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Jakarta Statement of Commitment unites Asia-Pacific broadcasters to save lives in disasters

Leading broadcasters in the Asia-Pacific have pledged to do more to combat climate change and reduce death and destruction from natural disasters.

They issued a Jakarta Statement of Commitment at the conclusion of the inaugural ABU Media Summit on Climate Change, ICTs and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Indonesian capital on 6 June 2014.

After three days of hearing reports on the threats to the 4.2 billion people living in the Asia-Pacific – two-thirds of the world’s population – broadcasting delegates to the Summit pledged to do more to inform their citizens of impending disasters and to help in recovery.

The Jakarta Statement speaks of ensuring the media are better prepared to deliver life-saving information and support in times of emergency and disaster, increasing collaboration on reporting on climate change and disaster risk reduction, developing more program content about climate change and disasters and improving training for staff coping with the issues.

The Statement went on to detail ways to “enhance news management” through cooperation, the support of volunteer networks and the development of standard operating procedures for media covering climate change and disaster.

Finally, it encouraged the roles of social media, citizen journalism and community media in disseminating information about climate change and disaster risk reduction in responsible manner.

More than 200 delegates from 32 countries attended the Asia-Pacific’s first such summit, which was officially opened on 5 June 2014 by the Vice President of Indonesia, Dr Boediono, who spoke of preparing for and covering natural and man-made disasters in a democratic society.

Mr Freddy H Tulung, Director-General for Information and Public Communication of the Indonesia ministry co-hosting the Summit, said that by 2011, economic losses in the Asia-Pacific region – the most disaster-prone in the world – reached almost 3,000 billion US dollars, impacting on rich and poor countries alike. He added that the significance of this inaugural Media Summit could therefore not be underestimated.

ABU Secretary-General Dr Javad Mottaghi said the Union was fully committed to playing a central role in helping to save lives, by the work it had done over recent years – including hosting summits such as this – and by bringing together the ABU’s 260-plus members to work cooperatively on strategies and practical actions in areas of climate change and disaster management.

“People say ‘But what can I do?’,” Dr Mottaghi said at the end of the Summit. “We say ‘Everyone can do something’. As the Asia-Pacific’s public broadcasters, we can do more than most so we must do more.

”The Jakarta Statement is our commitment to current and future generations.”

The Summit concluded with an invitation from Somchai Suwanban, Director General and CEO of ABU member Thai PBS to join the next CCIDRR Media Summit, in Phuket,Thailand in 2016.