Journalists’ leaders from all regions of Africa who assembled in Durban, South Africa, from 1-3 December for a major conference on African Journalists and their Role in Tackling the perils of Climate Change committed to make climate change a priority for immediate action in building professional capacity of journalists, through training, exchange of skills and best practices in order to respond to the growing danger posed by climate change.
The conference which was organised on the side-lines of 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP7), by the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) with the support of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the active participation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the African Union Commission (AUC) brought together leaders of journalists from Southern, Eastern, West, North and Central Africa regions of the continent.
At the end of the conference, a Durban declaration was adopted which admitted “the limitation of journalists on climate change and the need for enriching their understanding and capacity about the looming climate disaster especially on the African continent”. The participants agreed to encourage “the development and adoption of national, regional and continental policies regarding the threats of climate change within journalists’ organizations” and to increase “advocacy and campaigns on the protection of the environment and climate justice”.
“This conference raised the awareness of journalists leaders on climate change, the causes, impact and issues surrounding it with the objective of informing them on the need to encouraging working journalists of Africa to report extensively and intensively on the threats of climate,” said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President.
Nick Nuttall, Acting Director, Division of Communications and Public Information, and Spokesperson of UNEP who attended the conference, said: "Communicating to the governments, communities and companies of Africa the complexity and impacts of accelerating climate change will be vital in terms of catalyzing a response internationally and nationally". "The bringing together of so many leaders from the realm of African journalism, under the Federation of African Journalists, this week in Durban during the UN climate convention negotiations can be a trigger towards a paradigm shift in climate communications. UNEP is delighted to share its data and experts in order to assist in meeting the Federation's excellent and laudable aims," said Mr. Nuttall
“African journalists’ leaders meeting under the auspices of the FAJ took place at a very essential moment. Raising awareness of journalists’ leaders in order to inform African people mark the vital first step in allowing African journalists to report the climate challenge with the importance and urgency it deserves,” said Mrs. Habiba Mejri-Cheikh, Director of Directorate of Communications and Information of the African Union Commission.
“On behalf of the African Union Commission we support the conference and look forward to working with you in the implementation of the outcome for the good of Africa,” added Mejri-Cheikh.
For more information contact the FAJ at +221 33 867 95 86/87
The FAJ represents over 50,000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa