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Workshop on climate change

Imphal, Dec. 4: Environmental experts and reporters today visited Loktak lake in Bishnupur district and Fayeng village in Imphal West district as part of a three-day media workshop on climate change.

During the visit on the second day, the team interacted with the people living on the outskirts of the lake and the villagers of Fayeng over the climate change in the areas.

The workshop aims to sensitise the media in the Northeast to promote accurate reporting of climate change and adaptation measures in the Himalayas.

It was jointly launched by the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, department of science and technology and the Centre for Media Studies. Manipur governor Najma Heptulla inaugurated the workshop yesterday.

"While scientists have been working on different aspects of climate change and the state governments are preparing plans for adaptation, the media has a powerful role in generating awareness and motivating communities at the local level," she said.?

Expressing concern over degradation of the Loktak lake, Heptulla announced that she would launch a programme to involve children in regeneration of the wetland. She also released a manual titled - Himalayas, Climate Change and the Media.

State environment minister I. Hemochandra said Manipur had taken a lead in the country to meet the challenge of climate change.

Experts believe the Indian Himalayan Region is one of the most vulnerable mountain systems in the world and if effective measures are taken in time, it may be possible to prevent further degradation of the ecosystem.

"Through this programme, we are trying to trigger interest in climate change, its impacts on sustainability, livelihood issues and adaptation stories among journalists, editors and media houses in the region and thereby among the masses," said Shirish Sinha, the deputy director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The director general of the centre, P.N. Vasanti, said, "The challenge before journalists reporting on climate change is to connect changes occurring at the local level with larger global climate science and policies. We need to build this capacity among interested journalists."

Under the programme, a series of media workshops will be held in all the northeastern states over the next three years. Senior thematic experts, scientists and policymakers will participate in these workshops and interact with journalists from different media outlets in the Himalayan states.

Fellowships will also be awarded to journalists from the region to write field-based stories. Best stories written by state-level journalists will be awarded at the end of the programme.


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