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Climate Capacity Building workshop ended successfully in Fiji last week

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 10/12/2018

Upon the completion of the climate capacity building workshop for journalists from around the Pacific last week, the main message of the workshop was re-emphasized; the importance of journalists delivering reliable and well-researched climate reporting to the public.

During the one week workshop held in Nadi, Fiji, the more than 20 participating journalists from 9 Pacific Islands and journalism students from USP learnt, discussed, and shared about the challenges they face in reporting climate change stories and ways they can overcome this.
Over the course of the workshop, it was clear there were many hindrances to the delivery of climate change stories in the Pacific, such as financial constraints, lack of experience in this field, and lack of support from the leadership.

But head of communications for Pacific Council of Churches – Netani Rika encouraged the participants, holding people accountable in regard to climate change is the uncomfortable but necessary work of journalists. He also highlighted the lack of climate reporting in Pacific News despite climate change being the biggest concern for the Pacific Islands at the moment. Rika urged the journalists to focus more on reporting climate change stories and pushing for such stories to be prioritized in their news as there is no excuse for journalists not to know and understand climate change since research on this topic is simple and easy.
One of the participants – Alisa Faamaoni from TV 1 Samoa says she’s learnt a lot on climate change reporting during this workshop.
“giving me the courage to keep pushing and strengthen reporting on climate change issues within country not only that is the great opportunity to finally saw what happened in some of the villages we visited”

During the workshop the journalists had the opportunity to visit a few villages that had been suffering the impacts of climate change in recent years, one of which was Tukuraki, a village on the mountain side in the region of Ba. The village had only recently been relocated to the current location, after a landslide killed destroyed the village, killing a family of four in 2012. On this visit the journalists witnessed first-hand the impact of climate change on the villagers lives, who have been forced to start their lives anew in a foreign location which in Fijian culture, living on someone else’s land bring its own burdens. However the opportunity the relocation of the village has given the villagers a stronger community and stronger homes to withstand future natural disasters.

The relocation of the Tukuraki Village was made possible through the European Union and the ACP Group of States -funded Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project (BSRP) implemented by the Pacific Community.
As the workshop closed on Friday afternoon, the journalists held one final talanoa session discussing the strengths of the workshop and areas that could be improved in the future, but overall agreed that it was a success, with everyone leaving having learnt more about climate change reporting and how they can continue this in their own countries, as it was vital to highlight the plight of small villages such as Tukuraki for the world to understand the impacts of climate change. The participants were each presented with a certificate, which also included the 4 journalists and the president of the Pacific Environment Journalist Network – PEJN, Iliesa Tora, from Tonga.

© Radio and Television Tonga News

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