The internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are starting to become a reference point for a wide range of public and private actors. In recent weeks, for example, New York City declared it will be the first major city to report directly to the United Nations on its progress toward the relevant economic, social, and environment targets for 2030. This came shortly after an array of Canadian federal ministers emphasized the goals’ importance both domestically and internationally.

Meanwhile, in the big leagues of business, many of the world’s foremost institutional investors have indicated (e.g., here, here, and here) they are considering integrating the SDGs into their investment processes.

Will the momentum continue to build? The SDGs still have a long road to travel if they want to penetrate broader public consciousness, at least as measured by traditional media coverage.  It is undeniable that the nature of public discourse has evolved rapidly over the past decade, especially in the context of digital technologies—two-thirds of Americans now report getting their news on social media sites—but newspaper content provides a consistent analytical benchmark that can be tracked all the way back to 2000.

Next month the U.N. will convene its annual “high-level political forum” on the SDGs. This is where different countries take turns each year to describe their own progress toward the goals and map out next steps.

Read the full article about UN sustainable development goals by John McArthur and Christine Zhang at Brookings.