Despite their relatively limited greenhouse gas emissions, Arab countries are among the most vulnerable in the world to climate change due to their geographic predisposition to harsh climatic conditions.
For years, Arab governments had turned a blind eye to the visible repercussions of climate change; but fortunately not anymore. With the United Nations’ COP27 and COP28 taking place in Egypt and the UAE respectively, the Arab world is finally willing to listen.
That milestone is a golden opportunity for Arab science communicators, as we learned during the 2022 edition of the Arab Forum of Science Media and Communication. From environmental scientists to climate change journalists, the forum hosted experts of different professions who all agreed that SciComm is key to bringing Arab countries’ climate change strategies into fruition.
To build on the momentum of the upcoming COP conferences, Arab decision-makers cannot afford to stall. So, our final AFSMC’22 Reflections article will highlight insights from the forum on how science communicators can urge action from Arab decision-makers against climate change.
1- By Doing Their Homework
Our first insight comes from veteran science journalist Rehab Abd Almohsen. While doing thorough research is standard for science communicators, it is especially essential heading into COP27 and COP28, given the sheer magnitude of the conference being held in the Arab region for the first time.
For due diligence, Rehab advises Arab science communicators to read extensively about the outcomes of previous COP conferences, especially COP26, the most recent one held in Glasgow. That makes the UN website’s recap of COP26 a must-read. It summarizes the conference’s objectives and announcements. The elaborate page is alsoavailable in Arabic.
2- By Translating Climate Risk into Economic Cost
Awareness about the metrics of climate change damage in Arab countries is still developing. Hence, to present findings that encourage decision-makers to take rapid action, it is advisable to speak to them in their own language: economic cost.
Rehab suggests focusing on data that puts a number on the effect of extreme weather events on GDP, population migrations, mortality rates, and other metrics most relevant to decision-makers
3- By Presenting Solutions
As effective as it can be, our previous insight of showcasing the drastic economic impact of climate change on its own is not enough to drive action. It is just as important to help decision-makers find solutions.
That could be achieved by consulting subject matter experts and shedding light on solutions-focused research papers. In addition, it is important to highlight previous success stories in ours and other regions. Rehab recalled how an Egyptian media campaign during her childhood encouraged the public to cut back on CFC products due to their ozone-depleting effects as an inspiring success story.
Thank you for joining us for our AFSMC’22 Reflections series. We hope you found it insightful and hope to see you at AFSMC’23 next year!