Guyanese journalist among winners of UNDP climate change storytelling contest for COP21

As you may have seen, I recently published some articles by young Jamaicans giving their perspectives ahead of the crucial climate change conference (COP21) in Paris in December. Now five young journalists have been specially chosen to attend COP21. Special congratulations to our Caribbean journalist, Neil Marks from Guyana! We look forward to his reports from the regional viewpoint, as events unfold and discussions gather momentum… I also hope to see Neil reporting on social media, so that we can quickly get the word out! All the best and congratulations to the other winners, from Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria and Peru. 

Panos Caribbean has consistently supported regional journalists in reporting on climate change and environmental issues in general, and continues to do so. Kudos to them! Here is their press release. Original is at http://panoscaribbean.org/en/archives/3872

Logo_COP_21_Paris_2015

GENEVA, Switzerland. 27 October 2015 – Five young journalists, among them Guyana’s Neil Marks, have been selected to join the upcoming climate change conference (COP21) in Paris in December.

The journalists — winners of a ‘Voices2Paris’ storytelling contest run by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and OXFAM — will help to cover the conference and the critical issue of tackling climate change.

Over 130 articles were submitted from more than 40 countries globally.

“One of the objectives of the contest was to encourage further local coverage of climate change impacts and solutions. ‘Voices2Paris’ is already a success if we consider that the articles were published in more than 40 countries, in mainstream as well as climate-related publications, and contributed to greater public awareness on climate change,” noted Sarah Bel, UNDP Communication Specialist in Geneva.

The stories were judged based on their content, structure, photographs and relevance, and how well they incorporated climate science. A group of senior journalists from top-tiered media — including EFE, the Economic Times of India, Climate Central, Climate home, Le Monde, Panapress and Thomson Reuters Foundation — scored the entries and selected after two rounds of scoring the five best stories.

In addition to the winners, the top 25 articles will be disseminated through the media and online.

“Reading and judging these stories took me, quite vividly sometimes, to the parts of the world that have done the least to cause global warming — but that are already suffering from its most dangerous effects,” noted John Upton from Climate Central.

“The major themes that emerged in the entries were flooding and heat and the impacts of climate change on farming. The developing world doesn’t just need help adapting and responding to climate change, it needs help understanding it. Kudos to the journalists who are telling these stories, and to the scientists and others who are helping them,” he added.

In addition to Marks, the contest winners who will join UNDP at the COP21 in Paris are:
• Diana Omondi Makimario (Kenya);
• Shahani Singh Shrestha (Nepal);
• Augustina Armstrong-Ogbonna (Nigeria); and
• María del Pilar Celi Frías (Peru).

Journalists whose entries are among the 25 best stories will also have the opportunity to continue learning, and will now work with mentors to deepen their investigation and fine-tune their articles for international publication before COP21.

UNDP and its partners, including OXFAM, Care International, China Dialogue, Deutsche Welle and Thomson Reuters Foundation, will disseminate the articles widely throughout November.

UNDP has been a leading supporter to developing countries throughout the COP21 negotiations and in the development of climate targets. The winning journalists will join UNDP’s delegation, including Administrator Helen Clark, in Paris for the conference, where UNDP will push heavily for post-Paris action to combat climate change.

The African Press Organisation, Deutsche Welle and OXFAM Hong Kong are special partners of the contest.

Guyanese freelance journalist Neil Marks (standing, third left) poses for his picture with other Caribbean journalists at a media workshop co-sponsored by Panos Caribbean, UNDP Jamaica and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in Kingston last November. Seated in the foreground is UNDP's then coordinator Dr. Arun Kashyap and Minister Robert Pickersgill. Standing, far right is Judith Wedderburn of FES and (center) Indi McLymont of Panos Caribbean. (My photo)
Guyanese freelance journalist Neil Marks (standing, third left) poses for his picture with other Caribbean journalists at a media workshop co-sponsored by Panos Caribbean, the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, UNDP Jamaica and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in Kingston last November. Seated in the foreground is UNDP’s then coordinator Dr. Arun Kashyap and Minister Robert Pickersgill. Standing, far right is Judith Wedderburn of FES and (center) Indi McLymont of Panos Caribbean. (My photo)

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