The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has signed a partnership with the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association (KENSJA), to scale up environmental and sustainability reporting in Africa and beyond. In the partnership that was officially announced on Monday 28 May, the UN agency will provide expertise and training on technical issues such as environment agreements and climate change reporting. Journalists will also be facilitated to access story grants.
Scientists from UNEP have shared information with journalists from KENSJA on key environmental issues that require attention for sustainable development.
Speaking in preparation for the World Environment Day 2018 (Tuesday 5 June 2018), the scientists highlighted the importance of effective environmental reporting in Africa to enhance sustainability.
“Science needs journalism to enhance sustainability,” said Cyrille-Lazare Siewe, a senior research scientist from UNEP. He noted that inadequate coverage of environmental issues such as wetlands, climate change, and pollution poses a big challenge to Africa’s realization of Agenda 2030 on the Sustainable Development Goals.
“There’s a need to use the decentralized governments in promoting environmental agenda,” Mr. Siewe answered in response to questions from journalists on how to ensure environmental matters are well captured at the grassroots especially in rural Kenya. “Beating pollution should particularly be placed at the centre of the development agenda of county governments,” noted Siewe.
The scientists also challenged journalists to embrace data-driven reporting on environmental matters to enhance decision making. Mohamed Atani, the communications and outreach officer at UNEP Africa office said that inadequate, inaccessible and unused data was one of the impediments to effective environmental reporting across Africa. He urged journalists to leverage on data from research institutions such as UNEP and government organizations such as the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) to beef up their reporting on the environment and scientific matters.
The scientists spoke during a meeting with the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association (KENSJA). The UN environment has entered into a partnership with the KENSJA, to scale up environmental and sustainability reporting in Africa and beyond. In the partnership, the UN agency will provide expertise and training on technical issues such as environment agreements and climate change reporting. Journalists will also be facilitated to access story grants.
Rosalia Omungo, KENSJA Chairperson said, “It is time to change the narrative on lack of resources and take environmental reporting to a new level.” She challenged journalists to tap into the vast array of scientists at the Gigiri based complex to bring new reporting dimensions.
Article by Gilbert Nakweya