A two day workshop for young people organised by the Secretariat General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, entitled ‘Health, Sport and Entertainment Industry’, was concluded in Dubai, in presence of a number of dignitaries and senior officials from the UAE and GCC countries as well as more than 200 young men and women from all the member states.
Held in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the workshop is one of a series of six workshops scheduled by the GCC-SG, following a decision made by the GCC Supreme Council during its 34th summit in Kuwait in December 2013, with regard to nurturing the youth and developing their talents and abilities.
During the closing ceremony, HE Dr Abdullah bin Uqla Al Hashim, Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Environment Affairs at the GCC-SG, presented certificates of appreciation to experts and young men and women who attended the workshop. Following two days of concentrated sessions and meaningful discussions, the attendees concluded a number of recommendations for the healthcare, sport and entertainment sectors, in line with the GCC Supreme Council’s decision.
Participants in the workshop called for health awareness to be raised through media campaigns and by encouraging the production of children’s programs and applications that promote healthy nutrition habits. They called for young people to be educated about the potential risk of steroids and nutritional supplements, with awareness spread at schools and in school buses. They suggested that smartphone applications be used for health awareness, and that topics of health education be included in school curricula.
Participants stressed the importance of school health services, including the early detection, correction, prevention and amelioration of diseases to improve the health and well-being of children. They called for the provision of healthy meals at public places and in vending machines, banning gifts with fast food and affixing labels to food items. In addition, they emphasized the necessity to support chemical-free organic products, affix warning statements on fast and snack foods, and to encourage young people to change their unhealthy nutrition habits.
Participants underlined the paramount importance of regular check-ups for all members of the family and students at schools, in addition to organizing premarital health awareness workshops, supporting youth healthcare initiatives, and contributing to the development of a unified program to follow up and prevent obesity diseases in all the GCC countries. Experts said that efforts should be made to prepare young leaders and develop them to be trainers to their peers in healthcare topics, and to adopt and support international health promotion initiatives.
Recommendations pertaining to sport and physical activities included using media and social media platforms to spread awareness among youth people on the importance of sport, as well as increasing the prevalence of training and awareness courses that develop knowledge about sport, exercise and physical activity – and encouraging the development and use of smartphone applications for these purposes. Participants called for the involvement of influential people in awareness campaigns, the provision of sport competitions that attract young people, and encouragement for the organization of youth sporting festivals at the GCC levels. They recommended the provision of designated walking and jogging tracks in commercial compounds, as well as cycling tracks.
Experts urged there should be an increased prevalence of gym centers in neighborhoods, and the provision of appropriate places for women to exercise. They suggested opening school playgrounds for the public after classes, designating mandatory daily gym classes at schools, and increasing the number of sport educators and trainers.
They called for scholarships to be given out to study sport education, the encouragement of studies and research in sport, an increased role of sporting clubs in cities and towns for the service of young people, encouragement of the volunteer culture in sport, and the use of modern technology to measure physical activity.
With regards to the entertainment industry, experts stressed the importance of developing beaches for recreation and beach sports and providing recreational spaces in residential communities. They encouraged the development of entertainment facilities such as cinemas, theatres and art workshops and galleries, in addition to playgrounds, automobile clubs and educational facilities used for entertaining activities.
They emphasized the necessity to take care of youth houses in terms of equipment, maintenance and the provision of recreational facilities for people with special needs. They supported encouraging the private sector to invest in the entertainment industry, and designating a time for sport and recreation during school classes. They called for entertaining festivals to be organised at the GCC level, the encouragement and sponsorship of youth initiatives in handcrafts – particularly those related to the restoration of archaeological sites and revival of folk arts – and the establishment of programs to develop and encourage innovation in fine arts and cartoon filmmaking.
Experts called for the establishment of hobbies and talents development centers, and to put initiatives in place to attract young people to engage in the entertainment industry at levels commensurate with their abilities and passion. They suggested the encouragement of talent discovery and development, promoting some new sports that fit the GCC environment, and to support scouting activities for girls. They highlighted the necessity to replicate the model of Bahrain’s Youth City and Oman’s Summer of Sports.
At the end of the workshop, officials held a discussion panel to highlight the most important recommendations and suggestions which will be submitted to the GCC Supreme Council. The young participants in the Health, Sport and Entertainment Industry workshop signed a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion of the International Youth Day, which is being observed on 12th of August.