SPEECH DELIVERED BY MITHIKA MWENDA- SECRETARY GENERAL, PAN AFRICAN CLIMATE JUSTICE ALLIANCE (PACJA) DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE 2014 ACCER AWARDS MARCH 9, 2014
INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, NAIROBI –KENYA
All protocols observed!
It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you to the 2014 launching of the African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards today in the environmental capital city of the word –Nairobi.
As you may know, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a continental coalition of over 500 civil society Organizations in the African continent, brought together by common goal of promoting and advocating for climate-friendly and equity-based development. The Alliance Draws its members from Non-governmental organizations, Foundations, Trusts, Community-based organizations, faith-based networks, national coalitions and regional networks from 45 countries in Africa.
Although Africa contributes negligibly to the phenomenon of Climate Change accounting for less than 3% of the World’s greenhouse gas emissions, her People however continue to suffer the most from the consequences of Climate Change. Food insecurity, scarcity of water, land denudation often resulting to landslides, destruction of wetland ecosystems and human wildlife
conflict amongst others have not only led to overall environmental crisis, but also culminated to starvation and death.
A major environmental and sustainable development problem, climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions. But since it is also a local phenomenon, interventions to cope with climate change impacts require that all stakeholders are fully engaged at local, national and regional levels.
Africa is a "vulnerability hot spot" for climate change, with limited adaptive capacity due to high levels of poverty (IPCC, 2013). With two degrees of warming, total crop production could be reduced by 10 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the undernourished population could increase by at least 25 per cent by 2050 (World Bank, 2013). If warming exceeds three degrees, virtually all of the present maize, millet and sorghum cropping areas across Africa could become unviable (Schaeffer et al. 2013b). Sub-Saharan Africa's greatest adaptation needs include water supply, coastal zone protection, infrastructure and agriculture.
With these glaring evidences, the need to involve all stakeholders and especially African journalists in writing, reporting and telling the African narrative of climate change can never be over-emphasised.
Time will fail me to give you the detail background of ACCER Awards but permit me to just give you a brief of the journey of this one out of several PACJA’s great initiatives since inception as the basis for our gathering today.
The ACCER awards in their second year are an initiative of PACJA and partners. ACCER is therefore purposed at rewarding exemplary reporting on Climate Change and Environment in Africa. As a first step in this direction PACJA has demonstrated this commitment by undertaking training workshops for Journalists in Africa on Climate Change.
Effective and sufficient reporting on Climate Change and Environment will have the overall effect of galvanizing voices at the grassroots communities, local Governments, the National, Continental and International levels.
Objectives of ACCER Award
To bring out and propagate “African narrative” on climate change in international climate change and sustainable development debates
2. To motivate Journalists and media houses in Africa to effectively cover and report on Climate Change and environment
3. To illuminate innovative best-practice approaches both in Policy and Practice towards response strategies and programmes.
4. To enhance proactive media participation in African climate change discourses with a view of perspectives and narratives.
5. To sustain and boost coverage of Climate Change issues by Journalists in the mainstream media.
6. To promote and create awareness about opportunities existing green investment both in public and private realm.
Identification of recipient of the awards will be through a mass public-driven and interactive process and an independent panel of eminent professionals will carefully review the various nominations to determine deserving winners.
Potential awardees will present direct entries with brief citations demonstrating how their journalism may have practically enhanced access to information delivery in a specified area. An independent panel of judges carefully selected will review the entries and make a decision on the winners and runners up for each award category.
The judges will have the final word on who is to be awarded for each category.
As we launch the 2014 ACCER Awards today as a build up to announcement earlier made in Dakar, Senegal last month, this has officially draw the curtain open for entries into the competition by African journalists. The entry will run until May 15, 2014 when it shall officially
close for the judges to commence their work of screening and selection of the award winning entries.
Distinguished dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen of the press, permit me to leap-frog here and welcome you to the ACCER Awards and Gala Nights expected to recognize outstanding climate change and environmental journalists across Africa who will have scooped various Awards in a vigorous competition sponsored by PACJA and its partners. The event will be graced by over 190 world leaders on the 22nd of June, 2014 on the sideline of the first ever United Nations Environmental Assembly here in Nairobi, Kenya.
Once again, thank you for honoring our invitation and I thank you all for your kind attention.
For more Info: www.pacja.org
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