ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA - Television and radio broadcasters from across the Asia-Pacific region have pledged to step up their role in the fight against climate change.The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) General Assembly in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, today adopted the 'Ulaanbaatar Declaration on Climate Change', with 200 broadcasters from 58 Asia-Pacific nations resolving to expand public knowledge and understanding about climate change, and its solutions.
The Declaration also calls on broadcasters to develop and promote broadcasting industry standards in environmental management, to set quantifiable targets for a reduction in their own carbon footprints, and to ensure that their organizations understand climate change as a developmental, national and corporate priority.
"Climate change is a threat to humankind and an urgent impediment to the future prospects and wellbeing of all countries," said Acting Secretary General, David Astley.
"It is undermining our efforts to build social capital and strong economic systems."
"ABU members recognize that as broadcasters they have a responsibility to provide the audiences of the Asia-Pacific with knowledge and information that empowers them to make informed decisions on options for climate change mitigation and adaptation."
Climate change will hit the Asia-Pacific region the hardest, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), causing dramatic spikes in food prices by 2050. Greater investments in clean energy, climate-resilient infrastructure, energy efficiency initiatives, and other adaptation and mitigation measures are needed to protect countries from the increasingly severe impacts of climate change.
The ABU and its members have partnered successfully with the Asian Development Bank in an 18-month project on climate change solutions, and today delegates at the Assembly called for more training projects in the wake of the Declaration.
"Broadcast journalists have an important role to play in helping policymakers and the public appreciate the extent of the climate change threat, and encouraging them to take cost-effective actions that can preserve the environment, save communities, and improve people's lives," said Ann Quon, Principal Director of ADB's External Relations Department.
"The impact of climate change will disproportionately fall on the shoulders of Asia and the Pacific's poorest families, so it is essential that we get the word out about costeffective climate change solutions that can help prevent these families from being cast into crisis," she added.
ABU members also committed to dedicate the resources and broadcasting space needed to comprehensively report on the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009, and on follow-up actions.
The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) is a non-profit, non-government, professional association of broadcasting organizations, formed in 1964 to facilitate the development of broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region and to organize co-operative activities amongst its members. It currently has over 200 members in 58 countries, reaching a potential audience of about 3 billion people.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region. In 2008, it approved $10.5 billion of loans, $811.4 million of grant projects, and technical assistance amounting to $274.5 million.