Wed | Mar 20, 2019

Caribbean takes centre stage at climate change conference

Published:Tuesday | February 19, 2019 | 12:11 AM

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands:

The Caribbean will be one of the areas of focus at the two-day Planetary Security Initiative at the Novetel Den Haag World Forum in The Hague, which starts today with Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Ronald Jackson among the speakers.

Iraq, Mali, and Lake Chad will be the other regions of focus at the event, to which The Stanley Foundation out of the United States has partnered with Free Press Unlimited, a non-governmental organisation in The Netherlands, to sponsor 15 journalists from across the world under a Planetary Security Conference Media Fellowship. A radio journalist from Haiti and a print reporter from Jamaica are among the beneficiaries.

“We think it is very important that conferences around climate aren’t just echo chambers with ministers (of government) and ‘important people’ on a more international level, but also to have the feedback of locals. We think that journalists/media is the key link between these two things. That isn’t emphasised enough in these kinds of events,” Free Press United’s Project Officer Amy Vis told The Gleaner.

In endorsing Vis’ views on the need to further empower environmental journalists, Media programmes officer with The Stanley Foundation, Devon Terrill, pointed to the need for them to expand their role in this particular setting.

“It really is a two-way communication. Journalists are reporting about things and developments that are happening at these conferences, but there are things they are learning on the ground that they are feeding back into these discussions that are very valuable and unique and useful for people. So they are able to contribute but also gain information that they can translate back to local audiences.”

More than 450 participants from 50 countries have been confirmed for the conference being held under the theme ‘Doable’, which will also discuss a comprehensive Caribbean Plan of Action on climate change.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com