UAE Minister of Climate Change Thani Al Zeyoudi and Chairman of Sewa Rashid Alleem highlight best practices to combat climate change.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
The International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2020) concluded on Thursday with a call for sustained efforts to combat climate change and to create more original media content to change the West’s perception of Arab societies.
UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi and Chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) Dr Rashid Alleem highlighted best practices to combat climate change and stressed that sustaining all life on Earth must be top priority of nations.
Participating in a panel session titled ‘Equation of Survival’, the two speakers made compelling arguments on why reversing the effects of climate change must become the central focus for governments in years to come, or, all life on Earth – human, animal, plant – would come under serious threat.
Al Zeyoudi revealed glaring statistics and scientific studies by international organisations that highlight the grim reality facing the world due to global warming, and shared possible negative consequences that would ensue if swift measures were not taken by governments worldwide.
Around the world, 1 in 9 individuals do not have access to safe water, and the world in 2050 could be dealing with 140 million climate refugees in three densely populated regions of the world, he said.
On biodiversity, he added that one million living species are now threatened with extinction due to irresponsible environmental practices.
Al Zeyoudi added in 2018, the WHO estimated a death toll of seven million people every year caused by ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution.
Dr Rashid Alleem underscored the most important practices undertaken by the UAE government to preserve its natural resources, and pointed out that renaming the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (previously Ministry of Environment and Water) in 2016 highlighted the UAE’s strong commitment to tackle global warming, officially sealing the issue as one of the ministry’s top concerns.
In line with the UAE’s directives, Alleem noted that Sewa has introduced a series of measures to protect the environment, including establishing a Conservation Department, which is tasked with raising awareness about conserving water and power among Sharjah’s households.
Participating in another panel discussion at the Forum, Egypt’s Minister of State for information Osama Haikal and Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Amjad Al Adaileh made a call for creating more original content to change the West’s perception of Arab societies.
Both the leaders agreed that a pan-regional challenge is that it receives more media content than it produces locally. “We need to have more effective homegrown content, which is disseminated from regional channels to global platforms and reaches global audiences,” said Amjad Al Adaileh.
“If we want to effect these changes, we’ll need to work from the ground up; begin with a relook at our whole scenario once again. Our media policies and strategies need to change according to the target audience we aim to serve,” the Jordanian minister suggested.
Talking about ways of disseminating relevant content, Adaileh added, “We have the means and the will to change the Arab image. Jordan, for example, has one of the highest number of young entrepreneurs in ICT. We can penetrate western societies if we have clear policies; if we exert unified efforts.”
“We all dream of a unified Arab world, which can be realised if we have good intentions and work to bridge the confidence gaps between the government and the people. We can all come together to rally behind one unified message and communicate it to the world. It is not a dream – it is doable,” he added.
Highlighting the need for impactful messaging and robust communication networks, Haikal said, “You cannot go beyond borders if you are not strong internally – if your content is strong and original, it will impact your neighbours and even the whole world.”
He added, “We have good resources and technology, which will be best ulitised if we have clear targets and well chalked out plans. In today’s day and age, you cannot implement any plans or programmes successfully without having an effective and meticulous strategy to communicate it.”
The rain resulted in a significant decrease in temperatures and waterlogging in the main roundabouts and streets.
The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said in a series of tweet, “Heavy rain was witnessed in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and some areas of Sharjah.”
Five refugee speakers hailing from different conflict zones took to the panel dais with ‘Inspiring Stories,’ shouldering the onerous responsibility of conveying the plight of their own displaced communities.
Sharjah is in the spotlight once again and this time around it’s the brainstorming sessions at the International Government Communication Forum. From what I read in the local dailies the opinions expressed by the experts are noteworthy, which if incorporated in state policies, will go a long way in bringing about a better rapport between governments and its people (“IGCF participants’ discussion on role of technology successful”, Mar.7, Gulf Today).
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