By Elias Ngalame
Some 30 climate change journalists from different countries in the continent attending the 8th Climate Change and Development Conference in Africa, CCDA, have benefited from a one day training on climate and development issues.
The training that took place August 27,2019 at Kings Hotel Addis Ababa was organized by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) in partnership with the Pan-African Media Alliance on Climate Change (PAMACC).
Apart from getting some insights on the nexus between between climate change and development, the climate journalists from different countries in Africa shared experiences on climate and environmental reporting in their different African countries.
According to the lead training facilitator Eugene Nforngwa from Cameroon, the line between development and climate change is so thin that it is difficult for a journalist to deal with one without the other.
‘’Climate change and development are so intertwined. In fact preventing climate is critical to driving sustainable development” Eugene told journalists.
Experts say though Africa is in dire need of infrastructural development it is also as important to fight against the effects of climate change to meet that goal.
‘’Inaction on climate is no longer a policy option. Decision makers are now aware that if they don’t take actions against climate change their development agenda plans may head for a wreck,’’ explains Linus Mofor, senior environmental affairs officer in charge of energy, infrastructure and climate change at the African Climate Policy Centre of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The training also included thematic areas like the role of journalists in the drive against climate change, editors nose for news angles etc, during which the media men and women shared experiences, promoted learning and proposed solutions on how to improve on the reporting on climate change and environment issues.
PACJA believes media and journalists both play a critical role in raising climate change awareness, influencing policy and inspiring action, but often lack the tools and skills to accomplish these tasks.
It should be recalled that PACJA has been carrying out such training for African journalists on a yearly bases since 2013.
The organization according to its Executive Secretary, Mithika Mwenda has been blazing the trail in improving the quality of media reporting of climate change in the African continent.
Its flagship media initiatives include the establishment of PAMACC, a network of climate change reporters in Africa that today has over 150 members, the creation of the prestigious annual African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting Awards (ACCER) and the running of the ACCER Wards Finalists Academy (TAAFA) in partnership with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDNK).
The CCDA is an annual continental event that brings together climate actors in Africa to examine challenges and find solution pathways to tackle the scourge.
Journalists accordingly are part of this drive to better inform policy makers and bring to light underreported development and climate change stories.
The CCDA conference therefore provides a unique opportunity for them to meet frontline actors from government, civil society and the private sector and other experts to get the right information and benefit from their expertise.