The U.N. is hoping its new mobile app will help millennials and others around the world be more technologically and socially engaged with the goals of the intergovernmental organization.
U.N. officials say the SDGs in Action mobile app, which will be promoted today during the Global Citizen Festival in New York, creates a "global forum" for industry, government and citizens to track and promote the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 objectives the organization has set out to achieve by 2030. The app lets users track the progress of the U.N.'s goals at a local, national and global level while also uploading their own videos and other content as a way to show why they care about the SDGs.
Aaron Sherinian, chief communications officer at the U.N. Foundation, said technology can be used as both a "watchdog" and a way to "push along the herd."
"The app is a way of showing us that we're in a new era of engagement," he told Adweek. "It's the same thing that's happening for brands. It's the same thing that's happening for organizations large and small, and the U.N. is one of them. Governments have made a commitment to putting money where their mouth is when it comes to ending poverty and hunger and improving education and health, and the app is going to be a way to keep those governments accountable."
The app was created in partnership with Project Everyone, a nonprofit global campaign. To promote the app, Project Everyone and its partners have created a number of short films they will be promoting at events and on social media.
The videos feature pop-culture moments the U.N. and Project Everyone hope will resonate with a younger audience that might be less familiar the intricacies of global diplomacy. For example, Project Everyone created animated shorts featuring Mr. Bean, the British sitcom character from the 1990s and 2000s. The videos have a different feel than much of the more serious work the U.N. does around the world.
"We wanted to make the most of a great partnership we have developed with the GSMA and many of their operators by consolidating all of the content, information and community around the goals in a way that millions of people can easily connect to and share," Project Everyone co-founder Gail Gallie told Adweek. "We will be making a bespoke show around the Global Citizen Festival and Global Goals Week, which many of the operators are zero-rating in order to maximize the amount of people who can see it."