Riyaz ul Khaliq
Friday October 21, 2022
Climate change is a "very important" issue for Somalia, which has suffered years of drought and famine, the head of the Horn of Africa country's state-run news agency said on Thursday, hailing a forum on the environment by Anadolu Agency that he was attending.Omar was speaking to Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Environment Forum, hosted by Türkiye's leading news agency.
"There is drought in my country ... hundred(s) of people die without food and water," said Ismail Mukhtar Omar, director general of Somali National News Agency (SONNA), reflecting on the impact of climate change in Somalia.
He said the Anadolu Agency Environment Forum allowed participants to "share and exchange ideas and experiences on country-specific, as well as global, challenges on climate change."
"The SONNA vision is to make programs and focus on the problem of the environment and climate issues by reporting on the issue and sharing it with audiences," he said.
Omar underlined that the SONNA's coverage was also focused on raising awareness on the global challenges created by the climate change.
On whether the SONNA will collaborate with Anadolu Agency in "reshaping the narrative" on the environment, Omar said: "We are very interested."
"SONNA and Anadolu Agency share good relations," he added.
After an opening video speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Yusuf Ozhan, Anadolu Agency's deputy director-general and editor-in-chief, moderated a session of the forum under the title "Media Responsibility on Climate Change."
Besides the SONNA's head Omar, the panel's participants were Director of Climate News of the Philippines News Agency Lilybet G. Ison, General Director of Italy-based ANSA Stefano De Alessandri, and Rangarirai Shoko, the CEO of the Zimbabwe-based agency New Ziana.
Representatives of numerous local and foreign non-governmental and international organizations, as well as politicians, academics, and journalists were also present at the event featuring sessions on clean energy for sustainable development, the media's approach to natural disasters, and climate crisis and responsibility sharing.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay also addressed the event.
Türkiye's first lady Emine Erdogan, who has spearheaded the nation's Zero Waste project since 2017, is expected to deliver a closing speech, while Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum is also scheduled to address the event.
The Environment Forum aims to tackle matters such as the need for a new media language on environmental and climate issues, international news agencies raising global awareness, the duties of traditional and new media outlets, and the pursuit of environmental awareness in fresh news areas.
"We aim to redefine the relationship between media and environment by creating a medium for environmental experts to voice their opinions and discuss solutions," according to the forum's website.
Among the forum's international participants are Portugal's former Secretary of State for European Affairs Bruno Macaes, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Ovais Sarmad, climate director at Spain's EFE Agency Arturo Larena, and Peter Prengaman, the global climate and environment news editor at the Associated Press (AP).
The Environment Forum can be followed live by registering at its website at environment.aa.com.tr.