Building peace in the minds of men and women

Reporting on Climate Change in the Caribbean

23 July 2019

news_230719_climate_change_carib.jpg

Dr Dale Rankin, University of the West Indies, discussing the impact of climate change with journalists at a workshop in Saint John’s, Antigua, July 2019
© ACM

Twelve Caribbean journalists from the Eastern Caribbean countries gathered at the Department of Environment, in St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda for a UNESCO workshop, Doing Justice to Climate Change Issues: Handbook for Caribbean Media Workers.

This capacity-building activity was organized by the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean in partnership with the Association of Caribbean Media Workers on 19 July 2019 to train Caribbean journalists on reporting on climate change, and review the updated Handbook on Climate Change Reporting.

This training for young journalists and media professionals was supported through funding from UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC).

The workshop was officially opened by Anika Kentish, President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM). She encouraged journalists and media professionals “to consider the types of stories that they are publishing on climate change, and how they can influence and educate the general Caribbean population.”

Also speaking at the workshop, National Programme Officer for Communication and Information at UNESCO's Cluster Office for the Caribbean Erika Walker reminded the journalists UNESCO’s Special Initiative for the Caribbean (SPIC) and encouraged them to take every opportunity to do continuous training and development. Ms Walker said that more reporting on climate change is needed from the perspective of the resilience of the Caribbean people.

The keynote speaker at the workshop was agricultural climate modeling research analyst Dr Dale Rankine of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, who focused on Global Warming and Climate Change: Evidence and Controversies. In his speech, he traced the historical perspective on climate change in the Caribbean throughout the 20th century until now.

Science Advisor at the Association of Caribbean Media Workers Steve Maximay spoke about twenty-one years of Caribbean-wide reaction to climate change.

Throughout the workshop, invaluable contributions were made by veteran journalist and trainer Wesley Gibbings, who provided insight into the Caribbean experience of Reporting on Climate Change.

Secretary General of the UNESCO National Commission for UNESCO Dr Reginald Murphy, who also attended the event, declared, “This workshop is fantastic, as there is so much that I learnt today!"

Daryl George of the Department of Environment in Antigua and Barbuda expressed his satisfaction with the workshop and his willingness to assist journalists with research opportunities in order for them to produce better stories.

Alita Singh, a journalist from Sint Maarten, was happy to participate in the workshop and to contribute to the updating of the Climate Change Handbook for Caribbean Journalists. “I look forward to the final product and commend UNESCO Caribbean for supporting this initiative, which is extremely timely and needed as journalists in the field are confronted with this topic in their everyday work," she said.

The countries represented at the Reporting on Climate Change workshop were Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten and Trinidad and Tobago.

Dale Rankine, Steve Maximay and Wesley Gibbings are key researchers and contributors to the updated version of the Handbook for Caribbean Journalists for Reporting on Climate Change, which was originally published by the Association of Caribbean Media Workers in 2005.