Generating debates around SDGs in the Indian Ocean region

As part of its Education for Sustainable Development programme, the Indian Ocean Commission, through the EU-funded project ISLANDS, aims to promote sustainable development practices through mass information and dialogue around the main SDGs challenges in the Indian Ocean region.

Using a wide range of digital marketing tactics, ISLANDS plans to launch a digital campaign, called #connectISLANDS, in May 2017 to increase the level of awareness of the population in the region on Sustainable Development issues and challenges and how it could be addressed by engaging conversations with the target audiences through digital and social media.

Digital media, especially social platforms, are changing the ways people interact, giving rise to new and diverse audiences and empowering civil society in ways that have profound implications for communication and advocacy. In this new digital era, information and communication technologies (ICT) are intimately wrapped into the daily lives of increasing numbers of people.

Digital technologies can provide people — particularly young people — with access to information and services as well as opportunities to participate in and contribute to knowledge economies. They offer possibilities for improved educational outcomes and the creation of vibrant, collaborative learning communities.

In the region, mobile phones opened up access to the internet; and today most young people in the region get online via their phone. In the hands of millions more young people during the coming decades, technology will remain a game-changer in the way Indian Ocean populations communicate, transact, socialize and mobilize.

The digital campaign aims to generate debates and dialogue on climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, water, cultural diversity, sustainable urbanization and sustainable lifestyles (including energy and waste management) through the use of social media. As much as possible, the strategy aims to create conversations with its target audiences towards the creation of a movement for sustainable development at regional level and country level in participating countries.

Key messages and products will aim to tap into or fuel social and citizen-led movement, where a person’s voice can be both broad (reaching others around the region) and deep (having direct impact and being heard directly by decision-makers). Supported by a wide range of digital marketing tactics, the campaign aims to reach a total of one million people and engaging at least 50,000 of them.

Through this campaign, the ISLANDS project wants also to highlight what’s positive in the region through the realization of a series of portraits of people who are visionaries in their field and are making an impact on their communities, especially in regards to sustainable development practices and lifestyle.