Arab Media Network for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation launched in Cairo

Mahmoud Bakr , Wednesday 19 Oct 2022

The Arab Media Network for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation was launched during a two-day Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Media Workshop in Cairo on 12-13 October.

UNDRR
Journalists and Media Professionals pose for an image after the ending of the two-day Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Media Workshop on 13 October, 2022. Photo courtesy of UNDRR website.

 

The workshop was held to improve the ability of journalists and media professionals to disseminate information before, during, and after natural and man-made disasters. It also established the link between disaster risk reduction, climate change action, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The network, the first of its kind in the Arab world, calls for a shift from "disaster response” to “disaster management.” Currently, the media coverage appears to be post-disaster.

The workshop was organised in commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and in line with the preparations for COP27 and COP28, to be hosted in Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh and the UAE's Dubai, respectively. 

The workshop also addressed the challenges facing media organisations in providing comprehensive and effective coverage of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh and resulted in the drafting of a set of recommendations for COP28 media coverage.

The workshop saw the participation of representatives of local and regional media outlets and UN agencies.

Forty journalists from Arab countries joined the workshop to form the first members of the media network. 

The network was launched by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction's (UNDRR) Regional Office for Arab States, in cooperation with the Pacific Broadcasting Union and the Arab States Broadcasting Union.

“It requires a whole-society effort to ensure that all risk communities are prepared to take action when alerts are issued, and no group is more important in this endeavour than the media,” said Mami Mizutori, special representative of the secretary-general for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UNDRR, in her opening remarks.

“Journalists and other media professionals play an essential role in educating decision-makers and political leaders about the real nature of disasters and their causes so they can take policy decisions that mitigate future risks and do not turn a hazard into a disaster.”

The network emphasises the role of journalists in setting priorities and influencing policies and community behaviour, in order to save lives and serve the public interest. 

It will also work to enhance the role of journalists as observers of government practices in the event of failures in precautionary measures or in responding to risks and reducing disaster risks. 

Investigations, investigative reports, and other types of press coverage, if presented with a high level of professional and ethical standards, contribute to the development of systems adopted to deal with risks and disasters.

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