UNI Global Union and the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) have, for the first time, agreed to collaborate to promote action on climate change in the media and broadcasting industry, as well as strengthen their joint work to further gender equality in the sector. The commitment between the two organizations was made in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 25 April.
UNI’s Media, Entertainment & Arts (UNI MEI) sector represents over 500,000 workers in more than 140 trade unions and guilds world-wide, while ABU is a professional association of nearly 250 broadcasters and broadcast media players in 60 countries and a potential to reach over 3 billion people across the globe.
The MoU was signed at ABU’s headquarters in the Malaysian capital by UNI’s General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, and Ahmed Nadeem, Secretary-General of the ABU. While UNI and ABU have worked together in the past, the MoU deepens the collaboration by setting a framework for a two-year joint programme of activities starting in June 2023.
As a sign of the increasing urgency to address climate change, the two organizations have put the issue on the agenda for the first time.
UNI’s General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, said:
“We’re very proud to make this commitment for sustained cooperation with ABU that puts action on climate change and gender equality as two key priorities. The media has a powerful role to play in mitigating the climate crisis through reporting and informing the public, and many in the media and entertainment industry are looking at how to reduce carbon emissions in their own productions. We look forward to working with ABU to provide guidance on how this can be done on a practical level. Gender equality and diversity matters in front and behind camera and we are committed to broaden the work with ABU in this area with new projects to support the work by broadcasters and unions in the region.”
ABU Secretary-General, Ahmed Nadeem, noted:
“We are living with the climate crisis and people have to deal with more frequent, more intensive and more unpredictable climate related disasters. Our duty as media professionals is to serve our audiences with high quality, accurate and relevant content for climate action and disaster preparedness and prevention. At the same time, we must guarantee the safety of media professionals when they do this important job and consider the carbon footprint and sustainability of our operations. Including climate action in our joint work with UNI is a recognition that we need a broad partnership, a global movement to make fundamental changes in our policies and strategies and address the climate urgency.”
The work programme will focus on how media organizations can promote climate action and disaster prevention, as well as adopt environmentally sustainable practices in their own activities.
UNI and ABU’s joint activities on gender equality will centre on issues around the health and safety of female media workers; the representation of women in media, both on and off screen; and support for women’s access to the industry as well as career development. The work will complement ABU’s continued work to promote equality through its long running Women With the Wave initiative.
Khairuzzaman Mohammed, who is President of UNI Media, Entertainment & Arts sector in the Asia-Pacific region, welcomed the MoU:
“Step by step, UNI and ABU have been increasing cooperation to promote social dialogue and collective bargaining during the last ten years. The work realized and the good working relationship allow us to extend this top-level collaboration by addressing the impact of climate change and to intensify our working together to improve gender equality in all areas of broadcasting.”
In the memorandum, the parties commit to work together to promote good governance and ethics, and dialogue between employers and workers; to share knowledge and information regarding the development of the media and broadcasting industry in the region; and develop policies and promote a culture of media professionalism and good media management.
Rajendra Acharya, Regional Secretary of UNI Asia-Pacific said:
“The two-year work programme as part of the MoU gives focus to the cooperation between the two organizations. The significance and impact of the MoU for unions in the Asia-Pacific region is important. Spelling out clear common objectives between ABU and UNI on climate action, safety at work and gender equality makes it easier for unions to raise these issues in the workplace, especially if armed with the knowledge on how to make positive change.”