Photography for the Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals are a central pillar of our work at the United Nations

Vittorio Cammarota October 23, 2016
The writer is Director UN Information Centre

The Sustainable Development Goals are a central pillar of our work at the United Nations. They are pushing the entire system to improve the way we work to make this world a better place to live in. These goals take the concept of interconnectivity based on dimensions of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.

Many countries, including Pakistan, are tackling challenging situations that include extreme poverty, malnutrition, extremism, epidemics, natural disasters and illiteracy among others.

Hand in hand with the Pakistani government and many local and international partners, the UN System in Pakistan is working steadfastly to achieve targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals.

Working in partnership is extremely instrumental to achieving the Goals and all citizens of Pakistan have a role to play. To be effective, all stakeholders have to be fully aware of what the Goals are and how they can contribute to achieving them. Increasing knowledge of the Goals is the main objective of the United Nations Information Centres around the world and the top priority of our Centre in Pakistan.

There are numerous inspiring stories to be told. Sometimes it’s a tale about the resilience of vulnerable communities in Pakistan and in other instances it’s the smile brought to an individual going through a difficult situation in life.

However, sometimes words fail us. Feeling the pain and sharing the joy of the other is an experience that only eyes can capture. Many say that one picture being worth a thousand words and I totally agree. Moreover, when a photograph is not longer the mere remnant of an instant’s exposure to light, but instead reveals truths, our perceptual experience changes dramatically and feeds our needs for knowledge.

When photography meets journalism stories are narrated through concerned images and bring stories bluntly to our knowledge the way they are, regardless of the physical distances and contexts.

Today, on the occasion of UN Day, we inaugurate “Pakistan: Sustaining Development — Human Stories through Photography”, an exhibition that showcases images of human stories related to development issues in Pakistan. It is a collection of 102 outstanding and breathtaking photographs with a sense of journalism that offers an overview of the development priorities in the country and it also sets a visual agenda for the years to come.

These photographs have powerful imagery that hopefully will enhance awareness of Pakistan’s development priorities and inspire and encourage Pakistani citizens to take action themselves. It is a creative effort meant to remind ourselves of the work that needs to be done to end extreme poverty, address climate change, fight inequalities, promote human rights and build resilience in the country as well as in the world. They are a visual narration of untouched realities that highlight challenges and opportunities we all have to look at while striving to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2016.

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