Media faces challenges in combating climate change

Strengthening local data on climate change, identifying environment heroes, use of info-graphics in media and need of story grants on climate change were some of the recommendations during the two-day workshop on ‘Climate Change, Solutions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ on September 3-4 at Paro.

The workshop also discussed on journalists facing difficulty in translating global data into local and suggested on having a team of climate experts that would decode data for the journalists.

“Though there is data on climate change, there is difficulty is accessing, its reliability, and interpretation of data,” said Managing Editor, Kuensel, Ugyen Penjor.

“We need evidence when we approach climate action,” said Resident Coordinator, United Nations (UN) in Bhutan, Gerald Daly.

“We give as much support to role models within the society, the local environment heroes. The more we are able to explain why people are motivated to do these things, the more we are able to support those role models,” he added.

Secretary, National Environment Commission Secretariat, Sonam P Wangdi also said there is need of data whether it is for temperature or emissions, but climate change knows no boundaries.

Moreover, he said Bhutan as Chair of the UN climate negotiations for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) consisting of 47 countries is in good position to make recommendations, as it is sync with what we do in the country and what other LDCs aspire to be.

Sharing the concerns on climate change, Sonam P Wangdi said if earth temperature increases by 3 degree Celsius most of the island countries would submerge under the water.

In addition, he said green-house gases have increased by 10 times over the last decades and media has a huge role in waste management for awareness and education.

However, Sonam P Wangdi said the actions limiting and reducing climate change by LDCs would not make any difference if developed countries do not take action.

Executive Director of Journalists’ Association of Bhutan, Namgay zam, said the workshop helped in recognizing the impact of climate change and realizing the vulnerability of the impact and being mindful of the developmental priorities that are aligned with the SDGs.

In addition, she said workshop would enhance the coverage on climate change and related issues, and improve climate related reportage to in-depth investigation and make our climate related stories more relevant to human-interest stories.

Moreover, Namgay Zam said it also advantageous for different forms of media and creativity to enhance awareness and increase engagement on climate related issues and encourage solutions journalism to influence decision making at policy level.

UN in Bhutan, RC also assured on conducting similar workshops in future on climate actions, providing story grants on climate action and urge journalists to write stories on giving people solutions and climate actions.

“As we protect our nature, we protect ourselves,” Gerald Daly said adding that a need for more private sector to engage in the climate actions as they are big part of the solution.

The workshop was attended by officials from UN agencies, local journalists, representatives from Civil Society Organizations and private construction sector.

UN in Bhutan organized the workshop in partnership with Journalists’ Association of Bhutan , World Wildlife Fund, Bhutan and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.

pic courtesy: UNDP

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu