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Place Humanity At Centre Of Climate Change Issues 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

CameroonPostline.com — Some 23 journalists, drawn from the audio-visual and print media in Cameroon, have been told to always put humanity at the centre of stories on the changing climate. The call was made in Douala on September 26, at the end of a three-day workshop, by Prof. Mama Plea who sat in for Benoit Sossou, the Representative of UNESCO Office in Yaounde that covers Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Chad.

The theme of the workshop was “Building the capacities of journalists of Cameroon on adaptation to climate change.” Prof. Plea of the Science Unit of UNESCO Office, who was also a resource person, corroborating other expert trainers, stated that man is at the base of dominant causes that trigger negative changes in climatic parameters that tend to affect him (man).

Maintaining that man is still a key in seeking solutions to such problems and must, therefore, be at the mainstream of reporting, Plea reminded the journalists of the important role they play in passing on correct and educative information. He held that the battle against climate change can be won or lost on pages of newspapers and on television or radio stations.

“The public needs precise information in order to take individual and collective decisions which can have an impact at the national, regional or global level, and many people are informed of climate change issues through the media. Journalists can alert the public on extreme climatic events, give explanations on complex policies, highlight adaptation strategies working on the field, play surveillance role to protect public interest and promote necessary actions,” Prof. Plea stated.

The quality of articles, according to Plea, that would ease public understanding of issues surrounding the changing climate could build up adaptation will, offer perspectives to the poor population and present solutions not only to combat climate change, but that also provide complementary advantages.

Meanwhile, at the start of the training, Prof. Plea hailed the Government of Cameroon for the quality of cooperation with the UN system, in general, and UNESCO, in particular. He thanked the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, MINEPDED and UNDP for choosing UNESCO to handle the communication aspect of the adaptation programme to climate change in Cameroon.

He talked of the convention signed between the UNESCO Office in Yaounde and MINEPDED on June 16, 2012, engaging the former to ensure the execution of the project on the development of community radio programmes as well as the training of journalists and radio animators on issues relating to adaptation to climate change. Within that framework, he recalled that community radio animators were trained during a similar workshop at Mbalmayo in August.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Environment, the Inspector No 2 and Focal Point Coordinator of the National Adaptation Plan on Climate Change (PNACC) at MINEPDED, Berthe Nanga, said the adaptation of Cameroon to climate change has become a major challenge that requires national mobilisation. She talked of measures being taken by Cameroon to elaborate the PNACC, which will be a coherent framework of activities related to adapting to projected negative effects of the changing climate.

The PNACC, Nanga remarked, would serve as a guide for the coordination and putting in place of adaptation initiatives in Cameroon through a participative approach that would incorporate other pertinent moves on matters of adaptation to climate change. She outlined a number of challenges and importance of the PNACC for Cameroon and thanked the Japanese Government for providing FCFA 3 billion to enable the country elaborate its adaptation plan on climate change.

The training was marked by the presentation of papers. Nanga talked on “Integrated approach and global adaptation programme on climate change”, while Cletus Ojong Tabe, a communication expert at UNESCO Yaounde Office, drilled the media men and women on Media and climate change – a public service remit.”

Dr. Annie Claude Pial of UNESCO presented on “Climate variability and greenhouse gas effects,” while Prof. Mama Plea talked on “Climate change, forecasts and potential impacts,” and “Climate change, resilience, adaptation and attenuation.” Practical work on writing and reporting was facilitated by a journalist and consultant, Emmanuel Wongibe. The participants also undertook a field visit to the meteorological station and the weather forecast service at the Douala International Airport.

First published in The Post print edition no 01379


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