By Cheikh Tidiane Fall, Senegal
Last but not least, the media will be on stage today. After stakeholders, political authorities etc., opportunity will be given to different representatives of the various media and communication specialists. They will exchange on the best ways to involve the journalists in the approaches aiming to improve access to water and sanitation services, particularly for poor people of peri urban and rural areas.
Coming from Africa, Asia, Latin America and other continents, journalists have been following these last four days different communications, round tables and working groups focused on the alliances for a real commitment of stakeholders, the new tools to be more efficient, the local and global challenges related to water, sanitation, environment etc. For them, it´s a very interesting and profitable experience and we can say that the organisers of the Zaragoza Conference were wise by inviting journalists who must be considered as real partners.
We hope that, after Zaragoza, participating journalists will get back home more capable to address the issues of water management in the cities with more professionalism and in full cognizance of the new challenges. The actors of water sector must, however, be conscious that without the journalists playing a key role in the ongoing or coming approaches, it will be difficult to reach the goals. The awareness raising and the sensitization of the populations depend also on the job done by the mass media. Establishing with them partnerships is crucial.
Today’s reflections should help journalists, communication specialists and other actors to better understand their respective responsibilities, expectations and pave the way for a new collaboration with the media. Good relations with the press are, indeed, one of the main keys of success for the programs implemented in the cities which are, all over the world, under the pressure of a frenetic urbanization.This truth, I am sure, will be more shared after the Zaragoza Conference where the journalists’ voice is taken into account. This is not usually the case during similar international Conferences.