Organised by the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood (SCMC), in cooperation with the League of Arab States (LAS), the Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD), the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) and UNICEF, the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) and UNICEF’s regional workshop on child-friendly media has concluded in Abu Dhabi.

The opening session of the workshop included a speech by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation, President of the General Women’s Union, President of SCMC, and the Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, on behalf of Her Excellency Rym bint Abdullah Al Falasi, Secretary-General of SCMC.

The opening session also included a speech by His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President of ACCD and AGFUND, on behalf of His Highness by His Excellency Dr Nasser Alkahtani, the Executive Director of AGFUND. This is in addition to the speech of Her Excellency Ambassador Dr Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the Social Affairs Sector of LAS, as well as a speech of His Excellency Mohammed Al-Shehhi, Secretary-General of the UAE Media Council.

Several public figures, media professionals and experts in the fields of childhood and development participated in the workshop, most notably the artist Ahmed Helmy, UNICEF’s Regional Ambassador, the artist Shaima Saif, and media professionals: Mona El Shazly, Dr Nashwa Al Ruwaini, Nadia Al Zoubi and Mama Anisa.

Her Excellency Rym bint Abdullah Al Falasi, Secretary-General of the SCMC, said the workshop came within the framework of the role of SCMC and the partners towards promoting children’s rights, and in recognition of the influential role played by media today in the lives of our children and their upbringing.

The workshop has provided the participating media professionals with knowledge on children’s rights and the issues of childhood from a human rights perspective, as well as the international conventions and its relationship with the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The workshop contributed to enhancing the role of media professionals in protecting children, by empowering them with the skills of activating the media to protect and care for children’s rights and the ability to choose appropriate media material for children.

The workshop also motivated media professionals to invest in modern technologies of media to inform public opinion about children’s rights, ensuring that this is included in media messages and programmes to raise the level of awareness of community members and decision-makers about children’s issues, their rights and their protection.

Over three days, the workshop has tackled several issues related to children’s rights and the impact of the media on them, such as the status of the rights and policies of children’s wellbeing in Arab countries, issues of climate change, cultural identity and mental health.

The workshop also addressed the professional guidelines for Arab Media addressing the issues of child rights, and it will also include a dialogue session with children, as well as honouring Emirati institutions that won the Child and Family Friendly Institutions Award organised by the LAS, and honouring several media institutions for their support of childhood issues at the local level.