DUBAI: The media should place a greater emphasis on climate action, especially by utilising the art of storytelling, to inspire positive change and shape a sustainable future, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President and CEO of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA) told delegates on the second day of the Arab Media Forum.

In her call to regional media, Sheikha Shamma, who is also a business leader, entrepreneur and author, said: “The media serves as the bridge that connects us all, and my message to media professionals today is to prioritise climate activism and environmental reporting for a better future.”

In the session titled ‘Media and Sustainability’, Sheikha Shamma emphasised that the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators had conducted studies and recognised a significant gap in climate change coverage within Arab media. It was found that Arab media should play a more active role in addressing climate change, with a particular emphasis on storytelling, she noted.

Sheikha Shamma explained that in response to this identified gap, the 'Climate Tribe' platform was introduced. The platform is specifically designed to showcase the stories of remarkable individuals who are making a difference in the field of climate action.

She said that the digital platform features videos and narratives about climate heroes who are making a positive impact. She also mentioned that the platform is scheduled to be launched in Arabic, and extended an invitation to share stories related to climate action, both from the UAE and beyond, to be featured on the platform.

Sheikha Shamma said that studies indicate that young people are less inclined to engage with stories that have a gloomy and bleak tone, primarily because these narratives predominantly emphasise negative elements. Instead, stories should focus on climate action and solutions, emphasising that each individual can make a tangible difference. “We all need to take responsibility for the environment,” she remarked.

During the session, Sheikha Shamma took the occasion to announce the launch of an environmental lexicon that seeks to help people understand the terminology related to climate change. She emphasised the importance of a bilingual lexicon, particularly in light of the UAE's hosting of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 28), and encouraged the sharing of words related to the environment to enrich this resource, underlining that addressing climate issues is a shared responsibility that demands collective effort.

Sheikha Shamma also discussed the objectives of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, a think tank and accelerator committed to aiding the country's shift towards a green economy. She also elaborated on the UICCA’s launch of the UAE Carbon Alliance, a coalition of partners dedicated to advance the development of a carbon market ecosystem.
When asked about the origins of her passion for the environment, she said that her love for nature began in her childhood. She said that despite her great-grandfather, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, being told that planting trees in this land wouldn't work, “he went ahead and did it anyway”. “We are now reaping the rewards of his vision, living in the paradise we see today. I consider it my duty to carry forward his legacy, and together, we can achieve the seemingly impossible task of transitioning to a green economy.”