Building Public Support for the Sustainable Development Goals

November 2017

A Strategic Communications Brief

Media Contact

Julia Friedman

Communications Manager

This brief offers a set of framing recommendations for Bread for the World and its partners to use in developing a messaging strategy to build public understanding of and support for their efforts to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals or SDGs), which were endorsed by 193 countries, including the United States, during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.

Communicating about the Global Goals presents a unique opportunity to engage the US public in “big picture” thinking about the ways in which social problems that to non-experts may appear to be unrelated— hunger and climate change, for example, or education and criminal justice—are in fact deeply intertwined. This opportunity is not without challenges. At its core, the Global Goals project postulates that making progress on one social issue will hasten progress on others and that progress must be made on all goals in order to achieve the vision of an equitable, sustainable society.

In this report, FrameWorks Institute explains how the framing strategies currently in use by the field may activate these cultural models. FrameWorks Institute offers a series of framing recommendations culled from FrameWorks’ extensive body of framing research across a broad range of subjects related to the SDGs. These recommendations have been tested empirically for their ability to:

  • expand non-experts’ understanding of the structural or system-level causes and consequences of social problems
  • engage people in productive thinking about policy-based solutions, and
  • move public support on a range of SDG-related issues