Science Communication and Climate Change
With regard to Science Communication – including the role of the media in global climate change risk management – the CI Sector highlights the educational, democratic and developmental functions of science communication. Overall, the Sector seeks to popularise science communication in the developing world by (i) improving the scientific literacy of media professionals, (ii) facilitating easier access to scientific information and knowledge, and (iii) improving the quality and quantity of science reporting.
More specifically, in terms of climate change and climate education, efforts have focused on capacity-building and networking for media institutions globally, with special emphasis on Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In this regard, as part of its contribution to the achievement of the United Nations Decade for Sustainable Development, UNESCO and UNEP jointly held the first International Conference on Broadcast Media and Climate Change in 2009, which culminated in the Paris Declaration on Media and Climate Change.
In July 2009, UNESCO, in its attempt to realise its strategic and programmatic emphasis on Africa, signed a special agreement with the African Union Commission (AUC) focused on the tripartite objective of (i) providing support for the development of regional science and technology networks for journalism students and media professionals, (ii) improving the range and scale of journalism training in reporting science and technology, and (iii) developing a centre of excellence in journalism training in science and technology.
As part of this special agreement, a study is underway by Uganda’s Makerere University to establish how African media cover science and technology issues.
Also implemented, in the area of climate change reporting, are the Inter Press Service (IPS) Africa media fellowships, whereby two African journalists covered the proceedings at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico, in November and December, 2010.