Information Session for the Media on Climate Change: African Media Has Crucial Role to Play

24/06/2011
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The media has a fundamental role to play in sensitizing policy makers - and the peoples of Africa about the challenge of climate change, according to journalists at an information session held at the 2011 Climate Investment Funds Partnership Forum on 24 and 25 June 2011, in Cape Town, South Africa.  These populations, and their decision-makers, are still poorly informed and  unaware of these issues, even though they are fundamental to their future.

The African media is still not organized by speciality and few journalists are cognizant of the complex issues of climate change, despite the participants agreeing that the effects of climate change in Africa are real: for example, desertification and less access to water.

How can this poor level of awareness on African environmental matters be improved? As far as the population is concerned, the focus should be on education: increasing the quantity and quality of information on the effects of changes, but also on what to do on a daily basis to alleviate pollution and improve the environment.

As for the media, despite the restricted resources of the African media, increased awareness can be achieved through publishing good stories, and by using low cost media, such as  the social media. International organizations can also be more supportive by organizing more training sessions for African journalists.

And the media should be better trained, both in general and on environmental issues. Regarding climate change, one journalist said: ‘We need a cultural adjustment policy”, emphasizing the need for a change of mindset on the continent.

As for governments, the issue of climate change should become a priority. Governments should leverage available funds better to adapt and mitigate climate change, and manage these funds properly, said another journalist.

A dozen journalists from all regions of Africa and Europe participated in this event. They interacted with representatives from the African Development Bank and the World Bank