More than 30 Cambodian journalists participated in a training on climate change during 3-5 October 2011 in Phnom Penh and visited IUCN's project sites in Koh Kong Province on 6-7 October. The training, and field visit funded by UNESCO and the EU, and facilitated by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) and IUCN, aimed to raise awareness and interest of journalists on climate change in their professional work.
This intensive training included lectures from climate change experts from various organizations. The journalists from radio, TV, newspaper, and online media learned climate change concepts,, public perception of climate change in Cambodia, and new initiatives for adaptation solutions. They also discussed news angles for stories on this issue.
According to the UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, Anne Lemaistre, journalists have power to affect positive changes. "They can identify environmenalt issue at the local level, reach the marginalized and minority groups, and investigate options and find clear solutions to environmental problems. More importantly, journalists help public to make informed decisions," said Lemaistre.
This training was the first time Cambodian journalists came together to learn about climate change. It was organized as part of the follow up to the Paris Declaration on Broadcast Media & Climate Change in 2009. Similar trainings have been conducted in Lao PDR and Myanmar earlier this year.
During the training, most journalists showed their interest in the climate change issue by asking many questions concerning facts and solutions to the problems. Some misunderstandings on climate change related concepts such as greenhouse gases, carbon credits, and disasters related to climate change were corrected by experts.
After the training in Phnom Penh, the journalists went to Koh Kong to get exposure to actual experience of coastal communities in the context of climate change and to learn about livelihoods, education, sanitation, human well-being, natural resource use and management in communities within Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the target sits of IUCN's “Building Resilience to Climate Change Impacts―Coastal Southeast Asia” Project in Koh Kong Province.
In Koh Kong, the journalists discussed with authorities, government officials and village chiefs in the meeting hall of Peam Krasop community protected area. They showed their interest in livelihood aspects that related to climate change and natural disasters, management planning or disaster prevention, as well as local community benefits from mangrove forests.
During the field visit, the journalists observed areas of coastal erosion and mangrove forests by boats. The Deputy Chief of the Provincial Environmental Department was interviewed about the cause of erosion, the situation of dolphins and other issues that occur in Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary. The journalists further discussed with Koh Kapik commune council members, representatives from the community protected area and government officials on health, education, livelihood, and migration during the rainy season. They were also interested to know how the local community and authority plan to solve the problems in this community.
The last meeting with a local community in Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary wasattended by members of the commune council, the Village Chief of Koh Sralao, provincial environmental department, PKWS director, rangers of PKWS and representatives of the community protected area, and provided some facts regarding large-scale sand dredging in the area, mangrove management, and benefits from creation of the community protected area.
Dr. Robert Mather, IUCN's Head of Southeast Asia Group and the Manager of “Building Resilience to Climate Change Impacts―Coastal Southeast Asia” project, offered an opportunity to six journalists who publish news stories about climate change to attend the Regional Coastal Forum to be organized by IUCN in Thailand later in December this year.
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