From left to right, Denis McClean, head of communications, UNISDR; Minister for Information, Walid Al Daouk, UN Resident Coordinator, Robert Watkins, and Dr. Samir El Daher, national focal point for disaster risk management.
BEIRUT, 8 October 2012
- UNDP and the Lebanese Government are to cooperate on developing a plan to boost media coverage on disaster risk reduction following a high-level meeting with media institutions last Friday hosted by the Minister for Information, Walid Al Daouk, and opened by UN Resident Coordinator, Robert Watkins.
The meeting brought together 43 owners, news directors and general managers of broadcast and print media, trade union, national news agency and national press council representatives, to consider the challenges of reporting on disaster management in one of the world's most highly urbanized countries.
Mr. Watkins noted the country's vulnerability to a wide range of disasters including earthquakes and floods and said: "It's very encouraging that the government of Lebanon is spearheading the development of a National Risk Reduction Strategy and Disaster Response Plan, and UNDP is proud to be able to support this process together with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
"The draft law for a new national Disaster Risk Reduction agency, currently under discussion in the parliament, if passed, will provide Lebanon with even more robust tools for prevention and response."
Minister Al Daouk said the meeting was important to foster media support for greater public awareness of disaster threats and to promote better preparedness. He hoped that both UNDP and UNISDR could help with providing in-depth training to Lebanese journalists on covering disasters and disaster reduction.
UNDP consultant, Dr. Fadi Hamdan, provided an overview of the results of the recent national risk profile and focused particularly on the infrastructural challenges linked with rapid urbanization and the lack of enforcement of legislation in areas such as building codes.
UNISDR Head of Communications, Denis McClean, shared a global perspective on the media's evolving role in promoting disaster risk reduction. He highlighted the roles that editors and reporters can play in "investigating the causes of disasters, advocating for policy change, in addition to educating the population."