The International Government Communication Forum commenced on Wednesday, 13 September, in Sharjah, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. The event saw the participation of the League of Arab States alongside a distinguished assembly of decision-makers, intellectuals, media professionals, and experts.
His Excellency Ambassador Ahmed Rashid Khattabi, Assistant Secretary-General and head of the Media and Communication Sector, spoke at a session titled "A Message from the Earth," which centred on sustainable development. He underscored the prominent role of the League of Arab States as a regional organisation that took the pioneering step of engaging with the 2030 Agenda. This commitment was exemplified through the establishment of a specialised ministerial council, comprising 15 organisations and professional unions operating in critical sectors such as water, environment, housing, tourism, health, and energy. The overarching objective of this collective effort is to promote governance for sustainability and to oversee the implementation and coordination of national strategies within a unified Arab vision.
His Excellency noted the establishment of an executive mechanism to support the 2030 Agenda and the formulation of a guiding framework for sustainable development at the Arab level. He also highlighted the initiative led by the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to establish a fund dedicated to addressing natural disasters.
Ambassador Khattabi emphasised that the 2018 Dhahran Summit endorsed the Arab Media Map for Sustainable Development as a reference document. This map serves as a guide for framing media strategies related to each of the 17 goals of the UN Agenda. He stressed the General Secretariat's commitment to engaging various stakeholders from the professional and academic sectors, civil society, and the private sector. This is evident through initiatives such as Sustainable Development Week and the organisation of forums and workshops.
Expanding on these efforts, Ambassador Khattabi announced that the Media and Communication Sector is actively working to organise the inaugural forum for influencers in the field of sustainable development, aligning with a decision taken at the last session of the Council of Arab Information Ministers in Rabat.
Regarding the nexus between media and participatory development, Ambassador Khattabi stressed the significance of bridging the local, national, and international dimensions, aligned with Goal 17 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. He emphasised that in the digital age, individuals have become active and influential partners in shaping policies. Governments must recognise the importance of institutional communication in addressing citizen concerns and safeguarding their right to engage in meaningful communication.