By Mekonnen Teshome
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) -Meteorological and media experts highlighted the role of journalists in supporting climate actions through demystifying complex and technical scientific climate information.
The experts expressed this at the opening of the science-media workshop co-organized by IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) and Ethiopia Meteorological Institute with a view to fostering a better collaboration between science and media practitioners for effective communication and delivery of climate change, food security and water scarcity challenges responses.
Opening the workshop, Director General of Ethiopian Meteorological Institute (EMI) and PR of Ethiopia with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Mr. Fetene Teshome, in Addis Ababa,Ethiopia, indicated that strengthening the capacity of media practitioners and journalists to interpret complex Metrological Science information to the public is vital to disseminate the highly needed climate predictions as well as to manage extreme weather events.
The General Director underscores the ever-increasing global climate change impacts and extreme weather events including heat waves, droughts, landslides, floods among other, called on for coordinated efforts between climate scientists and the media.
ICPAC Climate Change Expert Mr. Abebe Tadege who underlined the lack of coordinated efforts to transfer climate information to the public also indicated that the workshop aims at helping media practitioners produce relevant, accurate, culturally sensitive content with a particular focus on water scarcity, food insecurity and climatic adaptation among dry land rural communities.
Mr. Abebe pointed out that ICPAC is implementing the “Down2Earth” project to address the multi-faceted challenges of water scarcity and food insecurity under climate change in Horn of Africa Drylands through facilitating community-centered adaptation and resilience to climate change.
According to Mr. Abebe, the major obstacle to achieve this has been that climate products produced by climate scientists comprise scientific terminologies that are complex for use by ordinary practicing journalists and communicators.
Climate information usually comprise scientific terminologies and technical jargons that are usually difficult for use by end users practicing journalists and the public.
“Leveraging on existing initiatives such as the Season Media Action Plan (SMAP), helps in mainstreaming weather and climate information within the day-to-day activities.”
Co-production provides linkages, bridges the gap between science and media practitioners, and is critical in delivering reliable as well as accessible seasonal and other climate services to the end users.
The “Capacity Development and Engagement forum for Media and Climate Science Practitioners in the Horn of Africa Dry lands” workshop attended by Media practitioners and meteorological experts to creating a learning forum of ideas between journalist and science experts on climate change, food security and water scarcity reporting expected to end tomorrow.
The workshop also aims at strengthening capacity of journalist to develop Seasonal Media Action Plan (SMAP) for crop seasons, co-developing of strategies to co-create programs that address issues of climate change adaptation, establishing sustainability/continuous engagement plans with local media journalists and related stakeholders among others, the organizers indicated.