Over 40 journalists and climate experts gathered in the Kenyan Capital city Nairobi on Tuesday launched the first Africa Climate Story Media Initiative (ACSMI) that seeks to empower journalists as a way of amplifying the climate narrative ahead of COP 27 in Egypt later this year.
The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Environment Keriako Tobiko urged African journalists to use the power of media in telling the continent’s story from the African perspective.
“Africa is the most vulnerable to climate change,” said Minister Tobiko at the official launching the new media initiative.
While it is has become an imperative that problems of the African continent should be solved by Africans themselves, the Kenyan senior Government official stressed that vulnerability of the continent should be told by Africans themselves while emphasizing on solutions to mitigate negative impacts of climate change
According to Tobiko, the continent is now facing serious consequences related to the gravity of the changing climate.
While blaming climate deniers and historical emitters for distorting the climate issues as they are and with no climate action, he stressed that climate crisis is true and no country across the globe is immune.
“You are encouraged to tell the African story, the continent that is most affected by climate crisis with limited resources yet it is the least emitter or contributor to this global crisis,” Tobiko said.
The launch of the media initiative was organized by the Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC) in collaboration with AfricaonAir, an organization that seeks to build capacities of African journalists through training and mentorship programs.
PAMACC plans to use the initiative so that African journalists can publish well researched stories on its platforms and allow other media houses across the continent to republish the stories free of charge as a way of amplifying the climate narrative.
Isaiah Esipisu, a journalist and the continental coordinator of PAMACC said that ACSMI will support and empower journalists so that they can get the African story on climate change right and be able to report it.
One of the organizers and founder of AfricaonAir, African veteran journalist, Joseph Warungu welcomed participants to interact and find information gaps on reporting the African story between journalists, climate experts, civil society and policy makers among others.
Warungu urged journalists who are from different regions of the continent to share and collaborate with each other to understand and report the African story.
The ACSMI initiative launched on Tuesday came along a two-day media workshop on climate change for journalists from Africa and will be followed by a field trip to one of Kenya’s largest renewable energy plants in Olkaria, Naivasha.