Climate change: What is the role of the media?

September 8, 2021

Photo credit: UNDP Kazakhstan

On September 7, the winners of the media contest dedicated to climate change were announced at Central communications service of Kazakhstan as part of the celebration of the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies. The contest was launched ahead of the World Environment Day earlier in June and organized by the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme and the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan.

Despite temporary reduction in emissions due to the pandemic, the world still cannot keep global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius. Wildfires, heat, devastating floods, and other natural disasters are threatening to make parts of our planet uninhabitable. The UN estimates that we have lost 1.23 million lives during 7,348 major disasters worldwide over the past 20 years. In addition, the Global Disasters Report shows that nearly 85 percent of all disasters have been caused by extreme weather and climate conditions over the past decade.

We cannot underestimate the role of media as the main resource for environmental information. The problem of climate change today goes beyond the expert community and becomes part of the public agenda due to the work of the media, showing the direct impact of global climate changes that seem far from the life of an ordinary citizen of the country.

Journalists and bloggers have been invited to participate in the contest and prepare articles related to environmental threats and adaptation and mitigation measures in Kazakhstan.

Journalists of major publications from all regions of Kazakhstan submitted more than 50 articles. The articles have been written in various formats - from journalistic research and expert interviews to multimedia materials and analytical reviews, featuring the implemented adaptation solutions in the country. The topics included the average annual temperature growth in the country and globally, adaptation measures in agriculture, the impact of climate change on the national ecosystems and biodiversity, food security issues, waste management and others.

The evaluation commission paid attention to such parameters as the creativity, level of research and the main message of the article. The evaluation team have selected 10 finalists and three winners, who have been awarded with special prizes and certificates.

The first three places have been assigned as follows - the third place was given to Tolepov Dulat, a journalist of the Elordaaqparat news agency; the second place was given to Raissova Zulfiya, a correspondent of the CABAR Asia agency; Shayakhmetova Zhanna, a journalist of the Astana Times, won the first place. UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan Yakup Beris presented the winners gift vouchers at the final press conference. In addition to financial reward, the winner of the competition Zhanna Shayakhmetova received an opportunity to take part in the Conference of the Parties in Glasgow (Great Britain) - the main climate event of the global level, which will be held from October 31 to November 12, 2021.

It is worth noting that on 2-3 June, the UN Development Programme in Kazakhstan organized an online training for journalists to discuss climate change issues in Kazakhstan. The participants of the training discussed the importance climate agenda and the role of the media in providing reliable and true information on such sensitive issues.