Perhaps the most important global event of 2021 has been the UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, held in Glasgow in the UK. For two weeks in October and November, thousands of delegates from Governments, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society, commerce and the media met to discuss the common existential threat facing all humanity, namely an increasing, human-induced carbon footprint which is contributing to global warming and climate change.

Led by Presidents, Prime Ministers and other leaders from most countries on the planet, the attendees were invited to commit to making change for future generations. They were also asked to sign-up to the four key COP26 goals, namely:

  • Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.
  • Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats.
  • Mobilise finance.
  • Work together to deliver.

The UN Secretary-General is on record as saying that “the decisions we make today [on climate change and disaster risk management] will affect not only us, but those who come after.” Mr. Antonio Guterres has further noted that “history will not forgive us” if we hand over to the next generation a planet with an uncertain future. At COP26, he reiterated these views.

But how did the global environment fare at COP26? What does the acronym COP26 actually mean? Did the conference positively address any of the main goals? What was achieved? How will the decisions affect all citizens on the planet?

It is vital that media practitioners be the gateway in analysing and disseminating vital information from COP26 to readers, listeners and viewers in their home countries. Often, they are unfamiliar with some of the concepts, language or even the politics of international decision-making.

Long recognising these as being issues which reach across national and regional boundaries, the ABU has been an early leader in ensuring that media professionals and journalists in Asia and the Pacific are fully briefed on how to communicate complex scientific information on climate change and disaster preparedness to their radio and television audiences.

Since 2014, the ABU has actively addressed the need for accurate reportage of the subject through a series of regional summits which highlight specific issues and provide journalists and content makers with the tangible skills they need to ensure the comprehensive delivery of invaluable information to readers, listeners and viewers. 

The first event was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2014. Subsequent summits have been hosted in Krabi (Thailand), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Nadi (Fiji), and Kathmandu (Nepal). Each conference resulted in positive action plans and statements of intent, along with practical sessions from expert trainers, commentators and science communicators. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summit comes to the ‘virtual’ on-line space.

The 6th ABU Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Prevention will focus on the actions governments, businesses, NGOs  and people around the world should take to prevent the disastrous overheating of the planet Earth. Under the theme Post COP26 Action to Save the Planet: Media Solutions for Sustainable Future, the Summit is a call for active engagement of media in driving the agenda to secure the future of the next generations. The Summit will be followed by 5 online webinars to explain the different components of the Global Green Deal – energy transformation, moving to Zero Carbon, water management, climate change adapted agriculture etc.