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Asian Journalists and Climate Change Experts meet in Manila for a Climate Change Media Workshop

Climate change is one of the most pressing and debated issues of the 21st century. It is also suddenly a very hot new topic in the global mass media. From August 12-13, 2008 some 35 journalists and climate change technical experts will meet at the Traders Hotel in Manila for the Climate Change Media Workshop for Southeast Asian, China and Bangladesh Journalists.

The Philippine Science Journalists Association, Inc. (PSciJourn), with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Regional Office for Southeast and East Asia, and the Economy and Environment Program of Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), will be hosting the media workshop.

The two-day workshop will look into the science of climate change, perception of risks and impacts, and the different scenarios of extreme climate changes in Southeast Asia.

“Researchers and journalists do not have very many opportunities to meet. We hope that bringing the experts and journalists together will foster a deeper understanding of this complex subject from their different perspectives and help build greater collaboration among all,” said Dr. Herminia Francisco, Director of EEPSEA, which has been supporting research and training in environmental and resource economics for the past 15 years.

Dr. Francisco believes that the need for adaptation is no longer an issue for debate, and that adaptation planning is an urgent task.

Richard Fuchs, IDRC Regional Director for Southeast and East Asia, on the other hand, is equally supportive of this workshop in Manila as he believes “good communications among all key players can go a long way in keeping everyone engaged.”

“IDRC is embarking on a research program on climate change in Asia and we are fully committed to working with all our partners, including the media, in the process”, Fuchs said.

Climate change experts at this workshop include Prof Rex Victor Cruz and Dr Rosa Perez from the Philippines and Prof Joyashree Roy from India, who are involved in the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. Other speakers are Mr Suppakorn Chinvanno from the Southeast Asia START Regional Center at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, Mr James Fahn, the Executive Director of Internews’ Earth Journalism Network based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Director Woochong Um of the Asian Development Bank’s Climate Change Focal Point Energy, Transport and Water Division, and Mr Ramon Faustino Sales, Jr, Convenor of the Philippine Network on Climate Change.

Governor Joey Salceda of Albay Province in the Philippines, is the keynote speaker at the opening of the workshop. Described as a “Green Economist”, Governor Salceda, has introduced the first local government initiative on climate change adaptation in the Philippines and in Asia-Pacific.

In conducting this kind of workshop, the organizers believe that effective communication is important because it is a tool that can be used to identify problems, encourage participation, invite innovation in problem solving, and promote adaptation and mitigation.

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