26.06.2013 - UNESCO Office in Tehran

UNESCO-supported workshop on natural disasters warning system has concluded in Kuala Lumpur

A workshop on natural disasters warning system for broadcasters and national disasters management authorities, supported by UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, has been held on 18-19 June 2013, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The two-day workshop was aimed at further strengthening the capacity of the participating individuals and broadcast organizations in preparing a more comprehensive strategy in delivering early warning of pending natural disasters in a timely, accurate and understandable manner.

Participants from three out of the four countries covered by UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, namely Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, were among the total 17 people, seven of which were women, who joined the workshop, which was organized in collaboration with Kuala Lumpur-based Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and Bangkok-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The other participants came from India, Malaysia and Maldives. Among the resource persons were Dr Kazuyoshi Shogen, Director of Corporate Planning Division of Japan's Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) and Russell Isaac from the United Kingdom.

During the two-day event, participants tried to identify the missing or weak links in chain of command for emergency warnings and communications before, during and after disasters. They learned about the End-to-End Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for disaster warnings developed by international agencies since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

A lively discussion about the role of broadcasters in disaster risk reduction activities in their countries identified the need for broadcasters to develop their internal SOP in form of Emergency Broadcast Plan which should be linked to the SOP of the Emergency Warning Centres and Disaster Management Authorities. They also discussed the plans to engage broadcasters and national disaster management authorities more pro-actively in educating their audiences on how to react to government alerts for disasters. There was also a need to promote and disseminate information on good practices for community awareness.

The initiative to organize this workshop was warmly welcome by the participants. “It was a very comprehensive workshop,” said Mr. M. Sayed Qazi, Director of International Relation of Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He also mentioned the importance of the workshop in putting emphasis on the role of broadcasters and broadcast organizations as the best tool to build awareness during emergencies. Furthermore, the workshop also paid attention to the importance of gender equity in tackling information dissemination in time of natural disasters.

Contact: Arya Gunawan Usis, Advisor for Communication and Information, UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office; a.gunawan(at)unesco.org

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