By Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, Journalist
CCMP journalists interviewing 'treepreneurs' during a field trip in Durban, South Africa. Journalists from Asia, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Latin America have are attending and reporting from the conference as part of the climate change media partnership fellowship programme designed to improve media coverage of climate change issues in developing countries. Under the Climate Change Media Partnership, Internews, Panos and the International Institute for Environment and Development, IIEP, have joined forces to support developing world journalism and perspectives from the heart of the international climate negotiations
Durban, South Africa. December 9, 2011 - The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) have been pushing for strong targets at the climate change talks in Durban, South Africa but while active in the negotiations, their interaction with the media covering the United Nations Climate Meeting has been poor.
Since November 28 when the UN meetings started the AOSIS has been arguing that the small islands are at risk of extinction if developed countries do not curtail their emissions to reasonable levels that will cut or reduce the impacts of climate change.
The 43 member island grouping - which includes the countries from the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific Ocean- enlisted the support of the Least Developed Countries and the European Union negotiating blocks to support their position calling for an extension of the commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
This Protocol is a legally binding agreement which calls for developed countries to reduce their emission levels. Yet while AOSIS has been busy fighting for the survival of the islands, it has been falling down on its interaction with the media.
On Tuesday, December 6 it staged a ‘demonstration for survival’ which 3 members of the Caribbean media were unable to locate because of poorly communicated directions.
“I spent two hours trying to find this demonstration because I really wanted to get the small island voices into my story. So far since I have been here I have only been able to hear from the more developed countries. The small islands need to organize themselves better because they have so much to lose,” said one journalist who did not wish to be named.
AOSIS second media slight happened on Wednesday, December 7, when they did not show up at a media clinic featuring 50 journalists from various countries. Organised by the Climate Change Media Partnership, this media clinic provided the opportunity for negotiators from the key negotiating blocks such as the European Union, the Least Developed Countries and the United States to discuss their positions with Journalists.
While AOSIS had initially confirmed their participation they did not turn up.
“It is unfortunate that the Alliance of Small Island States missed the opportunity to speak to around 50 journalists from 25 countries and, specifically, to rebut the statements made by larger, more powerful nations including the United States, Japan and the European Union,” says Mike Shanahan of the Climate Change Media Partnership, who himself comes from an island that is just nine miles long and five miles wide. “This was a chance for people all around the world to hear the concerns of the small islands. The media is a highly effective channel for communicating to vast audiences about the threats climate change poses and why international solidarity is needed, so I hope that AOSIS will be able to join our press briefings at future climate change conferences.”
Many small islands are already experiences the devastating impact of climate change including stronger more frequent hurricanes, severe flooding, longer droughts and sea level rise. (End/09/12/11)