Training for "Communicating Biodiversity" held in Southeast Asia

A four-day media skills workshop focused on biodiversity issues will cover 10 countries in Southeast Asia. CEC member Ronny Mustamu from Indonesia will attend, along with 60 government information officers and members of the media in the sub-region.

Ronny Mustamu, IUCN CEC member

Sub-Regional Capacity Development Workshop for ASEAN Countries on Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) and Media Relations

Information officers and members of the media will gain practical insight into "communicating biodiversity" at a workshop organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB). About 60 media practitioners and government information officers from 10 Southeast Asian countries will gather for the event 30 November to 3 December 2009 at the Gran Melia Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The four-day workshop will facilitate knowledge exchange and learning among civil servants responsible for CEPA activities on biodiversity and media practitioners who report on biodiversity.

The workshop is hosted by the Government of Indonesia and supported by the Government of the Netherlands and the European Commission. Trainers and resource speakers will be from the Commission for Education and Communication (CEC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity, noted the need to tell stories: “In our increasingly urban world, people don’t realise that biodiversity is the foundation for life on earth and for the well-being of people everywhere. We need to work to further develop our ability to tell the stories of biodiversity and its role in our lives to all citizens from the youngest to the oldest. As we approach the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010, we need to harness the power and creativity of communicators and the media around the world, to encourage the actions to safeguard biodiversity,” he said.

Mr. Rodrigo U. Fuentes, executive director of the European Commissionassisted ACB, said awareness is key: “The region’s capacity to reduce biodiversity loss is constrained by several roadblocks, including the dire lack of awareness and knowledge on the value of biodiversity. Increased public and leadership awareness is needed to create a groundswell that will catalyze all sectors of society to promote the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity resources. Communication plays a crucial
role in this challenge,” he said. 

Through the workshop, SCBD and ACB seeks to:

  • increase the government information officers’awareness about the importance of the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) 2010;
  • increase knowledge about the CBD’s framework and support for the IYB;
  • improve their skills in strategic planning and organizing national activities for the IYB;
  • increase awareness of the importance of, and improve skills in, dealing with the media.

The workshop is also designed to sensitize media practitioners to issues of biodiversity conservation and encourage them to become partners in conservation advocacy. The workshop will encourage each media participant to draft one story/radio/television programme about the CBD and about national actions on biodiversity in their respective country in the next six to 12 months.

The workshop aims to build capacity where budgets are tight, Mr. Fuentes explained. “While there is no doubt that ASEAN Member States are committed to implementing their own public awareness programmes, the level of support and availability of resources among the countries vary significantly from countries which have sufficient resources to those that do not have even the basic resources to launch public information campaigns. For many ASEAN Member States, the chronic shortage of budget for public awareness is exacerbated by the multi-sectoral nature of biodiversity issues often leading to the fragmented development of programs and plans. This workshop hopes to contribute to the countries’ efforts to further promote awareness on biodiversity beyond the current levels of their resources,” he said.

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