Saturday, May 24, 2014

Journalists in Africa get guidebook on Climate Change reporting

By Kofi Adu Domfeh

Journalists in Africa have been introduced to a guidebook to direct them in accurate reporting of climate change issues.

The 91-page guidebook will direct journalists to better inform people to understand the changing climate and the need to protect and restore the rapid deterioration of the environment.

It was prepared by UNESCO, in collaboration with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Internews/Earth Journalism Network.

UN Special Envoy on Climate Change and former Ghanaian President, John Agyekum Kufuor, who launched the guidebook in Accra, Ghana, described climate change as “global thief” which is threatening human lives.

“I represent the political face that will mobilise political heads of state to tackle climate change and come out with appropriate mitigation and adoptable measures,” he stated.

According to him, the climate change phenomenon has become an issue of survival, which no nation could escape from.

Mr. Kuffour has asked countries to start afforestation programmes to help absorb carbon dioxide that is destroying the ozone layer.

The former President identified the media as having a critical role to play in helping people see that the world is under attack.

The guidebook is expected to improve climate change coverage targeting journalists, editors, teachers and media trainers.

Ms Moji Okuribido, Officer in-Charge of UNESCO in Accra, observed that inspite of the adverse impact of climate change on African countries, there is evidence that the phenomenon is not adequately covered by African journalists.

She is however hopeful the introduction of the guidebook would empower the media to pay more attention to climate change issues.

President John Dramani Mahama believes climate change must be seen as a developmental issue and not an environmental problem due to it impacts in all aspect of social lives.

According to him, Ghana is collaborating with various development partners such as Japan to integrate climate change mitigation into various sectors through training of stakeholders.

Officials of the meteorological agency are also being trained to be able to provide early warning signals of rains to enable people to prepare adequately.

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