Media Workshop On Climate Change, Solutions & Sustainable Development Goals Held In Bhutan

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With most of the participants being media practitioners, they will now work towards producing content that will help the public understand the issues and urgency of climate change better.

(Source: Facebook/UNDP Bhutan)

 

By Tashi Dema | Kuensel

With the increase in global temperature of 1.5˚C, temperature rise in the mountains is even higher. It actually translates to a 2 or 2.5˚C increase in the mountains.

Climate change is often perceived as too scientific and technical a subject. Therefore, the United Nations organised a two-day media workshop on Climate Change, Solutions and the Sustainable Development Goals in Paro from 3-4 September 2019. 

At the media workshop, participants consist of media practitioners, film makers, bloggers UN officials, and other relevant agencies such as the Agriculture and Home Ministry.

Purpose of conducting the workshop

With most of the participants being media practitioners, they will now work towards producing content that will help the public understand the issues and urgency of climate change better.

In turn, this is expected to contribute towards the adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts in Bhutan. The participants also discussed possible data requirements and story ideas related to climate change.

Through this programme, the United Nations Office in Bhutan and the Journalists’ Association of Bhutan (JAB) are harnessing the power of multimedia to reach the general public.

Social media influencers and JAB can help engage the public on climate change issues

“JAB and the media influencers in Bhutan are all part of the solution. We need the young people of Bhutan to take on the challenges around climate change and become part of the solution. And the United Nations has to be flexible enough to support the Royal Government of Bhutan and work with social media influencers and JAB,” said Gerald Daly, the Resident Coordinator of United Nations Bhutan.

Negative impact of climate change

Climate change is a global crisis manifested in erratic weather patterns worldwide. The negative impacts include: accelerated melting of glaciers and snow, drying up of water resources, increase in disaster risks, poverty, food insecurity and energy poverty.

 

Source: Facebook/UNDP Bhutan

 

In the context of Asia, these can affect the circulation of the monsoon and distribution of rainfall, leading to reduced crop yield. Thus, communities dependent on glaciers and snowmelt are increasingly feeling the dire impact of rising temperatures.

According to Maxim Shrestha (Media Officer with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the direct impact of climate change on water resources is manifested in the loss of water storage in the form of ice, changing precipitation and flow pattern.

All these ‘symptoms’ will result in more floods, drought, landslides and glacial lake outburst floods in the region.

“We see a much higher rate of poverty incidences in the mountain areas, Bhutan is almost an entirely mountainous country, we have to find out if the matrix used to measure poverty is applicable. There is an acute shortage of mountain-specific poverty data,” Maxim Shrestha said.

 

Source: Youtube/ICIMOD

 

Thirty percent of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) region’s population suffers from a lack of food security; 50 percent from malnutrition; and about one-fifth of the children under five suffer from stunting.

A story behind every single data

Data, according to Maxim Shrestha, should be seen as an entry point, a foundation, or a question.

“There is a person and story in every single data. There is story in what is being counted or presented… Once we think of data as a story, we can find out possible biases in the data—what is left out, who is left out and why.”

What happens in the mountains is not only vital to the highlanders but also to those living in the plains. If any major disaster happens in the HKH region, it is likely to affect one-fourth of humanity.

Why is the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) region important for mankind?

The HKH region is a global asset for food, energy, water, carbon, cultural, and biological diversity.

“Agriculture and food production are highly susceptible to climate change. Poverty (income and energy), food insecurity, and migration affect women, children and marginalised communities more severely than others but policies and responses in the HKH countries overlook these multiple forms of exclusion,” Shrestha explained.

During the workshop, the United Nations Resident Coordinator of Bhutan, Gerald Daly emphasised that journalists and social media influencers should play a significant role in shaping the environment for the future.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


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