Heads of media and UN agencies met today in Geneva to discuss how public service media and worldwide print and radio media outlets can contribute to reducing disaster risk, saving lives and fulfilling their mandate to further the public good.
“Media outlets and global agencies play a critical role in alerting, informing and educating populations on disaster risk and we cannot afford to be dysfunctional at a time when this information is most needed,” said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, calling for urgent actions to build more resilience against increasing weather related disasters and extreme events.
90% of disasters today are weather-related events affecting millions of people and their assets and having a devastating and long term impact on vulnerable populations.
The high-level session jointly organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction gathered together, for the first time, high-level representatives from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Association of Community Radios (ARMAC), the World Association of Printed Newspapers and Magazines (WAN-IFRA), the Asia- Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) , the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) and more than 20 media outlets throughout the world.
EBU Head of Institutional Relations Giacomo Mazzone said: “We know that, in an emergency, television and especially radio are still the places the vast majority of the world’s population turn to for precise, timely news and information.
“It is our duty to ensure we are able to provide accurate information to save lives and we hope today marks the first step in securing better cooperation at an international level to ensure we are able to do just that.”
The three hour meeting underlined the importance of cooperation - in all phases of disaster risk reduction policies - between media and government and international agencies to meet the common 2030 sustainable development agenda.
It showcased successful practices put in place by NHK in Japan, Thai Pbs in Thailand and by ABU in Asia Pacific which had positive impacts on bringing more awareness and preparing populaations to cope with disaster risk.
It also underlined the relevance of media networks such as the African network of journalists called DIRAJ, who works in the fields of disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management and helps African reporters to develop more content and knowledge on disaster risk reduction issues.
The high-level panel was organized in the lead up to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction starting this Wednesday and expecting to gather more than 5,000 experts and government representatives to accelerate the implementation of The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Sendai Framework adopted in 2015 is the global plan to reduce disaster losses by 2030 and one of the main pillar of the Development agenda. It aims to increase the availability of multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030.
The outcomes of the high-level meeting will be included in a Media Annex to the Global Platform.