SHARJAH, 13th September, 2023 (WAM) — Even as several countries around the world succeeded in optimally harnessing their natural, human and economic wealth to achieve sustainable development goals, other resource-rich countries struggled to realise their developmental aspirations.
The cause of this disparity and how effective communication can help nations achieve their targets was the focus of an insightful discussion titled ‘A Message from Mother Earth’ which took place on the opening day of the International Governmental Communications Forum (IGCF 2023), in Sharjah on Wednesday.
“We need to be very aware of how we communicate,” Maria Antonia, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines, “We are surrounded by different perspectives, so the social construction of our communication is very important, including how we actually deliver messages about values, about faith, about gender, about different income groups. And if you communicate you need to expect a response; that response must be ready when that communication happens.”
A trusted leadership is crucial to translating messages across sectors nationally and globally, she added.
According to a 2020 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, developing countries lose a whopping $700 billion on an average annually due to a gross lack of control on the exchange of goods that takes place from their natural resources, which inadvertently affects their trade policies.
Reminding audiences that communication cannot be a one-way channel, Professor Alexander Likhotal, President Green Cross International and Professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, said, “The United Nations Charter says, ‘We the people of the United Nations…’ So, what it means is that people’s voices should be heard when communicating something. We need to understand the needs of the audience.”
Learning how to pursue best practices when it comes to communication are all the more crucial in the digital era. “The main challenge is also the extent of credibility of the media, and the trust within media institutions, because responsible media practices are very important. Trust between government and the public in this digital age is crucial, since political participation is no longer unique to an elite audience as it was in the past,” asserted Ahmed Rashid Khattabi, Assistant Secretary General, Supervisor of the Media and Communication Sector at the Arab League.
“The world belongs to translators, we must be able to speak across sectors and we must not just open our hearts but also open our minds so the traditional barriers, the physical geographies may not be what is keeping us apart,” said Antonia.
Held under the theme ‘Today’s Resources, Tomorrow’s Wealth,’ IGCF is a one-of-its-kind high-profile annual event which brings together communication experts from across the globe to brainstorm the importance ‘communication’ plays in helping governments to achieve distinctive results.