ISLAMABAD, Nov 28 (APP): The speakers at a roundtable discussion on the climate change and role of media on Tuesday underscored the media’s role as crucial in educating the masses on the climate debate taking place at the global level.
The Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), organized a Round Table discussion on “Climate Change and the Role of Media”, a news release said.
The keynote Speaker at the event was Chief Executive of the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change (CSCCC), Aisha Khan, Foreign Office Spokesperson, Ambassador Mumtaz Zahra Baloch and Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination, Asif Hyder Shah were among the prominent speakers.
Director CSP, Dr. Neelum Nigar in her introductory remarks stated that the acknowledgment of Pakistan’s pivotal role in COP-27, particularly in the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, underscores the country’s proactive stance on this global issue. In this context, the role of media was pivotal in the global discourse on climate change, acknowledging its influence in shaping public perceptions, policy priorities, and advocacy endeavors.
In his welcome address, DG ISSI Ambassador Sohail Mahmood highlighted the escalating seriousness of climate change, noting that it was already acknowledged as an “existential threat” for humanity. He recalled that the UN Secretary-General had recently pointed to the shift from “global warming” to “global boiling,” and had underscored the need for immediate, dramatic action to handle the climate crisis. In the wake of this global warming trajectory, Pakistan faced severe impacts which left no room for complacency.
Ambassador Sohail Mahmood asserted that addressing the menace of climate change required a comprehensive, whole-of-society approach, positioning it at the forefront of national priorities. He highlighted the importance and urgency accorded to this issue in the National Security Policy (2022-26), which called for mobilizing a cohesive national response and building a climate-resilient Pakistan.
The Director General also highlighted Pakistan’s proactive role on the international stage, raising awareness about the global dimensions of the climate threat faced by the country. Emphasizing the pivotal role of the media, he acknowledged its unique capacity to educate the public on the causes, impacts, and potential solutions of climate change through accurate and evidence-based reporting.
In her remarks, Aisha Khan emphasized the crucial need to comprehend the meaning of climate change to fully grasp its impact and effects. Regrettably, in Pakistan, the term “climate change” had not resonated with ordinary people. Its usage in diverse contexts had led to a lack of clarity, overshadowing its significance in critical areas such as food security, water security, energy security, and more.
Aisha Khan also highlighted the pervasive confusion surrounding the term and stressed the vital role of the media in resolving this issue. As a widely accessible source of information, the media could play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the common man and the multifaceted threats and challenges posed by climate change.
Ambassador Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, in her remarks on the media’s role, highlighted that discussions on climate change could often be overly scientific and technical, posing challenges to general understanding. This was precisely where the media stepped in, breaking down complex information in a way that was accessible and easily comprehensible for the general public. She emphasized the importance of the media’s role in bringing international discussions and debates on climate change to the national audience, avoiding any politicization.
Mumtaz Zahra Baloch stressed the need for the media to educate the masses on the threats and challenges posed by climate change, particularly when discussions occur on a global stage. Identifying a challenge, she noted the dearth of climate change experts in the media and emphasized the importance of developing expertise within media outlets.
In his remarks, Secretary Climate Change Asif Shah highlighted various government initiatives on addressing climate change and related factors. Among others, he pointed out that the Ministry had formed working groups with provinces to coordinate on diverse climate-related issues. Regarding the media’s role, he emphasized its power to influence the masses with accurate information. He added that the Ministry was actively working on establishing a ‘COP Cell’ dedicated to COP matters, ensuring a sustainable cycle of policy and work continuity despite personnel changes. Additionally, the Ministry was going to launch a ‘COP Portal’ with crucial information and a real-time data bank, providing open public access to information relating to mitigation and adaptation actions and policies.
During the interactive discussion, representatives from various media houses shared their views and presented multiple suggestions for mainstreaming the issue of climate change in public discourse.
The event was concluded with a vote of thanks by Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors ISSI.