Wherever you live, whatever your age, you have probably watched TV in some shape or form. You will likely feel empathy for the characters on your favourite TV shows, and have an understanding of the struggles they face and the context of their lives, even if they are very different to your own experience. The shows and advertising we watch on TV and online have the power to shape our attitudes and behaviours. They can also bring global attention to a broad range of social, economic, environmental and political issues through dramatic, comedic, futuristic and fun content.

World TV Day is celebrated on 21 November each year in recognition of the impact television has on our lives and its potential to influence decision making. In 2019, the United Nations was proud to collaborate with the entertainment industry on three TV-related projects promoting the Sustainable Development Goals to young people and the young-at-heart around the world.

Angry Birds

The UN and SONY Pictures Entertainment partnered on a campaign asking fans of the Angry Birds 2 Movie to take action against climate change. Launching in July and continuing through to the UN Climate Action Summit in September, a video PSA was distributed through a number of SONY Pictures Television’s networks to 89 million international subscribers, as well as SONY and UN online and social media platforms. In addition to the video, social media visuals using the hashtags #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet and #ActNow directed audiences to the UN ActNow bot, where some 130,000 actions were taken during the campaign to help combat climate change.

Thomas & Friends

The aim of the ongoing #AllAboardForGlobalGoals collaboration with Mattel, Inc. is to educate preschoolers and their families about the Sustainable Development Goals through the popular TV series Thomas & FriendsTM. As part of the collaboration, nine SDG-inspired TV episodes, seven educational YouTube videos, a suite of parent/teacher tips, and a dedicated website have been created.

To date, the SDG-inspired Thomas & FriendsTM episodes have aired in 36 countries and in 19 languages. The broadcasters include: Nick Jr. (USA), Televisa (Mexico), TV Cultura (Brazil), NHK (Japan), Super RTL (Germany), Channel 5′s Milkshake! (UK), ABC TV (Australia), Cartoonito (Italy), Minimini (Poland), Hop! (Israel), AMC Minimax (Eastern Europe) and Channel One (Russia). The seven educational YouTube videos are available in seven languages and have generated more than 5.3 million views globally.

Hello Kitty

The #HelloGlobalGoals collaboration with Sanrio Co., Ltd. aims to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals among Hello Kitty’s fans worldwide through a monthly series of YouTube videos. Launched in September 2019, during the High-Level Debate of the General Assembly, the SDG-themed videos continue to be released on Hello Kitty’s global channel showing Kitty learning about the SDGs from UN experts and through travels to different parts of the world to visit UN projects on the ground.

To date, three videos have been released:

  1. Hello Kitty receives a special assignment from Anima Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General
  2. Hello Kitty visits UN Headquarters and pledges to support the SDGs
  3. Hello Kitty’s call with Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, about how UNICEF teaches children about the Global Goals

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 November as World Television Day through resolution 51/205 of 17 December 1996