11 September, 2023
Category : Power Shift in the News | tags: --select--
BY POWER SHIFT AFRICA TEAM
Power Shift Africa (PSA) and partners hosted the second African journalists training on climate change just days before the Africa Climate Summit, seeking to entrench African voices in the global climate discourse.
The training was organised jointly between PSA, the Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA) and other partners.
More than 30 African countries were represented, with a total of 50 journalists attending the two-day training between August 28 and August 29, 2023.
Participants were drawn from all regions of the African continent. Some were from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia, Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Others were from Cameroon, Botswana, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Lesotho, Burkina Faso, Benin, Namibia and Democratic Republic of The Congo.
These reporters and correspondents represent broadcast, print and digital media outlets and publications that report in different languages, including English, French, Arabic, Portuguese and even vernacular.
Besides the journalists, the training was a convergence of science and climate experts, civil society organisations (CSOs) and partners from Africa and beyond.
Speakers included the Chairperson of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) Ephraim Shitima, the Special Climate Envoy for Kenya Ali Mohamed and Cristina Rhumbaitis of the UN Foundation. Others who spoke include the Deputy CEO of the Media Council of Kenya, Victor Bwire and Rosalia Amungo, the CEO of the Editors Guild of Kenya.
According to Mohamed Adow, the Executive Director of PSA, African science journalists need to amplify local voices and make them central to the global climate discourse that is currently dominated by foreign interests.
‘‘Climate reporting in African newsrooms continues to be on the backburner as other stories take prominence,’’ Adow noted.
He added: ‘‘Climate change is one of the most important subjects of our time. The media is a key stakeholders in this critical discourse. This training exposed journalists to current critical climate issues that concern Africa.’’
According to the organisers, the Kenyan leg of the training sought to build on the resolutions made during the inaugural training held in Kigali, Rwanda in September 2022.
The platform was also used to mobilise capacity for the media coverage of the Africa Climate Action Summit that took place in Nairobi from September 4 to 6, 2023.
Adow added that the training was aimed at increasing the media salience of climate adaptation of the public and political agenda. It would also advance public understanding of the issue and its impacts on regional, and continental food systems and economies.
MESHA Board Chairman Bozo Jenje noted that the training would precede a series of media science cafes focusing on climate change conversations in the build-up to COP28 in Dubai.
“MESHA takes the training seriously as a pre-COP28 preparatory event for the journalists that it will sponsor to report on the COP due in Dubai from November 30 to December 10, 2023,” Said Jenje.
The organisers observed that the training was timely as it has assembled scientists, journalists and civil society organisations who will keep stakeholders engaged on climate issues, particularly on adaptation. This will ultimately elevate African voices to shape negotiations on adaptation and reflect the continent’s priorities and actions.
Jenje added that the forum would provide an opportunity for journalists to reflect on the COP28 agenda, which includes loss and damage, climate finance, just energy transition partnerships, early warnings and global stock-take. Other issues discussed at the training included the Global Goal on Adaptation and food systems.
Vincent Ayaka, a journalist from Nigeria’s Daily Trust, said he was excited about learning about the intersection between climate change and health and food production.
His Tanzanian counterpart, Aveline Kitomary, who writes for Tanzania Standard Newspaper, noted a need to clarify what just energy transition means to a country like Tanzania that is currently involved in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.