Asian Filmmakers and Researchers win UNDP Fellowships for Local Solutions to Address Climate and Poverty Problems

25 Oct 2012

Bangkok - Journalists from Viet Nam and India and researchers from Bangladesh and Iran have been recognized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for their work on climate change, poverty, and environment; themes central to progress on sustainable human development.

This year two journalists and two researchers have been awarded fellowships under UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Human Development Fellowships to deepen their analytical capacity for cutting edge research on integrating poverty in environmental policy and to strengthen public awareness on the human impacts of climate change.

The Fellowships, initiated in 2005, offer US$10,000 grants each year in two categories: to Asia-Pacific PhD students to pursue academic research and to mid-level career journalists from the region to develop short documentary films in their chosen field. This year, both fellowships are rooted in themes that reinforce the latest Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, One Planet to Share, and are critical as the region works to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and move toward a post-2015 development agenda.

The media award was given to Ms. Diya Banerjee (India) and Ms. Binh Tran ThiThuy (Viet Nam) for their pioneering advocacy work on climate change in their countries. The academic award was given to Ms. Nahid Rezwana (Bangladesh) and Mr. Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi (Iran) for their groundbreaking research in assisting their countries’ policy makers to incorporate poverty reduction into environmental policies and projects.

“The true spirit of the Fellowships lies in their ability to engage and promote change from within and to push the boundaries of human development thinking and advocacy,” explained Rathin Roy, Director and Regional Manager of UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Regional Centre.

Diya Banerjee, a journalist and documentary filmmaker in India has addressed issues concerning sustainable development in her country over the past six years, specifically on environment and energy issues. Her work under the Fellowship will focuses on production of a thirty-minute documentary, Dry Spell, which will highlight how climate-change can be addressed by ordinary people, local government and policy makers. The film will showcase successful examples from the Indian State of Maharashtra where watershed programmes have led to better water conservation, food production and a stronger agrarian economy. The film will explore how locally produced water-storage units, smart cropping patterns, and local water-associations have helped communities to tackle drought and optimise their livelihoods.

“The Fellowships continue to inspire young people from Asia-Pacific developing countries to work toward promoting human development and achievement of the MDGs,” added Anuradha Rajivan, Team Leader for the latest Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, One Planet to Share.

An International Panel of Judges comprising of Asia-Pacific experts from universities, media, and international agencies met in Dhaka, Bangladesh to determine this year’s winners.

For more information on the UNDP Asia-Pacific Human Development Fellowships, please visit: http://asia-pacific.undp.org/practices/HDRU/fellowship.html

For information on the UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre, please visit: http://asia-pacific.undp.org

Contact Information:


In Bangkok:
Mr. Omar Siddique, Mobile (66 87) 337 2801, omar.siddique@undp.org