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ABU regional Consultation and Training project in Iran – Saving lives: preparing for disasters

A four-day regional consultation meeting and journalists training was undertaken in Tehran between July 26 and 29, 2015 encompassing Media and ICT Solutions for Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction. The project was jointly organised and funded by the ABU, UNESCO and IRIB University.

The objective was to share the experiences, advice and expertise from across the region. The 65 participants came from various media outlets and organisations from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. From Iran there were representatives from Governmental departments, non-governmental organisations, journalists and media practitioners from IRIB radio and Television and Media Study students from the university.

The first two days followed a similar template that had been successfully conducted in Islamabad by the ABU earlier in the year, when various organisations involved in disaster management, disaster risk reduction and media practitioners from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan met to discuss disaster risk reduction policies and activities.

Speakers from UNESCO, the UN Human Settlements Programme, the Tehran National Disaster Management Office, Afghanistan National Disaster Management Agency, Pakistan National Disaster Management Agency, Turkmenistan Seismology Institute, the Iranian Red Crescent and the Department of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of the Iranian NDMO presented their work. Inevitably that sparked a lively debate with the Iranian earthquake in Bam 13 years ago serving as an historical reference for many of the points raised.

Agreement was reached that substantial improvements needed to be achieved in the communications and coordination between the government and non-government agencies involved in disaster risk reduction and media outlets to ensure that warnings and advice would reach the wider community. The participants also drew recommendations by country for improving linkages between all stakeholders.

Day three saw the delegation visit the Tehran Disaster Management Organisation to see the latest monitoring technologies in operation and to understand how Japanese expertise was helping Iran to build a modern infrastructure for early warnings and rescue operations in the capital. A further visit took the group to the Red Crescent Rescue and Emergency Centre where the impressive array of communication systems, response vehicles and helicopter rescue measures were exhibited.

On day four, the participating journalists edited and presented one radio and five TV features based on their experiences on day three. Those offered very different approaches and format s and raised a variety of interesting and thought –provoking issues. The values of high-quality and relevant broadcasts related to DRR were discussed and the need for further training programmes were widely accepted.