and improving maternal health to bolster child care.

Preparedness against deadly diseases and health care is one of the MDGs and the sixth session dealt with epidemics as well as prevention of diseases.

The last two sessions were focused around environment protection and global collaboration for development and the focus areas gained momentum for the final 500 days.

Maybe, Thoreau was right when he said, “What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”