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WWF-Pakistan and ICIMOD organise two-day workshop on climate change for journalists

Posted on 1 June 2016

Gilgit, WWF-Pakistan, in collaboration with International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), conducted a two-day awareness and capacity building workshop aiming to sensitise and train local journalists on issues related to climate change to effectively communicate the need for enabling policies and strategies for adaptation. Participants of the event included local journalists and media experts from across the country who stressed the importance of environmental journalism in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change.

In the start of the workshop Dr Babar Khan, Senior Manager Conservation and Head of the GB region, WWF-Pakistan, explained the uniqueness and fragility of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalaya regions and warned that warming trends in these mountainous areas are above global average. He said that, “Every year around the world, millions of people are forcibly displaced by floods, wind-storms, earthquakes, droughts and other disasters. In the context of climate change, such disaster- induced-displacements are likely to increase. Similarly, in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalaya region (HKH) entire villages like Darkut in Yasin Valley and Kanday Valley in Ganche district of Gilgit-Baltistan have relocated when climate induced disasters threatened the lives and livelihoods of the locals.”

He emphasised the need to adopt climate adaptation policies and suggested that journalists should highlight the implications of sudden onset flash floods, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches and glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs), as well as slow onset drought, desertification, land drifts and soil erosion.

SajjadHaider, Secretary, Forest, Wildlife and Environment Department, government of Gilgit-Baltistan while addressing the participants, highlighted the importance of environmental journalism as a voice of the mountain communities. He appreciated the efforts of WWF-Pakistan and ICIMOD for educating and building the capacity of local communities.

Dr Abdul Wahid Jasra, Country Representative, ICIMOD, while briefing the participants on the objectives of the programme said, “Under the Pakistan chapter of the European Union-funded HIMALICA project titled Support to Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalayas, WWF-Pakistan in partnership with ICIMOD has been working in Hunza and Nagar districts of Gilgit-Baltistan to support rural livelihoods in the context of socio-economic and climatic changes, and the conservation of the HKH ecosystem through active regional cooperation.”

On the second day of the workshop participants were then taken on an exposure visit to Passu in Hunza district where they interacted with the locals to understand how climate change is affecting their living conditions. Later, participants travelled to MaarkhonGojal village, Hunza district where ICIMOD and WWF-Pakistan are running a pilot project to irrigate the upper Indus Basin.

At the end of the workshop Dr Babar Khan, on the recommendation of senior journalists, announced holding environmental journalist awards twice a year to honour the services of local journalists working on topics related to climate change and the environment.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt worldwide. Last year was the hottest year on record. Nineteen of the 20 hottest years on record occurred in the past two decades. According to German Watch Institute, Pakistan is one of the top ten countries most affected by climate change, although contributing very little to global carbon emissions. The country is already being affected by deeper, more persistent droughts, pounded by more severe weather and floods, inundated by bigger storm surges.


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Media Relations at WWF-Pakistan

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