Wed 22-03-2017 23:58 PM

Shamma AlMazrui explores best ways to communicate with youth segment at IGCF 2017 special youth circle

SHARJAH, 22nd March, 2017 (WAM) -- Sustainable development can be achieved when governments and officials collaborate with the youth to enhance their role and engage youngsters in advancing development policies, said Shamma bint Sohail Faris AlMazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, and Chairperson of Emirates Youth Council, during a special youth circle titled ‘The Role of Government Communication in Motivating Youth to Participate in the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals’.

Organised by Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), in collaboration with the Emirates Youth Council, on the first day of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2017) currently underway at the Expo Centre Sharjah, the panel discussion drew the participation of more than 30 people in the 15 to 30-year age group from diverse specialisations.

Building on the IGCF’s theme ‘Societal Participation Comprehensive Development’, Shamma AlMazrui encouraged young people to share their opinions on ways to develop government communication tools to achieve better results with regard to societal participation. She noted that youth councils in the country today are building a unified online platform that engages the youth with different government departments and entities.

Aiming to maximise its reach among youth segments, the platform will ensure that all government initiatives are communicated to the youth.

Participants pointed out that government communication enables government entities and diverse social segments to understand one another’s points of view and act proactively to achieve sustainable development. They added that today social media channels offer significant opportunities to look at and replicate leading international experiences locally in engaging the youth in development initiatives.

Speakers also highlighted that in a rapidly evolving global socio-economic landscape, where change is the norm, it is imperative that the youth of any country must demonstrate responsible social behaviour and proactively ensure that society and the country at large are shielded from any negative impact as a result of these changes.

The participants pointed out that there is an imbalance in the selection of targeted groups in government communication today. They suggested that government bodies should understand the social, cultural and economic environment of the groups with whom they wish to communicate in order to formulate plans that suit their requirements, respond to their aspirations and benefit from their potential. However, other attendees noted that the diversity of communication platforms and smart applications has become a challenge for institutions when it comes to choosing the most appropriate and effective platforms to speak to the young people.

Youth circle panellists said that while the government plays its role in launching the development plans and initiatives, the youth should work relentlessly to not only follow these initiatives but also interact proactively in communicating their views and suggestions to become real partners in the development process.

Some participants also focused on the importance of government organisations dedicating community hours to employing young people. This would fulfil a dual purpose - in addition to instilling a sense of duty in the youth, it would demonstrate the commitment of the government entities to enhancing the role of the youth in achieving positive change in the community at large. They also underlined the importance of collective action from young people and urged the youth to transition from competing among themselves to competing with themselves in unleashing their true potential.

IGCF 2017 examines how the world’s nations can leverage effective government communication to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SGDs) that have become the top priority of government programmes, international institutions, media organisations and civil society. Offering a transparent platform to examine current issues and formulate recommendations to help governments optimise the impact of their communication, IGCF 2017 convenes more than 2,500 local and international personalities from the ranks of government officials, experts, thought leaders, and government communication professionals.