Media workshop on climate and disaster in India


The impact of climate change has been documented in the Himalayan region in terms of increase in annual temperatures as well as the shift in rainfall patterns and decrease in average snowfall. This shift may have a direct impact on floods and droughts, glacial retreat, water stress, food production, forest biodiversity, forest fires, forest regeneration and productivity, infrastructure, hydro projects and health. There is an immense need to have adequate mitigation and adaptation strategies to avoid unmanageable situations resulting from climate-change induced disasters due to unsustainable development. Equally critical is the need for building local capacities towards climate resilient development and climate adaptation at grassroots level as well as the governance and administration at different levels. Climate change adaptation has been defined as ‘adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial activities’ by the Working Group II of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This adjustment can be anticipatory or reactive, planned or spontaneous by the grassroots level respondents. It has been globally accepted now that the investment on prevention is much less than on the response to any disasters.

Studies indicate that people learn a lot about science and environment through the print and electronic media. Television and daily newspapers are the primary source of information for the masses. Radio has a deeper penetration in remote areas where television or newspaper does not reach easily. Not only for the common public but these media are also a great source of information for the leaders, politicians and other stakeholders who play important roles in development and planning process. Media outreach and impact can be effectively used for communicating about climate change scenarios at local, national and global levels and for relevant advocacy for policy influence.

The Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and The Third Pole (TTP) under the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) are organizing a media workshop in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, in northern India, on 6-8 April 2015. The workshop is to help inform journalists on climate change issues globally vis-a-vis the Himalayan region; apprise them of existing policies and programmes for climate change mitigation and adaptation and orient them about effective reporting on climate change issues, case studies and sustainable development for mountain communities.

The deliberations will focus on recent floods in Jammu and Kashmir, lessons learned and the way forward. Vice Chancellor of SKUAST Dr Tej Pratap will give the inaugural address. Sonam Lotus of Srinagar Meteorology will present a weather analysis in the context of recent floods. Saleem Beg, former DG, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism and presently member National Monuments Authority, GoI will talk on traditional community response to floods. Chief Town Planner, Iftikhar Hakim and Chief Engineer, Irrigation,  Javed Jafar will talk about Srinagar urbanization and recent floods. Professor Shakil Romshoo of University of Kashmir will speak about the impact of climate change on glaciers in Kashmir.

This is the third workshop in a series of four. The first workshop was held at Shimla, Himachal Pradesh on 30 July-1 August 2014 and the second one at Namchi, South Sikkim on 17-19 November 2014. Like in previous workshops, participating journalists will contribute stories on climate change and development issues for various media outlets in India. 

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Photo: Flickr/Mike Prince


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