United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on advertising and creative communication professionals to wage “the biggest-ever campaign for humanity” by supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a 15-year anti-poverty, pro-planet action plan, adopted by 193 Member States last year.

“In the short term, we want the 2030 Agenda to be known by 2 billion people. We want to mobilize one million people as change agents. Help us reach far and wide,” the UN chief told the International Festival of Creativity being held in Cannes, France – a gathering of professionals working in the fields of advertising, marketing and innovative communications.

“This is Cannes – so I have come with a pitch,” Mr. Ban said. “I know all of you have tremendous power to shape opinions. You are master storytellers. And I want you to help us create the biggest campaign ever for humanity.”

The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the biggest anti-poverty, pro-planet action plan ever adopted by the United Nations, and it is for everyone, everywhere, he explained.

“If I had to give it a tagline, it’s this: ‘We are the first generation that can end global poverty. We are the last generation that can address climate change before it is too late,’” he said, stressing that none of the SDGs can be achieved by anyone alone.

Mr. Ban asked the participants to help make sure the SDGs are the business of all businesses – and the business of all people, inspire all, especially young people and women, and find the best ways to tell the story.

“Your ingenuity, innovation and powers of persuasion are second to none. Help us transform a complex and abstract agenda into a personal and emotional story about how we can build a better world,” he said.It requires a serious 15-year partnership for humanity, and there is perhaps no brand with a more important purpose in the world than the SDG ‘ring,’ he said.

“The Olympic rings stand for the highest standard in sports. The SDG ring stands for the highest standards in social commitment, human well-being and global solidarity,” he said.

Today, the six biggest communications businesses in the world – Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis and WPP – are taking a historic, first-of-its-kind step to do just that, he said.

They have launched the Common Ground initiative to beat ultra-competitors – poverty, inequality and injustice.

“The Common Ground initiative recognizes that the global issues the UN has identified transcend commercial rivalry. By working in partnership to support the Sustainable Development Goals, we want to demonstrate that even fierce competitors can set aside their differences in order to serve a wider common interest. We hope others in and beyond our own business decide to do the same,” said a joint statement by the six companies.

The new collaboration will start immediately, with two immediate objectives: to come together to help to address the SDGs and to encourage other industries to follow suit and find their own common ground.

Kick-starting the Common Ground programme will be a global advertising campaign, with space donated by key business and thought-leadership publications.

In addition, the six companies have agreed to provide a development fund for each of the winning ideas in the Cannes Young Lions competition, which this year was devoted solely to the SDGs. These funds will be used to develop the winning concepts and provide them the strongest possible chance of being put into practice.

via UN News Centre