5th ABU Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness, 25-26 April 2019, Kathmandu, Nepal

The ABU flagship initiative moves to Nepal for its fifth edition of facilitating broad interaction between key players in climate change adaptation and saving lives and livelihoods. There is a widely shared sentiment that governments, international organisation and NGOs should actively support putting the media on the frontline of climate change adaptation and saving lives. That is the most efficient and cost-effective way of making climate action and disaster preparedness everybody’s business.

The warnings from the scientific community can’t be more alarming. “The world is heading in the wrong direction to slow climate change after another year of near-record temperatures” – World Meteorological Organisation, 29 November 2018. This existential threat is confirmed by the UN Secretary General Guterres: “Climate change is moving faster than we are. It is a global issue we are all failing.”

Undoubtedly, the media’s potential to accelerate climate action and disaster preparedness hasn’t been fully utilised. There is so much more the media can do in reaching and educating wide audiences about how climate change affects their lives, what their governments and scores of intergovernmental organisations such as UNISDR, UNDP, UNESCO are doing to address threats to lives, health, food, water and national security.

The reasons why media hasn’t fulfilled this vital role are many but two are standing apart. Firstly, the media should be accepted as a partner, not just a “microphone” for disseminating other stakeholders’ messages. Secondly, media professionals have not prepared themselves for “translating” complex data and scientific language and government actions into engaging relevant stories.

The aim of the Nepal Summit is to address these issues and link climate action and disaster preparedness stakeholders to media professionals for collaboration and joint practical projects. At the same time the Summit is an opportunity for media practitioners to learn first-hand of other stakeholders’ work.

The ABU is grateful to the Government of Nepal for hosting the Summit. It is co-organised by the ABU members Nepal TV and Nepal Radio. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies leads the local preparations with input and support from several other government ministries such as the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Environment etc.

The 5th ABU Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness will mark the fourth anniversary of the devastating Gorkha Earthquake in April 2015, which claimed nearly 10,000 lives. It will take stock of the work done for rebuilding the country and communities and will set up projects to engage them through media for actions to combat climate change and prepare them for future disasters.

For more information about the Summit programme, registration, speakers etc. please contact Ms Natalia Ilieva, Head of Secretary-General’s Office: natalia@abu.org.my