Cambodian journalists alerted on climate change

Posted by: | Posted on: November 27, 2011

Cambodian journalists alerted on climate change

©UNESCO/D.Weerapong

©UNESCO/D.Weerapong

©UNESCO/D.Weerapong

23.11.2011

Average Cambodians associated climate change with deforestation, disease and increasing temperature, whereas Cambodian NGO workers saw it as global increase in carbon dioxide emissions and deforestation, said BBC World Trust research officer.

Mr. Trak Peaseth shared this message at a UNESCO climate change training to local journalists in Cambodia.  He also emphasized the need for free and easy access to information regarding climate change in Cambodia.

A Climate Change Training Project funded by UNESCO and implemented by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) was recently held in Phnom Penh including a field trip to provide direct experience on climate change in Koh Kong organized by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

A total of 35 participants attended the workshop which was initiated to raise awareness and interest of journalists on climate change in their professional work. Themes ranged from informing background of climate change in global and national context, introducing existing implementing projects in Cambodia, and practicing on how to integrate climate change issues into report writing.

UNESCO’s advisor for Communication and Information in Asia Susanne Ornager said: “To report about climate change is not easy. One has to understand scientific information and to present it to the public so that it is easy for them to digest.  This workshop, with all the excellent experts, will provide further understanding about the subject both national as well as global and also present information about climate change in different subject areas.

“Remember that with pen, camera and microphone you have the power to make changes,” she said.

Adaptation was a keyword constantly used during the training. Many presenters used it to explain that climate change is not an issue which journalists or scientists can forbid or stop, but they can assist with people’s adaptation to it. There was also the mention of IUCN’s ‘Building Resilience to Climate Change Impacts- Coastal Southeast Asia’ project, which was created to mitigate the impact of climate change through strengthening the government and community people’s abilities in planning on adapting to the change.

Eap Ponna, Director of Institute of Science and Technology presented and explained issues such as old equipment, their large gasoline consumption which produces much more greenhouse gases in developing countries like Cambodia and alternatives that can clear or filter the emitted pollution substances.

In the second half of the training the group visited the Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary in Koh Kong to learn about the coastal ecology and spend time in two isolated fishery communities surrounded by mangrove forests. These communities are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and their ability to adapt to change is very limited. Quality education for children is a prime example and occurring issue due to their parent’s lack of income from fishing, a consequence of marine resource reduction.

The visit to the coastal villages provided the journalists with a firsthand example and direct experience to the problems and issues affecting rural areas within Cambodia. A real situation and opportunity to apply and practice what they had been learning in the workshop in Phnom Penh.

Observation and speeches from trainees showed the lack of knowledge and background of the climate change concept, and the training helped increase the overall awareness and methods of reporting for the participants. It not only provided knowledge, but tools and key contacts for the future gathering of adequate information on climate change.

UNESCO’s representative in Cambodia Anne Lemaistre stressed the importance and impact a journalist’s role plays in preparing people to become resilient to environmental irregularities and challenges.

After the training, over 50 per cent of the journalists reported on Climate Change with 23 articles published. Although the covered news were all about the training, it helped alert people and raise awareness that global climate change is a very important and concerning issue affecting Asia.

Developed countries have committed to providing $32 thousand million dollars to developing countries in their efforts to solve the problems presented by climate change. However, OXFAM estimates that the world needs $100 thousand million per year to solve these problems.

By Jeffry Peguero, UNESCO Bangkok

Source: News from UNESCO Bangkok