Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) - Regional Journalist Workshop

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Background

Journalists everywhere grapple with the science of climate change and with how to communicate its impacts to their audiences. In developing countries, journalists often lack resources or knowledge on how to access solid data and information on climate change. In addition, writing or broadcasting such stories in a clear and straightforward way is often a challenge. As a result there are knowledge gaps on this vitally important issue.  

The Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) is a pioneering collaboration among three organizations – the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/GRID-Arendal – aimed at contributing to enhanced resilience of mountain communities, particularly women, through improved understanding of vulnerabilities, opportunities, and potentials for adaptation. Women in the region have important responsibilities as stewards of natural and household resources and are therefore well positioned to contribute to adaptation strategies; but they are more vulnerable than men to climate change as they face more social, economic, and political barriers limiting their coping capacity. HICAP will generate knowledge of climate change impacts on natural resources, ecosystem services, and the communities depending on them, contributing to policy and practice for enhanced adaptation. Communication and outreach at many levels – from the grassroots to the policy level – is an important component of the programme.

Under HICAP – and specifically its communication and outreach component – UNEP/GRID-Arendal and ICIMOD will hold a regional workshop in 2013 for journalists from the four countries participating in the programme – China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The focus will be on climate-related environmental issues, with special regard to adaptation measures. A field visit will provide a hands-on opportunity to develop relevant stories. Participants will represent the three media categories of photo journalism, video/documentary, and print/web. 

HICAP is conducting research at specific sites and in specific river sub-basins within each of the countries involved. The programme is producing interesting information, data, and statistics – for example, the results of the baseline survey for the Vulnerabaility and Adaptive Capacity Assessment (VACA). This information will become more accessible and alive if complemented with life stories and photos that portray the situation of the surveyed households and communities first-hand.  

Through this workshop, HICAP hopes to identify suitable independent journalists to work more closely with the programme over the short or long term, in the preparation of such life stories/photos and as agents for dissemination of the programme’s messages for promotion of climate change adaptation practices and policies in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. 

The stories generated during the media workshop and afterwards should reflect the realities on the ground in the research sites, with attention to the local context of culture, traditions, communication strategies, gender issues, and interpersonal and social dynamics of each location. 

Objective

To share means of communicating effectively and engagingly on climate change issues – and particularly adaptation issues – on the ground, and to equip participants with knowledge and skills to develop and deliver scientifically valid stories that are easily understood by the general public. 

Workshop activities (tentative)


Day 1: Familiarization, Assessment of Skills, and Introduction to the Issues

  • Familiarization session and an assessment of the relative skill levels and specific interests of participants
  • Introduction to HICAP, its areas of research, and its communication objectives 
  • Discussion on stories to be developed and how to go about formulating them
  • Smaller groups, facilitated by a trainer/mentor, will focus on one of four thematic topics:
    • Climate change and its impact on local/regional/national food security
    • Climate change and local/regional/national water issues
    • Ecosystem services, livelihood vulnerability, and adaptive capacity
    • Women in adaptation 

Days 2 and 3: Story development

  • Discussion of site selection for stories on the four thematic topics
  • Discussion of story angles and preparation for the field visit
  • Discussion of techniques of and tips for gathering information, framing a story, validating facts, interviewing, and writing/production
  • Round table with local editors enabling open discussion on media issues related to communication on climate change and adaptation

Days 4 and 5: Field visit to Dhulikhel

  • Gathering and formulation of stories, guided by trainers on hand 
  • Submission of stories and assessment by trainers
  • One-on-one sessions with trainers 

Day 6: Travel back to Kathmandu / Reflections and Way Forward

  • Half-day session to reflect on observations during the field visit
  • Sharing and review of the stories produced
  • Stories made ready for publication or broadcast

Expected outputs

  • Following the workshop, each participant to produce/publish at least two stories on issues relating to its themes
  • Journalists emerge from the workshop with increased confidence in developing stories on climate change impacts on people in the Hindu Kush Himalyan region, and their responses to it
  • Journalists equipped with techniques to better report and enhance their stories by taking on the human perspective/dimensions
  • Implementation of HICAP’s communication component through portrayal of real-life, on-the-ground situations
  • Greater public awareness of the challenges of adaptation and the linkages between environmental issues, social problems, and the wider economy
  • Strengthening of ICIMOD and UNEP/GRID Arendal media networks and improved media relations in the region

Participation costs

The workshop organizers will cover all direct costs related to the workshop, including international airfare, visa processing, local transport, and accommodation and food during the workshop period for all selected participants.

Target participants

The target participants are freelance journalists from photo journalism, video/documentary, and print/web  media who regularly cover environmental issues, especially climate change and its effects, from China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. 

Selection criteria

Candidates pre-selected by the organizers should complete the application form and send to Nira Gurung () with copy to Krisha Shrestha () along with updated CV (max 3 pages) and two recent clippings/links to relevant published news reports.

Media Partner

The Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) is the media partner for this workshop. NEFEJ will provide technical input wherever appropriate, cover the events, and arrange a visit to NEFEJ facilities.