BY JARED KOLI
In Nadi, Fiji
A weeklong workshop aimed at enhancing pacific journalists to report accurately on Climate Early Warning Systems (CLAW) and related issues kicks off in Nadi, Fiji today.
Held at the Tanoa International Hotel Convention Center, the workshop was a collaboration between the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, the Pacific Environment Journalists Network (PEJN), with support from the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.
The workshop designed at strengthening knowledge and empowering the ability of journalists from the Pacific Islands including those from the seven focus countries – the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Tonga to report accurately and more regularly on Climate Early Warning Systems and related issues.
A concept note states it aims to improving networking and partnerships amongst Pacific Island reporters and regional climate change experts, ensuring a regular flow of information and post activity.
“Improved news content in Pacific Island media through the conceptualizing, discussion and development of a range of relevant news and in-depth stories over the duration of the activity/workshops highlighting Climate Early Warning Systems and related issues.
“The goal will be to inculcate amongst these regional journalists a sense that these issues can be prominently mainstreamed into their daily reporting activities, instead of one-off seasonal events such as a cyclone or torrential flooding,” it states.
It also aimed at improved relationships between the Pacific media and key partners such as UNDP, the Indian Government, PEJN and the Internews-Earth Journalism Network (EJN).
Facilitators include Climate Early Warning Systems and climate change science experts, Meteorology experts, and others include from Earth Journalism Network, PEJN and UNDP.
About 14 journalists, with a selection based on membership with the PEJN from focus countries – are attending the workshop.
They are joined by other seven journalists from the non-project focus countries, four journalism students from USP and five Fiji working journalists.
UNDP, PEJN and India-UN Development Partnership Fund have justified that as with any major project, generating and sustaining awareness and visibility is critical to its long-term success.
“This reflects the Partnership Funds vision to work closely with the media as vital development partners to help Pacific Island Countries’ boost their capacity for disaster preparedness and recovery, especially in the areas of national meteorology and hydrology services.”
It says for many of the workshop participants, this could also be the first time for them to be exposed to some of the concepts and practices associated with CLEWS.
“While climate change articles routinely feature in the media, there is not much discussion on CLEWS. Journalists there may not necessarily consider CLEWS as part of their core work and this training workshop hopes to change that by enticing them to integrate it into a cross cutting and all-encompassing issue.”