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Broadcast Media and Climate Change A Public Service Remit UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France. September 4-5, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Broadcast Media and Climate Change A Public Service Remit UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France. September 4-5, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Broadcast Media and Climate Change A Public Service Remit UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France. September 4-5, 2009

2 The Challenges of Reporting on Climate Changes The Case of Small Island Developing States Prepared by Gary Allen, Director, CBU, Managing Director – RJR Communications Group, Jamaica

3 Our Context The Association of Caribbean States with well over 35 million citizens is the broadest definition of the Caribbean The CARIFORUM States (CARICOM plus DR and Haiti) are home to more than 24 million people The English speaking Caribbean is home to just about 6 million people. Population spread over 15 independent countries, on hundreds of islands – with 2 members on the SA mainland and one on the Central American mainland.

4 Context Our CARICOM populations range from 2.6m at the top to 5,000 at the other end. Immediately then – Small Island States is in a perspective. States that emerged from: Limestone formation Earthquake formation/activity Volcanic activity Within a tropical region of cyclone/hurricane for 6 months each year.

5 Context Caribbean Economies are built on: Tourism (#1 earner in more than 60% of them – dominated by coastal tourism) Oil (Trinidad and Tobago) Agriculture Public Sector employment Small business/self owned businesses

6 Economic Context Per Capita/Per Annum Indicator: (of 208) –54.Bahamas –57.Barbados –70.St. Kitts and Nevis –77.Antigua and Barbuda –78.Trinidad and Tobago –96.St. Vincent and the Grenadines –100.Dominican Republic –130.Guyana –133.Jamaica –175.Haiti

7 Climate Change and Reporting Correlations High correlation exists in the reportage on: Growing ferociousness of storms and hurricanes: their frequency, their intensity and their tracking unpredictability; Impact of deforestation on soil erosion, flooding, mud slides, the claiming of lives and destruction of communities; Degrading impact of unplanned or under planned exploration/production from bauxite/alumina, oil, peat, sand mining, etc.

8 Reporting on our experiences Environmental degradation is getting more profound and with the bulk of the impact outside the region it is challenging to correlate to populations. Arguably our region contributes less than 1% of global pollution, but media struggle to explain why we bear an exponentially greater consequence.

9 Reporting on our experiences Tourism employs directly/indirectly about 20% of the regions population – built on coastal ambiance and beauty but we increasingly report on the negative impact of climate change on beaches and reefs. Fisheries and pelagic resources are a significant part of our traditional economies, employing thousands but is now under increasing threat.

10 Our Experiences Reportage has changed to include explanations of tidal shifts and the relationship to beach erosion and the impact on tourism Pollution of our oceans and seas has raised reporting on coral bleaching and impact on marine life – on policing fishing seasons vigorously Coastal erosion now impacting real estate development and foreign direct investment.

11 Reporting on our experiences Reportage now required on changes in rainfall patterns -affecting floods, droughts, landslides. Cruise tourism and other pollution sources of our oceans/seas raise reporting on coral reef impact and the impact on marine life. Critical impact also on agriculture - food security.

12 Media Actions CBU has launched an annual journalism workshop on climate change; Seeking to influence increased information output on climate change and its relevance; Encouraging increased electronic media output on climate change. But much more is required……

13 The Caribbean Reality is… Sea levels are rising Reefs are dying Marine life is declining Fisher-folk are despairing Beaches are eroding – tourism is at risk Cyclones are intensifying Forests are denuding Agriculture is wilting – as droughts and floods are intensifying Some slashing and burning is continuing

14 The Caribbean Reality is… We are reporting on how we are declining And we are hoping we can awaken our populace to the challenge we must be meeting.


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