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WBU/UNDRR Media Saving Lives initiative to focus on effective early warnings and risk communications

The long-running global initiative ‘Media Saving Lives’ has now entered its fourth phase, focusing on enhancing Early Warning Systems for disasters in the most vulnerable countries of the Global South. Spearheaded by regional union members of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), this collaboration aims to bolster the capacity of broadcasting organisations, emphasising proactive measures to educate and protect communities.

Phase 4, spanning from November 2023 to May 2024, welcomes the Arab State Broadcasting Union (ASBU) into the program alongside existing members such as the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB-UAR), and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU). Aligned with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ ‘Early Warnings for All’ (EW4All) campaign, this phase emphasises efficient dissemination of timely emergency messages and public education on response strategies.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Phase 4 is rolled out with an EW4All workshop on 5th March as a part of the Digital Broadcasting Symposium. That will be followed by online EW4All for Media courses for seven ABU Members in the Pacific from 5 countries on the UN priority list – Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu and in person EW4All Symposium for CEOs in Brisbane as part of the Pacific Media Partnership Conference in Brisbane (29 April – 1 May 2024). These ABU Pacific members will join the five ABU members from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu that had undergone similar online capacity – building in previous stages.

The interactive online EW4All for Media courses discussions will centre on the current status of EW systems in Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu, addressing communication gaps, and proposing improvements.

Phase 4 will also support members involved in previous capacity – building in Bangladesh and Nepal to develop their DRR Action Plans and Standard Operating Procedures and provide some Raspberry Pi equipment to community radio in Nepal.

Since its inception in 2021, the WBU-UNDRR ‘Media Saving Lives’ initiative has engaged 88 broadcasters from regions such as the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Caribbean, training over 2,000 media professionals.