SHARJAH, UAE, March 21, 2016 /CNW/ - Mary Robinson, who served as President of Ireland and as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the second day of the fifth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2016).
Robinson said: "A number of processes can be included in any good proactive government communication. The first important process is to have a periodic review. This report would be from each state, stakeholders and NGOs and is a good process as it allows contributions from citizens and not just governments."
A panel discussion on communication during crises saw experts outlining the role of government communication in the face of natural and humanitarian disasters, and the importance of government response in shaping public opinion. The conversation highlighted the challenges government communication faces, steps taken in the aftermath of crises, and public impression about disaster preparedness.
According to David Miliband, President of International Rescue Committee and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the UK (2007-2010), government communication must build and reinforce a sense of confidence. He pointed out that governments cannot monopolise organisational response and must work in collaboration with the media and non-profit organisations. He said democratisation of information and greater international collaboration will make the world a better place.
The second session of the day discussed "Government Communication and Protection of the Social Structure". Speaking about how government communication can effectively reach citizens, Shamma Al-Mazrouei, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs, said: "We will have to change the government communication units to become government engagement units. There must be more than one pathway of communication and government communication must be to the youth, from the youth."
Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela and Founder of Africa Rising Foundation, said: "It is very important for the government to speak not at people, but to people. It is also very important to make sure that the people affected by government programmes, be they the youth, the elderly or the disabled are part of that conversation."
H.E Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, added: "Obviously the role of government communications is very essential to promoting culture and identity among future generations. However, efforts are required at both the government and community levels and there needs to be interaction between the two."
SOURCE IGCF 2016 (International Government Communication Forum 2016)